The Accountant (no, not the Ben Affleck Movie)

First of all, I’m going on record that I am a fan of The Accountant with Ben Affleck.  Side note – I just got online to make sure I spelled Affleck correctly, and I saw on a Ben Affleck news feed that they are going to make The Accountant 2 – so that’s exciting!  But today, I’m not talking about that type of Accountant.  I’m talking about a Career day accountant and how it changed our career day software forever.

This was many years ago when the software was still a fairly new concept.  I worked with one particular school throughout the process – making sure the student imports, speaker imports, student choices, and schedule creation all worked correctly.  Everything had worked as expected.  The counselor reviewed and printed the schedules, and the students had a session to go to for every session (no blanks) so all was good!

I attended this particular career day to see how everything was working on the day of the event – are there any last minute adjustments, issues, etc.

First of all, for anyone who has been involved in accounting or know an accountant, please don’t be offended by this.  I’m an engineer – I get it!  But a lot of students (particularly younger ones, and I think this was an elementary school) dream of being astronauts, race car drivers, doctors, etc. – not accountants.  So when the students put in their choices, not a lot of students chose the accountant.

Our software starts with the choices, and then it fills in the rest based on what is available.  But at the time, our algorithm didn’t take into account a minimum amount of students per class – only a maximum to make sure the class was big enough for the session.

So as we’re seeing kids move from class to class for the session, nobody is stopping in the accountant’s room.  There may have been 2 students there.  The event volunteers are literally sweeping kids up as they pass by the accountant’s room and shoving them in there.  All while the account saw exactly what was happening.

Right after that event, I adjusted the software to add a ‘minimum students’ field, adjust the algorithm to use that information, and created a warning system not only for students with missing sessions in their schedule, but also a warning for speakers without the minimum number of students.

So there are a number of lessons to learn from this:

  1. Theory is great, but taking a live look so you can see what’s really going on is priceless (this is a lesson for me in this case, but it’s a great lesson that applies everywhere)
  2. Keep your speakers happy!  They took a lot of time out of their busy schedule to help out – make sure they feel like it was time well spent!
  3. Every profession is important, even if it’s not something we dream about.  Who knows – maybe one of the students that got swept into that session was inspired and became an accountant.  That’s what the career day is about – learn about possibilities they may not have known about.  Choices are great based on what the like, but the random stuff can be just as fulfilling.
  4. If you watch the movie ‘The Accountant’, you’ll see being an accountant can be pretty exciting!

Regardless of how you put your schedules together – our software, other software, manually, make sure your speakers have enough students in their sessions.

If you want to see how our system puts the schedules together, we have some step by step (very short) videos here.

We also have uploaded all our messages in this series on our school career day website under ‘What’s New’.  You can get to it here

– Scott