My Education: BS, Education, East Carolina University MBA, Campbell University (Lillington, NC?)
My Prior Experience: I worked at a start-up, dial-up internet company, and compiled a database that tracked customer demographics and handled billing and all aspects of customer collections. I became regional billing manager for two states, and managed a team that posted payments to customer accounts and collected past due amounts.
My Company: My employer is a major private university. Roughly half of our students are undergraduates, the remainder study law, medicine and business.
Job/Career Overview: The Bursar's office at our university provides customer service to students and their parents via telephone and email, charges tuition and fees to student accounts, generates monthly bills, collects student accounts, processes refunds to students when loan, scholarship or private payments result in a credit balance on the student's account, manages the university cashier's office, and performs various accounting functions.
My job is to make sure several of these functions are carried out correctly and in a timely manner. The functions I perform myself include generating and sending monthly bills, doing some of the database set-up to charge tuition and fees and providing reports and answering questions about various revenue accounts. I am in constant contact with business managers in many different departments throughout the university. Employees who report to me work to set up our database to charge different tuition and fees to different types of students, process student refunds, post various types of charges and payments to student accounts, and accept payments from students, third party sponsors, and university and medical center departments. I sometimes work on special projects, too.
For me, a typical day includes time spent at the university cashier's office making sure things are functioning smoothly, as well as time in the student account office. I make myself available to answer questions and address employee concerns, I attend meetings with employees of other university departments, and work on answering questions and providing data as requested.
I rate this career 9 out of 10.
I find the best part of my job to be the times when I am able to implement a new process or develop new functionality to make processes run more smoothly in our office. For instance, I enjoyed developing an internal website for our office that includes documentation of office procedures and policies. I also developed a database for tracking returned ("bounced") checks. I find developing efficiencies a rewarding thing to do.
The worst part of my job has been when circumstances make it very difficult to make sure all tasks are being done, and done correctly. Challenges include times when we are not fully staffed, and fewer people must cover more work, as well as times when things just don't go as expected, such as one time when a database software upgrade generated incorrect data, resulting in questions from students and parents as well as a lot of time spent troubleshooting and correcting student accounts.
An accounting background would be beneficial to anyone doing a job like mine, and a CPA license would be even better. Speaking more generally, though: Thoroughly understand the jobs of the employees working for you. Do their jobs yourself until you understand which aspects of their jobs involve complications or difficult decisions. If you understand all this, you will be more likely to give good advice to employees and to prevent mistakes from occurring. Second, be as helpful as you possibly can to anyone who asks for your assistance. You will increase your own knowledge and gain the respect of co-workers. Although time-consuming, ultimately it is a win-win to be a co-operative co-worker.