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Career Story: Business Manager For A Defense Contracting Lab

Business Manager For A Defense Contracting Lab

Job Title: Financial Business Manager

Type of Company: A Federally funded research & development center under contract to the Department of Defense.

Education: BS, Business Management, Salem State College •• AS, Executive Secretarial Science, Middlesex Community College

Previous Experience: I have been at my current employer for 23 years, so the small jobs I had before this don't really relate to my career or my current position.

Job Tasks: I work in the Air & Missile Defense Group and I balance our annual budget of $130 million. Each month, I have a variety of financial reporting to do. I run monthly reports, work with the technical staff members on spending plans and on the execution of our 70-plus programs. Our funding comes from the Department of Defense and each group has internal programs which are funded to cover various defense issues. I work on our staff distribution to make sure that every employee is linked to a program. Each month when our books close, we analyze our execution and our remaining funding. At that time we may update our spending plans to accommodate shortages or surpluses. I also approve all procurements for each program. I work closely with other departments here and am the focal point for all financial questions. We report our spending to our sponsors on a monthly basis as well as to the Heads of our division. We have to manage our dollars and our staffing each year and have to work within guidelines set by Congress. I also have to do specialized reporting to meet our sponsor's needs as well as those of our Finance Department. There is a team of group business managers in our division who report back to the division office on their individual groups and I serve as their liaison.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are the security and the company itself. We seem to always have a need for national defense so I feel safe here. The work we do here is critically important and I like being a part of that. The company also has great benefits and is very flexible. You can work at your own pace, except when there are deadlines, but you get a great sense of accomplishment from task completion.

The worst part of the job are the constant changes in our defense budget, especially the cuts. They affect us directly and we have to constantly rework our budgets.

Job Tips: Computer skills are a must here. Most financial jobs require you to be fluent in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel. Accounting classes and any classes which better explain our government and the way it operates would be a plus. It's also important to move around within the laboratory to gain exposure to the different divisions. Each is fun and a bit different and the experience makes you more marketable.

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