I’m a financial analyst at Teranga Gold Corporation, which is headquartered in Toronto. Essentially, I help prepare the financial statements of the company. Since Teranga is a public company, we have to issue quarterly and yearly statements. So let me tell you about my experience so far, having gone through a quarter end.
My day usually begins at 6:45 a.m. I catch a train at 7:30 a.m. and I get to the office by 8:30 a.m. I begin my mornings by checking my email and enjoying a cup of coffee. We’ve got a pretty nice coffee machine and we also get breakfast on Fridays. I really look forward to those since every week is something new.
All of us have specific tasks to perform on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. So my day will begin on catching up on overdue stuff, if there are any, and then on tasks that are due for the day or week depending on their priority. Most of these tasks are creating and booking journal entries. I also create reports that are distributed among shareholders and executives, which depict a snapshot of that month’s financials.
Having gone through a quarter end, I can tell you it’s intense. Since there is a strict deadline to submit the financial statements the pressure is on. Our team is in charge of closing the books, making adjustments and issuing the quarterly statement, which includes the Financial Statements and Management’s Discussions and Analysis (MD&A).
Each person on the team has a specific section that they are responsible for. For instance, I would work on a section, prepare the support for the numbers, get it reviewed by peers, and then by my supervisor who finalizes the entry. Preparing those statements takes about three weeks.
On the other hand, my supervisor (the corporate controller), is a real food enthusiast so we get treated. He’ll bring us food, and I have tasted a variety of cuisines. At the end of the month you can feel the relief and you get pampered even more. You get a lunch with the accounting team and a dinner with the entire corporate office.
Having a job is similar as well as very different from attending university. You still have assignments/projects and deadlines but instead of marks you’re getting paid.
In accounting, however, accuracy matters. Things that you are working on really need to be accurate and complete. Although estimates and judgement are prominent in the accounting world, a lot of support is required before making them.
In university, these estimates are usually given to you or acceptable if reasonable. In the real world, however, you have to make the effort to seek out that information from different sources, and be more than reasonable. Or as they say in my world, “management’s best estimate.”