A Day in the Life at All Star: Michelle Ferris
Ever wonder what your teammates in other departments are working on all day? Welcome to the third in our “Day in the Life” series, featuring puzzle master and accounting All Star Michelle Ferris.
Name: Michelle Ferris
Title: Assistant Controller
All Star since: 2013
Born: in a tiny cabin built by her grandfather “in the middle of nowhere” Glenn Allen, Alaska
Hiking must-have: a waterfall!
What’s your knee-jerk response when faced with a spreadsheet? A lot of us—especially the writer types—tend to quake when confronted with a cascade of digits, but Michelle Ferris sees something else: a puzzle to solve.
“It’s really satisfying to see all the pieces fall into place,” she says of her daily quest to make the All Star bank statements match the accounting software match the analyses of each.
As the company’s assistant controller, she spends her days bringing order to the numbers behind the business, from journal entries and credit card statements to collections and the month-end close. “I’m playing a game of ‘one of these things is not like the others’ all the time,” she says.
If you’ve ever had a question about your flexible spending account or digital pay stub, you know that Michelle has a tip-top service ethic and a seeming ability to be in five places at once. She’s also a key player on the Mandatory Fun Committee, helping to create the celebrations that give All Star its special sauce. (Not to mention the pulled pork sliders she whipped up for the October birthday party.)
Earlier this year, Michelle helped establish the Philanthropy Program Committee, which launched its first team effort at the Seattle Urban Academy in September.
Before her 2013 arrival at All Star (“by far the best company I’ve ever worked for”), Michelle held bookkeeping roles in several industries, including construction, chemicals and furniture. Stuck in lower-level accounts payable and receivable jobs, she wanted a bigger challenge. That’s when she went back to Central Washington University for her bachelor’s degree, continuing on for a fifth year to earn a master’s in professional accountancy. (For more about Michelle’s school journey, check out her story on AllBusinessSchools.)
She found a good fit on the hardworking All Star accounting team, where everyone pitches in to make all the numbers align. CFO Stephanie Monroney is training Michelle to take over complex new duties such as scrub analysis. Plenty of other changes in the All Star accounting world are keeping Michelle and team hopping: a switch of company banks and credit cards; a big effort to document all processes and procedures; the yearly audit; and—coming soon—a whole new way to process employee reimbursements.
“We should all be lifetime learners,” says Michelle, who never seems to tire of solving the puzzles that life sends her way.