June 12, 2008

On The Job With Efrem Stanley ’07

Lafayette’s small size and undergraduate focus provided right setting for accounting assistant – by Lesley Kline ’09

I recently spoke with Efrem Stanley ’07 to find out what his life has been like after graduation. As a senior math-economics major, Efrem was not sure what he wanted to do when he graduated. He did know that he wanted to work in finance, and he found his current job, accounting assistant for Commerce Insurance Services, Inc., after visiting the company’s web site.

Since I am not familiar with the field of accounting, I asked Efrem what his daily tasks entail. He said that one of his main jobs is preparing the management report, which includes analyzing and comparing revenues. His job also involves explaining the finances of new business, lost business, and renewing business. In addition, he is cross training with payable and receivable, which are other departments within accounting.

When I asked Efrem what a typical day is like at Commerce, he said it depends on the day of the month. “Towards the end of the month, I prepare reports for the following month, known as proforma,” he said. “At the beginning of the month, I focus on closing the previous month and finalizing reports on the new, written, and lost business.”

According to Efrem, the most interesting aspect of his job is that “there are a lot of different divisions of accounting and I see them all.” He said he constantly has to look at the big picture and in the end be aware of what it means.

Lafayette thoroughly prepared him for this work, both in and out of the classroom. “The math and accounting courses helped me understand the accounting ideology and methodology,” he said.

In addition, Efrem said that the small size of the college community allowed him to be familiar with his fellow classmates and made him feel more comfortable working in groups. This has made him more adept at working with others on the job. “I’m working with the same people every day, doing group projects,” he noted.

Two classes taught by Professor Rosie Bukics, Financial Theory and Financial Accounting, were particularly beneficial. He also said courses that involved using computer programs to create and evaluate math word problems were very helpful. This is particularly true because Efrem frequently works with the IT department at his company to aid the development of computer models to run financial reports.

Efrem encourages students to take advantage of everything that Lafayette has to offer. Thanks to the College’s focus on undergraduates, professors are very accessible and “you can communicate with them on a personal level rather than being referred to as a number.”

After gaining valuable experience at Commerce, Efrem plans on attending graduate school for business and taking the CPA exam. He advises students interested in going into accounting to go to graduate school, sooner rather than later. He said that it is difficult to balance working full time and studying for entrance exams. But Efrem is enjoying his training as an accounting assistant and hopes to become a certified CPA in the near future.

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