What are you currently doing for your career?
I am currently employed with Serra Automotive in Grand Blanc, Michigan, as a corporate finance/tax accountant. Serra Automotive is a holding company for retail automotive dealerships across the country. It consists of 36 dealerships and represents 52 automotive franchises.
I have several areas of responsibility within the company. I maintain the accounting records for various subsidiaries that are part of the holding company. I assist the corporate director of tax with tax estimates and projections, as well as tax planning. I also assist the chief financial officer with cash flows, financing projects and corporate documents. Along with this, I assist the various manufacturers in updating and maintaining the company/manufacturer correspondence and document requirements.
One of the most interesting and exciting parts of my job is that I am able to observe the high-level negotiations of various transactions, purchases and sales, and discussions surrounding future corporate planning. As my knowledge and experience grows, I will become more involved in the decision-making process that surrounds these negotiations.
Ultimately, my expertise at Serra Automotive will be in tax and corporate finance. Within the next year, I will start pursuing my master of science degree in taxation.
How did RC’s accounting program help you achieve what you have become?
Rochester College’s accounting program gave me a great foundational knowledge of accounting that has helped me with many of my daily functions. It also helped build my communication and interpersonal skills that I use consistently.
At RC, I had the opportunity to tutor in accounting (with the help of my accounting professors), which helped me view accounting at a deeper level and has made an immense difference in understanding the conversations that happen in my office.
The small classes and experienced professors were extremely helpful with career preparation and job searching. I feel I was very well prepared in my application and interviewing process thanks to numerous discussions, both in and out of classes, surrounding what life is like in the professional business world and what is expected of graduates.
What advice would you give to students who are thinking about becoming RC accounting majors?
The RC accounting program will be a huge step in the right direction if you are interested in the business world. The professors have been in the industry and are extremely helpful with their knowledge and insight regarding the business world. They will also help you prepare for your future career and will be a great resource even post-graduation.
I would also advise students to take education seriously. If you are able to really grasp the concepts you learn throughout your education (even in the most basic accounting classes), it will help you immensely once you start your career.
Lastly, if you are considering an accounting profession, know that public accounting is not your only option (if that scares you). There are many options out there to choose from so keep an open mind. I found a private company in an industry I didn’t even know I had an interest in. I am surrounded by a great group of intelligent, talented people, and I learn something new every single day. I have tremendous growth opportunity within the company. Keep in mind that not going the traditional career route does not mean accounting isn’t for you. Your RC professors can help you to find a perfect fit for you (like they did for me).