Blue Jays president touts small firm experience

Baseball is back and it’s always great to welcome the boys of summer back to town after a long, grey winter in Toronto. The Jays are in Cleveland this weekend, but the home opener is on Monday and it’s always an awesome time. I’ve got my ticket!

In the March issue of CA Magazine, Jays president Paul Beeston, FCA graces the cover and is featured in a great profile of his career with the Jays, MLB and Labatt. He also talks about how his CA training has helped him throughout his career.

While his ebullient personality has made him one of the most popular executives in Major League Baseball, it is Beeston’s sober accounting skills that have made him a treasure for his corporate owners at Labatt and more recently Rogers. “I would say [an accounting background] is almost critical. You have to be able to read a P&L. You can’t lose money and be successful.”

He also waxes poetic about a topic that I’ve touched on a number of times over the years: the difference between getting your CA at a smaller firm versus one of the Big Four. Turns out I’m in good company:

An accountant to the end, Beeston looks back fondly at his time with Coopers & Lybrand in London, Ont., where he received his CA in 1971 (then McDonald Currie) and worked in the tax department. Clients were smaller in London, which meant he got to work on up to 50 audits with different clients over the course of a year. “You learned and you did everything — the tax returns, the auditing — you learned what a financial statement was all about, you learned what financing was about,” Beeston says. He contrasts that with a role in a big firm where an accountant might work on just one client for the better part of a year.

Pretty cool that one of the guys responsible for the Jays back-to-back Series wins in the early 90s is a fellow CA (no pun intended). The team is looking pretty strong this year and the minors are stocked for the future. Let’s play ball!