The following article is the fourth of a series, Written for the Crimson by W. W. Daly '14, Secretary for Student Employment, on-the-various fields of endeavor in business open to college graduates. Copyright 1929 by W. W. Daly.
I have called the third great division of business financial administration because that term is most inclusive and expressive. Such a division would include the general office and accounting work, keeping all records having to do with the general functions of the organization, and the handing of the company's finances. It would start with the receiving and shipping records, include the book-keepers and clerks, tie up with the cost system, and extend through the office of the treasurer.
Many young men, not desiring to do sales work, and not trained for production, find openings in the office end of business, working up through the various aspects of the accounting and financial management fields.
If we are to define production as making things to sell, and selling as getting rid of the goods, we can define the financial end of business as finding where the profit is; and it is in the treasurer's department that most businesses are made or broken. A friend of mine once said.
"There are only two things in business that count; one is cost and the other is sales. If your sales are ahead of your costs you are making money, if your costs are ahead of your sales, you are losing money, you are in the red, and somebody will get jumped on." It is in the accounting department that the facts of the business are discovered. It is there that the operating executives find out the progress that the company is making.
As businesses increase in size there is a constant demand for young men to go into the office end of business, see that the records are kept correctly, draw from the records of the sales and the production departments the information that is necessary for the proper management of the business.
The chief requirements for such work are care, accuracy, intelligence, and attention to detail. Perhaps this might all be covered by the term "commercial honesty." First, ability to see the facts; second, to draw intelligent conclusions without any blatantly blind optimism, and finally, to make intelligent recommendations based on the two foregoing characteristics. The rewards in such a field are probably not as great as in the sales department; at the same time there is probably not the same tremendous pressure placed upon those who are functioning in this field. The rewards do exist however, in this field and men entering it have the same general opportunity that they do in any of the other divisions.