Welcome to our Meet the 50 Team series, where we give you the lowdown on how the people at 50onRed get stuff done. This time we’re sitting down with our Staff Accountant, John Buckman!
You have an interesting story about how you came to work at 50onRed. Can you tell us about it?
I just recently started as a full-time Staff Accountant, but I’ve actually been at 50 for a while. I started working here in September of 2012 as part of Drexel’s co-op program. I worked here full-time for six months and loved it. It was my first real experience in accounting. In fact, it was through my first co-op at 50 that I actually found out I had a knack for accounting, which I didn’t know before.
Anyway, after that initial co-op, I continued working at 50 part-time for six months. And then I ended up doing my second co-op back here at 50, followed by a few more months of part-time. So, all in all, I’ve been working here for about three years. And I just started officially full-time two weeks ago.
Congratulations! That must’ve been some very exciting news.
Yeah, thank you! Since I’ve been working here for so long, I’m glad I ultimately landed here after graduation. And, I have to admit, it’s nice not being in school anymore. [Laughs.]
So, can you elaborate on what you do here at 50?
Before I started full-time, I was doing mostly odds-and-ends type stuff in the accounting office—basically, any ad hoc projects that came my way. I was in charge of all of the invoicing and payments for 50onRed, managing expense reports, and basically all the day-to-day, ground-level stuff for the Accounting Team.
At this point, I’m sort of in between roles. I’ve been working with Ingrid a bunch recently and continuing to work with the Accounting Team. It’s sort of in flux what my official job requirements will be, but as our new products start to develop, I’ll probably become more involved with those.
Who have been your mentors throughout your time at 50onRed?
Michele, my manager, has been my biggest mentor here. When I interviewed here for my first co-op, I was a Business and Engineering student, and I had no clue what I was going to do. I’d had one co-op before 50 in the Credits and Collection department of PECO, where I reached out to people who couldn’t pay their medical and power bills to remind them they needed to pay. As you can imagine, it wasn’t a great experience.
When I applied to this job, it was for an HR position because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I had my interview, but it turned out that Michele was willing to take me on as an Accounting Intern even though I’d never taken an accounting class. I didn’t know the first thing about accounting, but she took a chance on me. And, since then, I’ve done really well, especially since she’s been willing to work with me and and teach me along the way. I ended up graduating with a degree in accounting.
I never thought I’d have a job I loved. I didn’t think I’d be one of these people with a real passion, like, “This is what I want to be when I grow up!”. I’ve always been a person who liked learning in general, so I think I was always looking for something that caught my eye. That’s why I’m thankful I found accounting, because it’s something that really works well for me.
Wow. It sounds like you had a really positive internship/co-op experience, then! Any advice for students who are looking for meaningful internships?
Look at the environment. That was really important for me, especially when I was first starting out. I think a lot of people get stuck because they want a very specific job, and once they think they’ve found it, they get tunnel vision. I have friends who thought they were getting their dream job and then, two weeks into it, realized they hate it because the people aren’t easy to work with or it’s not a good culture fit. It’s a tough situation when you feel like you finally got the job you wanted, only to find out it wasn’t what you were expecting.
If you look for a place you’re going to fit in beyond the job itself, that’s a place you want to be (Of course, the job itself needs to fit, too). If you’re at a good company, they’ll find ways to use your skills. You’re going to spend more time at your job than anywhere else, so make sure you can be happy there.
What are your go-to tools?
Our main accounting software is Quickbooks, so that’s what I use on an everyday basis. It’s where all of our financial info is stored. Our other main tools have to do with the banks, and that’s what we process all our payments with. And then, of course, Concur, the expense management system, which helps us manage all the company credit card accounts.
What’s your favorite 50 perk?
I love the AnyPerks ten dollar monthly credit toward a music-streaming service. That’s really great. Also, one of the first things I noticed when I got here was the beer fridge (I was in college, after all). But since working here, I really understand the positive implications of having it.
It’s nice seeing people around the office after work hours, and maybe they’re not working per se, but they’re still talking to each other about their projects and having useful dialogue. Throughout my time here, I’ve realized our culture promotes people being in the office with each other, enjoying each other’s company, and getting work done in a relaxed atmosphere. When you have a collection of responsible people, I think adding a social dynamic is a great way to collaborate, especially between teams.
What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned here (so far)?
Being able to work with different people. We have an open office space, and it’s great working in an environment where you’re never really going to be isolated. Plus, with the open office space, you have to learn how to work with different personality types. That was a skill I definitely gained working at 50.
It was also good to learn that, even though this a business and this is a job, there’s a personal side to every interaction, and you have to keep that in mind. It can’t always be all business, and it can’t always be all personal. There has to be a healthy balance. When I first started working, I thought, “This is work! We’re supposed to just be working.”. But, since working at 50—especially with how things have been changing here in the last six months—I really see how making people happier and more comfortable at work noticeably improves business.
What do you do for fun outside of the office?
I like reading. I love reading articles about anything and everything I can, because I like just knowing things, no matter what it is. I just bought Elon Musk’s biography this morning. I like thinking about the future and where things are going, so, for me, Elon is the most interesting person talking about those things right now. I also watch a lot of TV with my girlfriend. And I’m a big basketball fan—that’s probably the biggest thing for me. I love the NBA.
Did you know Jack helps with NBA stats on their website?
I think I saw that. Did he mention that in his Meet the Team?
Yes, he did! Talk about Meet the Team Inception, right?