Play Ball as a Sports Accountant
Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert
You could say that Bowie Baysox Controller Christy Hoos was born into her job. She grew up in a sports-obsessed family, and her father was a professional baseball player. A friend of a friend helped her find her first sports accounting job, working for the Baltimore Orioles, and her love of sports has kept her in the game. “It’s more interesting to look at a budget with bats and balls and uniforms than a budget with widgets,” Hoos says of her current job with the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate Baysox.
In addition to perks like getting the great seats left unsold at game time, Hoos likes the casual Baysox work environment where employees show up in golf shirts and khakis. If your dad wasn’t a ballplayer, she recommends three tactics to landing an accounting job with a sports team: top-notch accounting skills, internships and a willingness to take on unglamorous tasks. “I tell young people if they want to get in, do anything,” she says. “Take an internship even if it’s unpaid.” For experienced hires, she says accounting ability is paramount because of the increasingly important role finance plays in professional sports.
While it never hurts job seekers to have a special in, sports companies are recruiting from the same limited supply of accountants as other firms, says Betsy Merlonghi, an executive recruiter specializing in sports and entertainment placements for Lorelei Personnel. “It’s hard filling these types of positions, because these are very narrow, detailed searches that require Big Four experience or sports experience,” she says.
For instance, if you want to be the finance director at Fox Sports in St. Louis, in addition to the typical requirements of an accounting degree and working knowledge of PeopleSoft, you’ll need five years of broadcast experience.
While the glamour factor does mean that accountants in sports and media typically earn less starting out than those working for large public accounting firms, the benefits — including stock options, child-care subsidies and bonuses of 25 percent to 35 percent — can make up the difference, Merlonghi says.