The larger-than-life world of sports needs people who know their way around budgets and balance sheets. Here are some of the ways you can work your way in:
Public Accounting for Sports Clients. A great way to learn the ins and outs of the sports world is to work for a public accounting firm, such as one of the Big 4, who has clients in the sports industry. Clients could be anyone from a pro football team to a soccer stadium to an apparel company. You’d have the chance to work with the client’s finance team and learn their operations inside-out—valuable experience that can launch your career. In fact, many people get the chance to work directly for one of their clients later on.
Accountant for a Team or Sports Company. Every sports team and sports-related company has a finance department of its own, requiring accountants, analysts, controllers and directors. Working for a sports team, you could have a number of responsibilities like figuring out how to pay for that expensive free agent, projecting monthly budgets or controlling the payroll. Working for a high-profile sports organization is hard work but comes with perks you might expect, like free seats at games and the chance to meet your sports heroes.
The competition for jobs with professional sports organizations is fierce: there are only so many jobs with a limited number of teams. Don’t forget about the hundreds of other sports-related companies out there when you start to look for a job. You can find a similar variety of work at a sports broadcasting company like ESPN, a manufacturer like K2 Ski or an apparel company like Nike.
Know this: CPAs in all businesses—especially sports—recommend taking an internship in or after college (even if it’s unpaid) to get your foot in the door. Aside from doing well in your accounting courses, passing the CPA exam and getting your license, be willing to take on unglamorous tasks to prove you’re serious about getting hired full-time.