James Thompson ’15 Hanson Fellow in Accounting
The third week at Teacher Created Materials has been a turning point in my internship. I spent more time working in A/P and had the opportunity to attend a day-long training session for employees to learn about the company.
My time in A/P began to get more in-depth this week. As year end is quickly approaching, Sheila needed as much help as possible to finish her A/P tasks before their deadlines. Some of the tasks I got to spend time on are:
- Differentiating between selling cost and the cost of products. The difference between these two things is important to account for the profitability of sales representatives. When expenses are placed under selling costs, it means that extra costs were incurred by the sales reps while trying to sell a product, hurting the profitability of sales reps. However, if costs are placed under the cost of products, the costs will not affect sales reps at all. The costs will simply be deducted from the company revenue.
- Making transfers from assets to expenses. Certain costs from vendors needed to be placed under expenses although they were initially recorded as assets. I made these transfers using SAGE (accounting software) and Excel. SAGE is not intuitive since it requires understanding the coding system the accounting department in TCM uses to record each entry. Taking the code on certain assets and changing them to be listed as an expense is all that needed to be done, but that required using an Excel spreadsheet created by Sheila that is then uploaded into SAGE. It’s a specific, time consuming process that Sheila has learned to streamline using Excel.
- Expensewire. TCM reimburses daycare fees for any employees with children younger than a determined age. Sheila has created an Excel spreadsheet to speed up the necessary calculations. There was some manual entry that she wanted to eliminate since it was redundant, so she assigned me the task of figuring out how to automate the spreadsheet. After an hour of trying to make the spreadsheet do what I wanted it to, I realized the solution requires programming a Macro, and I don’t know how to do that. So we called in one a person from IT, and they were able to do the programming for us! Now I really want to learn more about coding. After that was solved, we were able to upload the expenses into SAGE faster than before.
- Used an Amortization Schedule for journal entries. If not for financial accounting, I would not have known how to interpret an amortization schedule. Using the date of an invoice listed on the amortization schedule, I had to account for part of the payment balance under principle and the rest under interest. It’s akin to a mortgage.
- Reconciliation. I reconciled a few credit card statements with the charges issued to TCM. Prof. Santhi Heejebu taught me how to use Pivot Tables during Business Analytics, and that came in handy during reconciliation! Pivot Tables make doing a reconciliation much easier and faster.
I also learned more about the company during TCM University. It is a day long event to help employees understand the big picture of TCM. At its essence, TCM strives for “joy in learning and wonder in learning,” and their products illustrate this approach. I also learned that TCM was started out of a garage in 1977 by a teacher trying to publish her book, Quick Fun Art. After being rejected by multiple publishers, Rachelle Cracchiolo decided to go the entrepreneurial route by publishing for herself! It’s inspiring to consider how far the company has come. In addition to interesting stories, I learned about the various departments in the company, so I have a notion of how the company operates altogether.
At the event, employees were very passionate about working for a company that aligns with their views. Working to create engaging educational materials so that students like to learn was by far the most frequently cited reason people want to work for TCM. It helped me realize that working for a company that has a vision I feel strongly about is valuable, and it is a thought I will keep in mind as I start my career after graduation.
This weekend I got to play more soccer! (Go figure.) I was part of a team that played in the L.A. Holiday Classic Soccer Tournament. It is a 7 vs 7 format and it took place on the training fields right outside the StubHub Center, home to the L.A. Galaxy. We had a cohesive team, and were undefeated in the men’s over 20 division until the championship game. More importantly, it was super fun. As the result of an unbiased decision by my teammates, I was bestowed a banana for being the Golden Boot of the tournament. To celebrate we gorged on tasty Mexican seafood dishes at El Pescador. I think I am still full.