Brad Schultz is a CPA who wears shorts to work and takes the occasional snowboarding lunch break.
Park City, UT
Brad Schultz is a CPA who wears shorts to work and takes the occasional snowboarding lunch break. He’s a divisional controller over the gaming division at Skullcandy, so his job is as cool as his headphones.
Brad’s preparation for this dream job started in college. “I learned the technical side of accounting in my courses, but that’s such a small part of what it takes to be successful as a CPA. I learned about leadership, working in teams, and networking from my involvement in my university’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP). And those are the professional skills that I needed to be successful.”
Brad got involved in BAP in his sophomore year and was an officer for three years. “It was a big time commitment, but it was completely worth it. I got to know professionals in the area through coordinating presentations and other events, so when those same professionals came to recruit at our school, they knew that I was a reliable and responsible candidate.”
Brad’s schmoozing in college didn’t stop with the professionals that he met. He cultivated solid relationships with his fellow classmates too. “Your classmates are really helpful to have in your network as you progress in your career. It’s easy and important to form a lot of relationships as a student since that’s the foundation of your network. Those classmates will be professionals as well who will know if there are open positions.”
Even after he started working full time, Brad continued his involvement with BAP as an elected member of its international board. “The alumni representative position on the board focuses on the transition from student to professional life, and I wanted to give students the same great experience that I got from BAP. I got to work side-by-side with deans of schools and successful business professionals. It was great because we got to work on organizational strategy. Getting that experience as a kid one year out of school was a tremendous professional growth opportunity for me.”
Brad spent three years in public accounting before going to work for a private company. “I really liked working in public accounting; it had the challenge of long hours, but I’m glad I made the choice to add that experience to my career. The exposure to high-level executives was very valuable. Within a few months, I was working with a CFO of a regional bank and other big wigs. It gave me a great introduction to businesses and how they operate.”
The only thing Brad would have changed about the beginning of his career is his expectations of himself. “I stressed out about things too much. No one expects you to be perfect. People are a lot more patient than I thought they’d be and they don’t expect you to know everything.”
Brad wasn’t looking for a job, but when a former co-worker let him know about the position at Skullcandy, he couldn’t resist. “Jobs like mine don’t come up every day. I knew that the position at Skullcandy was exactly what I wanted to be doing, so I had to go for it. The company culture is fantastic — they encourage us to go outdoors and be active, and it’s really entrepreneurial. I feel like a good fit here. Plus I get to wear t-shirts to work.”
Working at Skullcandy isn’t all fun and games, though. “I work hard when I have to, but I have plenty of time to go snowboarding or trail running and spend time with my wife and baby girl.”
Brad has some words of wisdom for those hoping to follow in his footsteps. “Once you start in your career, if you feel like you’re going down the path that won’t lead to your dream job, have the courage to change. Be open-minded about your career and don’t limit yourself to one thing at the risk of missing out on that perfect fit for you.”
And as a bonus, he adds: “Take as many courses in Excel as you can. Ninety percent of the time that I’m at my desk (which isn’t 90% of my time), I’m working in Excel. If I could do it over again, I’d learn to be an Excel wizard.”
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8am: Arrive at the office
It takes me about 35 minutes to drive from my home in Salt Lake City to the office in Park City. I usually grab some breakfast at the office and get settled in by 9 a.m
9am: Clear out the inbox and plan out the day
I have two to-do lists that I use – my email inbox and a list of ongoing projects. I also have a checklist of items that need to be done in the first 8 business days after month-end. I look over my lists in the morning and plan out what I need to accomplish that day. Today’s list includes a few month-end reconciliations and working with our international team to merge the operations of two of our brands.
10am: Information requests or accounting process meeting
During the month-end close, I request summary files from various departments so I can complete my checklist. These reports include data about online sales orders, inventory balances, collections and refunds, warranty and returns, etc.
When I’m not busy with month-end work, I hold meetings with various groups within the organization (e.g., IT, online sales, supply chain, customer service) to discuss ways that we can streamline our processes and make our financial reporting more timely and accurate.
During month-end, I go somewhere close for a quick lunch with the team.
The rest of the time, I usually have a bit more freedom to make good use of my lunch hour. I often go snowboarding at the resort down the street in the winter or go trail running in the mountains nearby in the summer. Park City has its perks!
1pm: Sales reconciliation or special projects
During month-end, I perform a reconciliation between last month’s customer orders, items shipped, and payments collected to make sure all three are reasonably aligned. I research any discrepancies and resolve root causes of any errors.
Otherwise, I use this time to meet with departments such as international operations, domestic operations, IT, or online sales to discuss our strategies to facilitate growth of the company. These projects usually deal with system integration, domestic growth, or international expansion.
3pm: Inbox round two
I take a second pass at clearing out the inbox and respond to inquiries like management requests for financial information or questions about how to handle transactions in our accounting system.
At month-end, I calculate estimates for future expenses related to last month’s revenue, such as sales returns, warranty items, retailer advertising credits, and royalties due.
Other times, I can keep working on clearing my inbox or do more work on my special projects.
5pm: Balance sheet reconciliations or heading out for the day
When I’m finishing the month-end checklist, I stay a bit later to perform balance sheet reconciliations and review reconciliations performed by my team. The month-end balance sheet amounts are compared to supporting schedules. Some of the main areas are inventory, sales taxes, and payroll. I investigate anything that may be inaccurate and fix root causes.
During slower times, I take advantage of the lull to keep a good balance in my life. I’ll head home a little early and have dinner with my wife and some friends.
7pm: Time at home