As the Director of finance for the Vancouver Canucks & Rogers Arena, Aaron Wilson works with and reports to the Vice President, Finance and CFO regarding all things financial. Aaron’s main duties involve reporting the financial results of the company to ownership and the NHL, as well as developing the budget and monitoring how the ongoing spending compares to the set budgets. He is also involved in analyzing major projects to ensure they make economic sense.
In addition, Aaron looks after insurance requirements for players, player payroll, and escrow deductions. “The most interesting part of my job comes from my interactions with the Hockey Operations department as I track our spending versus the salary cap and report the results to them.”
DAY TO DAY
Depending on the time of the year, Aaron could be involved in any number of different things. “I don't really have a typical work day, which is part of what makes my job enjoyable,” he says. Generally, he arrives at work at 8:00am and immediately starts work on whatever has the most pressing deadline.
“It is fast-paced, and usually before you know it, it is time to go home,” explains Aaron. “Game days are generally no different than any other day for me, with the exception of the excitement that is in the building all day long.”
IN THE INDUSTRY
Getting to be the Director of finance of a professional hockey team is a challenge in itself. There are not many positions like this one available in North America, and it’s a position that interests a lot of people. Aaron was fortunate to secure a ‘hockey job’ with his hometown team without having to work for other teams. This does not always happen. For people trying to get into a similar role, flexibility is key.
“You may have to relocate to a different city, work in a different sport, or start at a lower position and work your way up,“ advises Aaron. “But if you stick to it and work hard you will likely be rewarded…and if you reach your goal, trust me, it is the best job to have."
HITTING THE BOOKS
Aaron graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting. From there he went to work for KPMG, the largest accounting firm in Vancouver. While at KPMG Aaron studied for and received his Chartered Accountants designation. “This background has provided me with the skills that I need on a daily basis. Without this education I would not be able to do my job.”
Aaron notes that attention to detail is one of the most important skills to have in his job, along with an ability to develop good working relationships with others.
“I am fortunate that in my position I get to interact with all of the different departments in the company. Developing good working relationships with them makes the job go a lot smoother.”