7 Questions with a Spartan
Andrew Khonje (BS Accounting ’11) is a full-time Senior Financial Analyst for Ralph Lauren. He also works as a part-time Senior Accountant with Carson-Dellosa Education.
Earlier this year, he was named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2020 by the Triad Business Journal.
1. What do you love most about your job?
I love how my job is spread among multiple business functions. In a regular week, I work closely with managers of various departments overseeing financials of operations, transport, contact center/customer service, project management, and facilities. I work in a distribution center specifically e-commerce, I love walking around and seeing e-commerce orders flowing through different stages of operations. I get to see all the stages from picking, packing, and all the way to shipping.
2. What’s exciting about the future of your industry?
The fashion industry is unique as its geared to customer trends and desires. The future of fashion is geared toward sustainability. In my supply chain position, I must think of new ways to move goods in more ecologically sustainable ways, as well as, financially feasible ways. It’s always exciting working on different ideas and concepts and coming up with cost-benefit analyses. FYI, usually in finance, you have to play the bad guy and dash well-meaning ideas for being too costly.
3. What do you personally find most challenging as a professional?
My challenge specifically in my profession as an accountant and financial analyst is that I must balance a lot of different tasks. I need to know a little about everything because finance controls the budgets. We are the first to be asked questions if something seems out of whack. That means I need to know everything that drove costs and provide reasonable details of why they drove costs. There is a lot of research involved mostly due to Murphy’s Law.
4. What is something you did in college to prepare for this position?
Balancing a heavy course load and time management in college helped me tremendously in my position. I can balance the needs of different managers, attend meetings, lead meeting, research tasks, and distribute reports in a timely manner. All my college accounting courses prepared me
well, I took something out of each of my accounting courses that has helped me in my position. One important course that I would challenge everyone to take is business speaking. There is a fear of public speaking among many of my coworkers. I took a business speaking course in college and since
taking it, speaking in meetings with a group of senior leaders or speaking to a group of 200 plus coworkers is not as stressful or frightening as it would have without the course.
5. What additional training, certifications, professional organization members, etc. have helped you professionally?
Microsoft Office training and certifications have helped me succeed. Also, being a part of Beta Alpha Psi in college helped me professionally as I encountered bosses and coworkers who were members too.
6. What should students interested in entering your field know?
Accounting/Finance is an exciting field its more than just numbers. Having a finance background gives you access to most jobs especially leadership jobs. In my workplace, quite a few of our leaders originated from finance even though their new positions have little to do with finance day-to-day
7. What resources (books, blogs, websites, podcasts, etc.) would you recommend for someone interested in your field or in a position like yours?
I love podcasts. My two favorite podcasts are Marketplace by NPR and Motley Fool Money. A nice easy book I love to read from time to time is The Richest Man in Babylon.