Co-Ops can take you long and far. For my first year, it led me back to a place I had grown quite fond of over the Fall and Winter terms, that being Antioch itself. With a growing interest in business and accounting, I began to ask around campus for some job leads. I hoped to, on the off chance, find someone who knows someone who knows an accountant. Luckily, when I sat down with my Co-Op advisor, he had rather off-handedly mentioned that there was a new VP of Finance who was an Alumni of the college itself. With lots of doubt in finding a job down this route, I met with Bob McKee, the Vice President of Finance, who was surprisingly welcoming to the idea of a Co-Op. Greeted with smiles and kindness, I met Tiffany Ross, the Controller, and Bob McKee who were more than happy to take me on as an Accounting Assistant.
The main objective of our offices is to ensure that college students are being given the financial literacy help that they need. Beyond that, we are tasked with managing the college’s finances in a responsible, and ethical manner. That involves countless GAAP guidelines and regulations, but the general theme is integrity of the processes executed, at all times, under all circumstances. Over the past weeks, I have found myself getting to know the world of finance in a broader perspective. I am learning about accounting software, like Microsoft Dynamics GP, and meeting our accounting staff, which consists of Lynda, Genny, Tiffany, and the new addition of yours truly. I have been challenged to learn excel, and I have been thrown (willingly) into the everyday life of working a fast-paced finance job. I helped present at our Budget Kick-Off meeting, and have been a key player in the garnering of our Budget data. I am often tasked with communicating with our various departments, to ask for budget documents, or purchasing-card receipts. My biggest project is taking charge of the Point of Sale implementation for Square across campus. Simply put, that means that I am in charge of researching different registers, choosing what types of registers suit our college needs, and even purchasing the units myself, with multiple OKs from both Bob McKee and Tiffany Ross. After the units arrive on campus, I am in charge of writing the policies around the POS usage, and procedures. I will also spearhead the primary implementation of these registers, to get them up and running.
I have learned the meaning of putting in the work in order to achieve a long-term goal. Budgeting is not a process that takes a few minutes and a few people. At a college, this is an artful dance of wants, needs, and lots of communication. If no one communicates their wishes for the process, no one can create a worthwhile budget. I spend the majority of my time at work typing, or in meetings, I have never been as fast at typing than I am today. I sit in on meetings about budgets, and about broader issues that occur in the different departments. Sometimes, it is a staffing issue. Other times, we need to discuss purchasing card usages with employees who are purchasing-card holders. I type so much, and deal with such an array of data that I even upgraded to having two computer screens at my desk. Before this Co-Op, I never understood why having two screens open at once would be so vital. Now, with a better understanding of Excel, and the complexity of data, I treasure my access to two screens at the same time.
The most exciting and daunting part of this job is the fast-paced nature of the projects. One minute, I am keying in numbers to a spreadsheet at a measured pace. The next thing I know, I am being asked to drop what I am doing, and start on Purchasing card reconciliations, or inputting different data into our Master Budget excel sheet. It is quite disorienting at first, but it is a controlled chaos that I love to navigate. The job simply does not stay “boring” for more than a minute. There is something for you to do, always. I am very grateful for the experience of being a respected adult, as part of a working team. This job is humbling me, and giving me incredible insight into what becoming an Accountant may look like, with the help of two very kind, intelligent, and experienced mentors, Bob McKee and Tiffany Ross. I am excited for the opportunity, even as we move closer to the finish of the term, and for the future this experience will afford me in my future academic career.
Student Financial Services. (2021, March 26). Antioch College. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from https://antiochcollege.edu/campus-life/student-financial-services/