By Magdalena Matracki
CALGARY, Oct. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - In a world where stats, standings, figures and teamwork are critical to success, it's no surprise that the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation attracts more than fans and players.
The finance team's knack for numbers and collaboration drew them to the Flames' organization, answering individual dreams of working for a professional sports enterprise. With the new NHL season around the corner, the team sat down in Calgary to talk about providing finance services for five sports teams, two venues and multiple charitable foundations.
"For us, there is no off season," says Eric Gounder, CGA, Financial Manager whose team oversees finance services for broadcast, marketing, sponsorship and ticketing for the Calgary Flames, Hitmen, Roughnecks, Stampeders, the Flames Foundation for Life and the Stampeders Foundation. Cameron Olson, CA, Chief Financial Officer agrees, adding the finance team supports all aspects of the organization. "Annually we host 130-150 events between the Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium and look after all aspects including, retail, food and beverage, building operations and administrative departments," he says.
As fans rush back to the Scotiabank Saddledome to cheer on their favourite players, Marshall Lang, Financial Accountant, Marketing and Broadcasting, says hundreds of details make the ultimate fan experience possible. "From the captain skating on the ice to the popcorn in your hand, every part of the experience is at one point worked on by our team," says Lang, who is working toward his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. "Take sponsorship as an example - the rink boards, LED lights on the scoreboard, down to the logos on the ice surface and Zamboni - all these properties need to be sold, invoiced, money collected, profits and loss statements created. Without these details taken care of, there would be no game to watch," he says.
Scott Boucher, CA, Financial Accountant of Ticketing and Suites oversees finance services for the organization's largest revenue-generating department. The price point of the Saddledome's 19,289 seats for games and events fluctuates and it's his job to prepare the results and impact at the end of the day. "There is a lot of work and time put into determining the pricing structure," he says. "The process starts roughly eight months before the start of the new season. When players were taking to the ice last December, we were already working hard at getting this year's budget ready."
What's more, the NHL imposes strict reporting deadlines on hockey-related revenue after each game and financial quarter. "This can lead to long hours during the week and weekend pulled by the finance team," says Boucher. "If these deadlines are not met, the Flames could be fined or even lose draft picks, in the most extreme circumstances."
To meet the demands, Olson stresses teamwork within the department and across the organization as a prerequisite for success. Ken Zaba, CA, Vice President of Finance and Administration adds "a positive attitude, business partner centric, solutions focused, strong communicator and the ability to remain professional under pressure" as traits he looks for when hiring for his team. "Deadlines come fast and furious - the team does a great job pulling together to get the work done," adds Cheryl Kean, CMA, Finance Manager.
The spirit of collaboration is timely as Canada's accounting profession is unifying the CGA, CMA and CA designations into a new CPA credential. "It's great that these three groups are coming together and blending into one world class designation," says Gounder. "We can now hire form a bigger pool of candidates with superior training and knowledge."
Some long hours aside, Graham Brissard, CMA says the team is thrilled to be part of an enterprise where they can see the inner workings of a sports organization, root for their favourite players and work with a diverse group of colleagues. "It's a tight knit group," he says. "Our team consists of accounting students who are learning new techniques to senior executives who share best practices from experience. We learn many approaches to different solutions."
Nadeem Baig, a student in the CPA Professional Education Program, says this is the perfect environment to put his new skills to the test. "Learning from senior team members helps me understand processes and finance more in depth," he says.
For the sports fan with an interest in numbers, working in finance for the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation is a career with some perks and many rewards. From event tickets and lunches with players to volunteer opportunities with the many organizations supported by the Flames Foundation for Life and the Stampeders Foundation, the team agrees every day is a new adventure. "Working with the talented people that make up this organization and being part of an iconic brand in Calgary is a privilege," says Gounder.
"Having been a Flames fan since they moved to Calgary and a lifelong Stampeders fan, it is a dream to now be a part of the team," adds Olson.
Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) is the new Canadian business and accounting designation, bringing together the best of the Certified General Accountants (CGA), the Certified Management Accountants (CMA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (CA). The Alberta Accountants Unification Agency is responsible for unifying the accounting profession in the province.
Image with caption: "The finance team of the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation at the Scotiabank Saddledome. (CNW Group/Alberta Accountants Unification Agency)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141001_C9968_PHOTO_EN_42929.jpg
SOURCE: Alberta Accountants Unification Agency
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