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Career Story: Director Of Finance For A Non-Profit Company

Director Of Finance For A Non-Profit Company

Job Title: Director Of Finance

Type of Company: I work for a non-profit company that sponsors Head Start programs for kids and operates daycare facilities in the greater Boston area.

Education: BA, Accounting, Boston College,

Previous Experience: I worked in the accounting office of a small manufacturing company, then I worked for a Big 4 accounting firm. From there I went to a small firm focused on non-profits and eventually transferred to a regional firm where my focus got away from what I liked.

Job Tasks: I direct the accounting and finance functions for all of our centers. I make sure that they meet the requirements of the grants that they receive and report periodically to the Board. I also am responsible for managing the company's federal, state and local audits. I am required to record all of the expenses and income and report that minutely, in a manner that meets government standards. When I took on the job, my predecessor was inexperienced, and so I have had to correct a lot of prior mistakes. My role with the board is important. Thanks to my 12 years of experience in accounting and because I have been honest and up front about the things that I need to clean up, they have put a lot of confidence in me.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I am part of something bigger than me and my function is key to making sure that good programs continue and that new money flows in.

The worst part is that the comforts of big firm life, like state of the art technology, are no longer available to me.

Job Tips: Don't stay in public accounting too long if it's not for you. I am so happy now, but it took me a decade to do this. When you launch your accounting career, focus on the industries that you like, and make sure that you get a variety. Accounting firms are specializing in people, financial services, healthcare, etc. Make sure you get both public company and private company audit experience to maximize your value in the private sector.

Additional Thoughts: If I could change one thing about my career path, I would diversify my experience among industries and focus on getting that diversified experience much earlier in my career. I liked financial services in particular but realized it late. Once you get to mid-level in public, it's really too late to change industries

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