Ever wanted to work in a top-tier premiership sports team? Well, a lot of that responsibility falls to the person looking at the bottom line, particularly for NRL Sydney Roosters Financial Controller Manuel Vlandis CA, who has to manage the salary cap and financial reporting. He also has the enviable task of spending most of his days around the players and has to go to the footy every weekend for work.
Vlandis's job involves more relationship management than one might expect from an accountant, making sure the right people, such as sponsors, players and members, all feel welcome - and keep paying and playing for the club! Here, he takes us through a week at the Sydney Roosters.
After the weekend, I check in on the financial results from the game and begin the weekly forecast on key areas of business, such as gate sales, sponsorship and membership. We update these forecasts continually throughout the week, taking new factors into consideration, such as weather, team performance, sponsors and costs.
This includes reviewing expenses and ensuring we're not going over budget - our club does roughly $20 million in turnover each year, and we spend about that amount in the same time frame, so we need to be on top of it. I'll also process payments for the week and conduct a weekly review of our invoices and sales tracker, including following up our debtors.
The recruitment manager, Group CEO, COO of Football and I head into a weekly catch-up on our salary cap position where we review the current situation and the forecast for the next three seasons. This helps us consider the moves we want to make, all while staying under the $6.1 million cap.
If required, I'll also spend some time with the head coach talking about the salary cap, discussing our options or any potential upcoming issues. The same discussion happens with the chairman, where we talk about how we see the salary cap working for next season.
I'll update our salary cap position and cross-check it if the NRL has any queries. This happens pretty consistently throughout the week.Then it's time for our weekly management meeting with the Group CEO, COO of Football, COO of Commercial, where we discuss all things football and business. We aim to work through outstanding matters as well as predict what challenges might be ahead of us.After this, we'll head into a half-day strategy session with an external consultant and the group's executive management team, including the Leagues Club and Football Club. This session is very important to keeping the team on track and working toward the same goals. The Leagues Club is a separate entity but managed by the same board, so it's important we know what's going on with each other.
I'll head out to the NRL finance conference with all 16 clubs, the state teams and the NRL executive. Here we discuss the issues facing our clubs and how we can best rectify them, and we'll work together to keep the financial state of the game healthy. It's also a great opportunity to catch up with another club's CFO. We discuss ideas and benchmark our results with theirs. This is a mutually beneficial exchange of information that keeps all of us on the same page and, more importantly, in business.I try and meet up with a counterpart from different clubs and associations as often as I can to build my network and swap ideas and tonight, after work, I am meeting up with someone from another club.
It's back into the numbers ahead of the weekend's game. I'll take a look at the month-end reporting and make sure it's on track so I can close the books correctly and on time in the final week of the month. I'll also host a financial meeting on the monthly results to get everyone's input. During this time, I'll review the full-year financial results and report any variance to the board.If you love or loathe sport, sport's business accounting has more to it than meets the eye: you're mixing with the players, meeting senior leadership from other clubs and managing relationships. Plus, it's expected that you attend as many matches as possible!
* This interview was conducted in 2014. Manuel Vlandis CA has since become the Head of Finance and Corporate Services at Australian Sailing.