This column is part of a continuing series about career opportunities in the retail auto industry.
Today, I want to focus on human resources manager, business analyst, accounting staff, controller, fixed operations and business manager, all of which fall under the business management and administration categories.
Although the words 'business management' or 'administrative' don't do justice to the importance of the aforementioned careers, each requires exceptional skill and dedication and is vitally important to the successful operation of a new car dealership.
Let's start with human resources, a role that carries a wide range of responsibilities. An HR manager is responsible for identifying, recruiting and developing talent for a dealership, from receptionists, parts clerks and salespeople to automotive technicians, service advisors and managers.
An HR manager is also responsible for administering benefits and safety programs, determining training needs and designing employee development programs, and staying current of workers’ compensation and related labor laws. He/she will inform staff about job policies, job duties, working conditions and wages.
Post secondary education, a diploma/degree in Human Resources Management and/or Business Administration, and good communication and organization skills are assets that an HR manager should possess to perform his/her job effectively.
Another key role in administration is accounting staff. This person must have a good aptitude for math and numbers and will have earned a college or university degree. He/she is responsible for posting and reconciling all new and used car deals, posting accounts payables to inventory, paying out liens and vehicles when sold, posting and reconciling finance income from banks, and reconciling all monthly reports on aftermarket products sold by business office.
Those who work as part of the accounting staff could (with extra training and schooling) be promoted to an office manager or to CFO/financial controller, positions that are part of a dealership's senior management.
Next up is the office manager, who is responsible for the daily accounting and financial reporting activities. He/she maintains the dealership's accounting systems and financial reports and works closely with the General Manager, CFO/financial controller. The office manager also oversees and directs the daily activities of the accounting staff and ensure that all accounting tasks are completed in a timely and accurate fashion.
The office manager is well-versed in all facets of accounting, cost control, collections, and margin expansion and financial controls, and works closely with banks and manufacturers who frequently request audits of certain aspects of a dealership's operations.
Next is the CFO/financial controller, who is part of a dealership's senior management team. A CFO/financial controller is responsible for the financial pulse of the dealership (or group of dealers), which includes handling cash, accounts receivable/payable, payroll, administration and managing the accounting staff, and maintaining good relationships with the banks.
Job requirements for a controller include prior accounting experience, a strong knowledge of industry accounting programs, strong leadership and interpersonal skills, and familiarity with dealership compliance regulations to assure compliance with federal and provincial laws.
All of the positions listed above pay well and are very fulfilling, and they could lead to career advancement and promotions within a dealership or dealer group.
To learn more about the careers mentioned in this column, contact your local new car dealership, community college or the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (tada.ca). Or visit the TADA's Career Exhibit at the Canadian International AutoShow from February 13 - 15, 2015 (www.autoshow.ca).
The automotive business never stops - just look at the highway.
Once again, the TADA is proud to support Prostate Cancer Canada. This year, our Association has donated a specially-modified 2015 Ford Mustang GT (valued at over $87,000) for the Rock the Road Raffle. I've seen the car and it looks spectacular. For ticket information and to view the car, visit www.rocktheroadraffle.ca.