Series: Accounting Manager: “So, you want to work at a brewery?”

Fiona Gray

Read about the perspective of Fiona Gray of Lawson’s Finest Liquids to help you on your search and interview process!

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What is your brewery story? / How did you find yourself working in the beer industry?

I moved from NYC to Vermont just before the COVID pandemic. I wanted to leave the big-city hustle and bustle for Vermont life. I was searching for an accounting job in Vermont, but it was a little hard finding anything local at the time.  Serendipitously Lawson’s Finest Liquids had an opening for an accountant when I was just about at my wit’s end.  Before joining Lawson’s Finest Liquids, my only experience in the beer industry was taking a few brewery tours of local breweries, or selecting which beers I was going to enjoy at the store or bar.

What is your role at the brewery? / How long have you been there?

I have been at Lawson’s Finest since January 2021.  My job title is Accounting Manager, but it entails anything from operational accounting and finance (journal entries, reconciliations, financial reports), systems integrations, process documentation and improvements,  internal auditing, and helping out any way I can with other teams.

What is your favorite part of your job/ working in the beer industry?

The absolute hustle of everyone, all the time;  there never seems to be a down season and there’s a great sense of support throughout the community.  It also doesn’t hurt to hang out at the end of the day with the freshest beer possible.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Keeping up with the growth of the rest of the company and industry! Sounds like a pro, but as part of Accounting & Finance we’re involved with every department. There is always innovation and change happening within the other parts of the company, and as Accounting Manager I just have to keep up with all the rapid expansion.

How have you seen your role develop?

I started by taking on basic accounting and shared services tasks, like processing accounts payable, and cash deposits.  After implementing a new accounting software and switching / starting multiple other systems used throughout the company including their integrations to the finance ERP, creating a handful of processes department-wide, create and grow accounting reconciliations and financial reporting from the ground up, I can honestly say I don’t even think it’s the same role anymore.  We’ve grown as a workforce and a company and my department also keeps up with all of that, but it’s so fun because there’s always something new to tackle.

What is a typical day like for you?

I don’t think I have a typical day that repeats, but I have constant tasks that always need to be completed monthly. The first few days of the month we are closing our books for the prior month and generating our financial statements, performing reviews and analytics. The second half of the month is the time for projects and improvements and that’s really where it changes month over month. It can be anything from creating new reports to review our margins, to implementing a new system, regulatory reporting, creating a new tracker or spreadsheet, or anything that the rest of the company dreams up for me.

What would you recommend to someone who is hoping to work for a brewery in your field?

Be hungry for information!  There’s always chances to learn and opportunities for growth and improvement in any way. Also, stay on your toes.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

Have fun! In the end it’s beer.