A Day in the Life

Ever wonder what a typical day as a CPA is like? With the variety of career paths available in accounting, “typical” is different for every CPA. Here’s a peek into a day with Mark Rich, CPA.

Mark K. Rich (professional photo - February 2015)Name: Mark K. Rich, CPA, CFA

Title: Director of Investments

Organization: Kimbell Art Foundation

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Organization Size: 4 people in the foundation office

Role: The Kimbell Art Foundation owns and operates the Kimbell Art Museum, an internationally renowned museum for both its art collection and its architecture. The Kimbell’s collection range in periods from antiquity to the 20th century and include European masterpieces by artists such as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Poussin, Velázquez, Monet, Picasso and Matisse; important collections of Egyptian and classical antiquities; and Asian, Mesoamerican and African art.

As the Director of Investments, my primary role is to manage the investment of the Kimbell Art Foundation’s financial assets for the support of the Kimbell Art Museum. The Kimbell offers free admission to view the permanent collection and this is made possible from the support the Foundation provides. In addition to managing the financial assets, I am also responsible for reviewing the monthly financials, completing the annual financial statements, and am the primary contact for the audit of those financial statements.

In addition, I serve in a volunteer capacity on various investment committees of non-profits in Fort Worth and am active in the Fort Worth Chapter of TSCPA.

History: I started at the Fort Worth, Ernst & Young office in the assurance (audit) service line for five years. While at EY, I primarily audited public oil and gas companies.

When I was hired at the Kimbell Art Foundation, I was initially given the role of controller/investment manager. My role was thought to be 50% accounting and 50% management of the Foundation’s investment portfolio. Knowing the value of the CPA license, I started work on the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in my first year at the Foundation. During this time, more of my time was spent with the investment portfolio and I was promoted to Director of Investments. In this role I still spend about 20% of my time with accounting functions, but the majority of my days are spent working with the financial assets of the Foundation.

A day: No day is typical (I think most people who are CPAs could say this). Some days, I spend the entire time working through a financial analysis of a new investment. Other days, I spend less than an hour on any given project. The day below is a fictional day that gives an idea of the type of work I perform.

9:00 – Arrive at work and check emails that have arrived overnight. Identify any that require immediate attention.

9:15 – Review analysis performed by intern on public equity managers. Evaluate any further information to capture and leave notes for changes when intern is back in the office. Identify managers to follow up with to understand any performance issues or to understand the deviation from benchmarks.

10:00 – Join a webcast on the previous quarter economic activity reports. This webcast allows me to get a good overview of various economic drivers that may be helpful for investment decisions.

11:15 – Continue research into oil and gas mineral leases where there are title issues. One of the investments in the portfolio consists of minerals left by the benefactor’s estate and these title issues can go back into the 1960s.

12:00 – Lunch

1:00 – Back at the office. Working on an evaluation of the correlation between our various investments and how they help diversify our portfolio. I’m trying to figure out what other assets may help diversify our portfolio more or if any current assets do not provide the diversification we had expected.

2:00 – Meeting with a potential new investment manager. There are lots of these types of meetings, but very few actually end up in the portfolio from these types of meeting. There are the few that require additional follow-up with a full evaluation and due diligence before making an investment with the manager.

3:00 – Touch base with the intern to make sure notes on changes to the evaluation were clear. Discuss how we can best implement the changes and how to present them on paper.

3:45 – Do a quick review of email and respond to any necessary items. I’m in charge of accounting for a partnership we have with another foundation on an investment and I need to get their accountants the financial statements for the quarter so they can record the revenues and expenses.

4:00 – Head to the offices of another non-profit for their investment committee meeting. In this meeting, we’ll go over the current investment portfolio of the endowment and what changes we are hoping to make in the next 3 months.

5:00 – Meeting ends and I’m heading home.

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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