Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

A Day in the Life: Accounting Professor

accounting professor

Welcome to A Day in the Life, a new series we schemed up to give you a peek into the lives of accounting professionals of all sorts. Today, we’re profiling Alan Jagolinzer (@jagolinzer on the tweeters), Associate Professor of Accounting at Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Everyone, meet Alan. He’s an iPhone-toting professor who teaches intermediate and advanced financial accounting as well as IFRS, he served in the Air Force, and boasts an impressive 4.8 on Rate My Professors.

First, his average day at work:

The average day depends on whether it is a teaching or research term. Teaching term days start off with heavy prep windows, then caffeine, then back-to-back-to-back teaching sessions, then a coma. Rinse, repeat. Research term days vary across data collection, data coding, statistical analysis, writing, editing, and presentation-prep tasks. They also often include lots of back and forth dialogue with co-authors.

With that out of the way, we wanted to know more.

On an average day, what time do you get up? 5:30 AM.

What is your commute like? 2-mile walk

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office? Delete emails [Ed. note: yaaaaass]

Is there a device, app or program that you can’t live without? Outlook Calendar. I live or die by the Outlook Calendar.

When’s lunch and what are we having? 11:30, with a disproportionately high sample rate on “chicken sandwich with bacon.”

What are some things you find yourself doing consistently day after day? Deleting emails from blogs I’ve subscribed to but no longer care to read.

What’s the most rewarding part of your day? Bridging students to career/grad school opportunities they typically can’t reach.

What’s your desk situation? No clue. I’d have to find it under the mounds of paper to find out.

What are some surprises that might pop up during the day you can’t plan for? Bedbug warnings that shut down certain classrooms around campus.

Do you have a “busy season”? Teaching terms are brutal, in general. It’s not uncommon to regularly put in 70-hour work weeks. Also, right before presenting at a major research conference.

Tell us about a recent challenge you were faced with at work and how you addressed it. Haven’t faced many recently. Teaching with a health issue is always a problem, though, because most courses are highly technical and there is no backup prof available. I had to teach last year while dealing with knee surgery and recovery. Colleagues also recently had to work class logistics around serious back problems, pneumonia, and a car-crash-induced concussion. Students tend to love when classes are canceled (which makes little economic sense since they paid for them). However, there is a tangible learning loss if the professor-of-record becomes too ill to finish a course.

What are some day-to-day tasks you perform that might surprise people? Not sure it will surprise people, but I often play a “therapist” role when students come to office hours. 20-somethings often struggle with serious issues and they don’t have or don’t know how to use other resources for support. Basic Maslow says they can’t understand a 10-K footnote if things at home are acutely volatile.

Do you work more in teams or independently? In teams, but independently. Most research is group effort, but batch-processed.

Do you manage anyone? Yes. Student research and teaching assistants, primarily.

Any good in-office perks? Snack bar? Pizza? Massage chairs? You must be joking. This is a state university. Best perks are mountain trails, nearby chairlifts, and 300+ days of sun each year.

Let’s see a picture that summarizes your job.

1D test question

If you have a super cool and unique job you think people might want to know about, get in touch and we’ll relentlessly scrutinize whether it’s cool enough to end up here.

Image: Craig Chew-Moulding / Flickr / Creative Commons