Finance Manager at ChaiOne
This month’s ChaiOne Employee Spotlight is on Dominique Fischer, the Finance Manager at ChaiOne. As a Finance Manager, Dominique is responsible for analyzing, interpreting, and controlling the organization’s accounting and financial records as well as establishing, coordinating, and administering a plan for the control of operations.
Dominique also covers all of the payroll and accounting functions in the organization. These may include general accounting, cost accounting, budgeting and forecasting, accounting methods and procedures, taxes, and internal auditing. She is also handling investments, managing relations with creditors, and meeting capital needs.
In addition to providing internal accounting reports, Dominique is also responsible for reporting the financial results of the company to the appropriate government agencies. She makes sure that the company’s accounting system provides the necessary information for the preparation of all tax returns.
Here are some of Dominique’s thoughts on being the ChaiOne Finance Manager:
Can you describe a typical day as a Finance Manager?
Every day is different. I do a variety of things such as checking the financial status, following up with emails as well as internal and external requests, creating a priority list for the day and working it down ranging from employee advice to compiling financial reports. I also work on my never depleted to-do list and providing status updates to the CEO on the financial operations of the company.
What made you interested in finance and how did you get into this field of work?
I love numbers! I also love seeing how things work, why they work and how you can change them. I love analyzing numbers because they can tell a lot about a company and any field in general.
My journey of how I got into this field of work started when I went to a University of Technology in Germany for business majoring in organizational structure and change management. I graduated with an MBA degree. In Germany, school is different where we have two years of undergraduate study and then three years of graduate/master’s work. Afterward, I followed my husband to the United States because he was attending grad school in Michigan. While in Michigan, I found work as an accountant with a company that was able to sponsor me for a work visa. I was able to work my way up from being a bookkeeper to the controller of the company. After graduation, my husband joined the oil and gas community in Houston and I continued to work remotely. A little later, I found out about ChaiOne from our QA Manager here because her husband and mine work together.
What characteristics would someone interested in getting into finance need?
- Integrity – If you’re going to work in finance, you have to be honest. You need the full trust of the CEO because you have access to confidential information on the company, the managers and members.
- Attention to Detail – Little details can make a big difference not only for the Finance department.
- Determination – Since finance involves many repetitive tasks, you have to be able to stick to it. You also have to be patient and keep working on solutions even if there is a problem because things change from one day to the other.
- A love of numbers – I work with numbers every single day. If you don’t know math and don’t love numbers, then you aren’t in the right field.
What are some challenges that you face?
Often, people don’t see or understand what I do and quite honestly it is hard to explain in a few words. People sometimes get upset because they don’t understand the whole situation and/or don’t appreciate current achievements. For example, this happens when special expense requests are postponed. First, people are upset that they are postponed and then they are not satisfied when they happen.
Another challenge that I face is the fact that some people only care about their field and don’t want to understand the challenges of another department. Especially in my field, it is sometimes hard to explain your position since most information that you deal with is confidential.
One major challenge that you face is earning the trust of people who you’re working with. For example, it requires a lot of trust for a CEO to share control over the company’s finances. Once you earn his or her trust, you are able to work more independently and faster.
Since the employees of ChaiOne are so diverse, I have to deal with many different government agencies. The more people we have in more states/countries, the more complicated it can get with state/county/town/city reporting, filing and payments.
What things have you learned so far at ChaiOne that you would tell a new employee?
- Be yourself
- Have fun
- Live your passion
- Don’t waste time doing something that you hate
What are some apps on your phone?
- Measurement conversion
Fun Facts About Dominique:
- Born in Berlin and from East Germany
- Before having kids, she loved doing extreme sports (ex. bungee jumping, diving, skydiving), sailing, riding bikes, salsa and techno dancing, acrobatics and karate
- With the kids (two girls – 3 and 5 years old), she likes to swim, walk, and bike.
- Has taken a pilot lesson before
- Moved to Michigan in 2004, Houston in 2008, and started at ChaiOne in 2012
- Loves backpacking, camping (NOT IN TEXAS though → too many bugs, snakes and alligators)
- Traveled all over Europe
- Loves Australia and always wanted to go there and possibly Asia
- Knows German, Russian, French, Spanish, Romanian, English
- Used to be in theater and has a passion for acting
- Grandpa was an opera singer
- Has no regrets – lives life to the fullest