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Dan Bachrach

When he started his professional career, Dan Bachrach CPA, CGMA, knew immediately that he wanted his accounting discipline to focus on the financial leadership and business strategy aspects of management accounting, so he jumped right in – only interviewing in the private sector – and never looked back.

My Day My Bio
Dan Bachrach


Regional Controller
Gate Gourmet
Honolulu, HI

When he started his professional career, Dan Bachrach CPA, CGMA, knew immediately that he wanted his accounting discipline to focus on the financial leadership and business strategy aspects of management accounting, so he jumped right in – only interviewing in the private sector – and never looked back.

“After many conversations with a former roommate who was working in public accounting, I realized that for a great number of accounting professionals, public accounting was merely a means to an end. I knew right away that my career goals were leading me toward financial management. So rather than putting in the time in public accounting I decided to forego the public accounting experience and start off where I knew I needed to be.”

When the interviews were over, Dan accepted an offer in a fast-track program that provided a clear three year path to becoming a controller. Upon completing this program (which included yearlong rotations in corporate accounting, field work, and as an assistant controller), Dan accepted a controller position with his current employer to oversee the finances of the North America’s division of an international catering company.

A few years later, Dan and his family relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, (an “opportunity we just couldn’t pass up,” he said) as the controller for the Pacific Rim region. In addition to living in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, Dan gets to travel quite a bit and works with people from all over the world. “I love getting the chance to interact with people of other cultures. It’s energizing and exciting. I love to learn from them and think about how their culture and customs can be adapted and applied to my work life.”

After mentoring to become a controller and working a number of years in the position, Dan has a pretty good idea of how to succeed at his job. “Being a controller takes great attention to detail, leadership skills, and good time management. There’s a significant amount of visibility in what you’re doing and the people you’re leading. You need to be trusted 100% because you’re putting your name on the information that executives rely on to make their decisions. You have to lead individuals and departments to meet goals, understand trends, and anticipate changes. And you have to effectively prioritize so that you can get the most important things done quickly.”

Dan has no regrets when it comes to his career path. “Everything has helped me get to where I am today, so I’m grateful for all of my experiences. I’m glad that I didn’t pursue the public accounting route because I don’t think it would have helped me get to where I am today. If I wanted to be an audit partner or open my own accounting firm, public accounting experience would be necessary. But I didn’t need that experience to accomplish my career objectives.”

Dan has his sights set on being a CFO (or a financially savvy CEO if the opportunity is right) and he is confident that his CPA and CGMA credentials will help him reach his goals. “The Chartered Global Management Accounting designation gives credibility and recognition for AICPA members practicing outside of public accounting. It shows that we’ve managed employees, that we understand management accounting practices, and that we’ve done it for a long time. It’s a distinction that tells the world that we have expertise and are capable in management accounting.”

Dan strives to be the best leader to his employees, but he’s also the world’s greatest dad according to his four kids. What’s his secret to discovering work/life balance? “Accounting can be a demanding career, so take it a day at a time and find out early how to balance your life. A lot of people want to overachieve right away, but you can burn out and miss out on life in the short term if you don’t take the time to find the balance that will help you to excel in the long run.”

Considering jumping into private industry? Learn more about management accounting and check out another CPA with the CGMA credential that’s making good use of management accounting skills.

  • 6am: Get to the Office

    Since many of my colleagues are in different time zones, I have early meetings almost every day. I like to look through my emails (and take care of the urgent ones), then take a few minutes to prepare for my meetings before they start.

  • 7am: Conference Calls

    I have coworkers all over the world that work with me in a variety of areas of financial management. Today, I’m talking with some in London and Atlanta about our latest forecast projections. 

  • 9am: Senior Management Meetings

    Now I spend some time meeting with local colleagues in senior management. This meeting is very tactical – we talk about our goals and how we are meeting them. If changes need to be made, we talk about those. We meet every day because the airline industry changes on a daily basis.

  • 10am: Staff Meeting

    Next, I get together with my staff. This is a way for me to organize and convey a lot of information for them in a short time as well as provide concrete information on what needs to be done, what is priority, and what’s on the horizon. Information is power and communication is key because of how quickly things change here. 

  • 11am: Lunch Time!

    I always get excited about my lunch hour. Because my company does catering, we have cafeterias that provide food and a comfortable place for us to enjoy a daily meal together as a team.

  • 12pm: Customer Visit

    We have customers visit every day. Today, we are giving a menu presentation for the upcoming quarter. My team will present the meals that we will be providing over the next few months and our customers get to choose from that presentation what they would like us to provide.

  • 2pm: Work on Weekly Reports

    Halfway through the afternoon, I finally get to sit down at my desk, look at emails, and start on financial planning. Every week, we prepare a report looking at the prior week’s financial and labor statistics and then forecast the financial results for the rest of the month. I need to spend some time on this report after I follow up on the emails I didn’t get to this morning and any urgent ones since then. 

  • 4pm: Ad Hoc Financial Reporting

    Ad hoc reports are unofficial, temporary reports that help me learn what’s going on right now in different financial areas of our company. Even though these aren’t official documents, I like to spend some time every day digging deeply into a few facets of our finances. Sometimes I look into tax issues and make sure that we’re compliant. Sometimes I look at previous forecasts for profitability and compare them to actual results and see where the differences are. Today, I’m considering a capital expenditure request, so I’ll examine how the initial output would affect profits to see if it is a worthwhile investment.

  • 5pm: Warehouse Visit

    Usually we have a formal meeting to discuss our stock, but today I’m going to take a trip to our warehouse so that I can literally see what’s on the shelf. I’ll do a quick audit and chat with them about what stock is slow moving or obsolete. We always wrap up by talking about what to expect from the next meeting.

  • 6pm: One on One Discussion

    I often like to take time to discuss various high level topics with the General Manager, like staffing issues, reviewing budgets, or reviewing capital expenditures. This gives me the opportunity to provide him with financial feedback based on his specific operational needs.

  • 7pm: Head Home

    After work, I head to the gym for an hour before I make it home for dinner. After we eat, I help my wife put our four kids to bed and then spend the rest of the evening with her.

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