Who Killed Sears? 50 Years on the Road to Ruin (Investopedia)

Who Killed Sears? 50 Years on the Road to Ruin (Investopedia)

By Shoshanna Delventhal Updated Jan 8, 2019
Sears Holdings Corp. ( SHLD ) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15. A wave of store closures and deals in desperate attempts to stay afloat have failed to save the struggling retailer, which listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in the filing.
In a statement, the company announced that its CEO, Edward Lampert , has stepped down and day-to-day operations will be managed by three high-ranking executives. Lampert will remain chairman of the board. The firm began the restructuring process after it failed to pay back $134 million that was due on October 15.
It also said it will begin closing an additional 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year. It previously announced closure of 46 unprofitable stores that is expected to be completed by November 2018. The Sears and Kmart chains have 894 U.S. locations left, compared to a total of 3,500 between them when they merged in 2005.
The bad news coming out of Sears has been steady to the point of being tedious. The company hasn’t just been shedding locations (and the staff that work at them): In 2017, Sears stopped selling Whirlpool appliances, which it had carried since 1916. An internal company memo reportedly cited pricing disputes. In August, Lampert offered to buy the Kenmore appliance brand for $400 million in cash through his hedge fund ESL Investments after the company failed to find other takers. ESL also offered to buy the Home Improvements business for $80 million in cash.
“Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets,” said Lampert in the statement announcing the bankruptcy petition. “While we have made progress, the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired, and addressing the Company’s immediate liquidity needs has impacted our efforts to become a profitable and more competitive retailer. The Chapter 11 process will give Holdings the flexibility to strengthen its balance sheet, enabling the Company to accelerate its strategic transformation, continue right sizing its operating model, and return to profitability.” A Tale of Retail Hubris
It started by selling a single product category but when it became clear that a sleepy, overpriced retail sector would crumple before it, there was nothing to stop the company from selling anything and everything. You could order from the comfort of your own home. You could pay a fair price. They would ship the goods right to you. Sales exploded, and if you’d picked up a big enough chunk of stock when the company went public, you’d never have to work again.
That description once applied to Sears, Roebuck and Co., but now it better describes the company that’s blamed for—or credited with—its looming demise, Amazon. Having played the role of upstart retail juggernaut in the 1890s, Sears now finds itself in the same position as the rural general stores it used to drive out of business en masse.
On the other hand, Sears’ demise is not all Amazon’s fault, nor is it a simple circle-of-life parable. Sears has made its share of mistakes.
In its 2016 annual report, the company listed Walmart Inc. ( WMT ), Target Corp. ( TGT ), Kohl’s Corp. ( KSS ), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. ( JCP ), Macy’s Inc. ( M ), Home Depot Inc. ( HD ), Lowe’s Companies Inc. ( LOW ), Best Buy Co. Inc. ( BBY ) and Amazon as its main competitors. As of October 15, Sears has lost 96% of its value since it began trading under its current ticker in May 2003. J.C. Penney has done even worse, but Lowe’s, Best Buy and Home Depot have all seen their share prices at least double. Amazon’s are up nearly 33-fold. Even for a brick-and-mortar retailer in the digital era, Sears is struggling. (See also: Macy’s vs. Sears: Two Beleaguered Retailers . ) Sears’ Rise: The First 90 Years
In the mid-1880s, Richard Sears worked as a station agent for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway in North Redwood, Minnesota. He would sell lumber and coal on the side, giving him experience that came in handy when, in 1886, a local jeweler rejected a shipment of gold-filled watches from Chicago. Sears bought them himself, sold them at a profit and ordered more. He founded the R.W. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis, then moved to Chicago in 1887 and partnered with Alvah C. Roebuck, a watchmaker from Indiana. Both were in their twenties.
They launched a catalog of watches and jewelry the following year and incorporated Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 1893. Two years later a couple of Chicago businessmen bought Roebuck’s 50% stake for $75,000 (around $2.2 million in 2016 terms ). By that time the company had branched out from watches. Sales reached $750,000, and Sears’ iconic catalog ballooned to 532 pages (Americans had a complicated relationship with the volume: often called the “consumer Bible,” it also served as toilet paper). Farmers, fed up with understocked and overpriced general stores, flocked to Sears.
The company sold stock in 1906 in the first initial public offering (IPO) for an American retail firm and the first to be handled by Goldman Sachs. The same year it opened a 40-acre logistics center in Chicago. According to Sears’ corporate archives site, Henry Ford made a pilgrimage to this “‘seventh wonder’ of the business world” to learn about the company’s storied efficiency.
Ford would throw a wrench in Sears’ business model, as cars made chain stores more appealing and mail-order catalogs less crucial for rural customers. Sears adapted, opening retail stores in the 1920s that outsold the catalog by 1931. Revenues totaled $180 million that year (around $2.8 billion 2016 terms ). The company began to introduce its own brands, including Craftsman, DieHard and Kenmore. It began selling insurance through its Allstate subsidiary. Sears’ Downfall: The Past 50 Years
In 1969 Sears, the largest retailer in the world, began construction on the world’s tallest skyscraper. The Sears’ Tower’s completion four years later may not mark the company’s exact peak, but its retail dominance began to fade around that time. In the 1980s it adopted a “socks and stocks” strategy, expanding into financial services beyond its existing insurance business. In 1981 it purchased Dean Witter Reynolds Organization Inc., a stock broker, and Coldwell, Banker & Co., a real estate broker. It launched Discover Card through Dean Witter in 1985.
In 1984, together with International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM ) and (for a time) CBS Inc., the company created what would become Prodigy, a pre-Web online portal. Built on a private network, it was distinct from the Internet, but presaged it in many ways, offering email, games, news, weather, sports and shopping.
In 1992, when Sears’ revenues reached $59 billion, the company announced plans to simplify its structure. It took parts of Dean Witter and Allstate public, then distributed the remaining shares to investors. It discontinued its famous catalog in 1993 and sold Prodigy in 1996. Having sunk over $1 billion into the project between them, Sears and IBM received less than $200 million from the sale. Sears also sold Coldwell Banker, along with other financial services subsidiaries.
By 1999, Sears’ archives site says, the company “had returned to its retailing roots.” (In fact it retained a significant consumer credit division, with U.S. borrowers accounting for 61% of the company’s $2.5 billion in operating income in 2002. Investors began to worry that the early-2000s recession had made credit card issuance too risky, and Sears sold the business to Citigroup Inc. ( C ) in 2003.)
At the turn of the century, Sears turned to the web in earnest. A July 2000 press release boasted that sears.com sold home electronics, computers, office equipment, appliances, cookware, baby products, school uniforms, gifts, toys and sports memorabilia. Amazon, meanwhile, had only just begun branching out from books, offering software, video games and home improvement products in November 1999.
At that time, however, Sears’ problem was not so much Amazon as Walmart, which had become the nation’s largest retailer in the 1990s. Barbara Kahn, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School, told CNN in 2004 that when the Arkansas-based company “came along with its great service and low-prices, other retailers started to innovate more with products and service. Sears and Kmart simply trudged along and thought that was good enough.”
Kahn mentioned Kmart because it had just announced, on Nov. 17 of that year, that it would buy Sears for $11 billion. The combined companies to be headquartered in Chicago and called Sears Holdings would operate around 3,500 locations. Analysts expressed excitement at combining the fading giants’ mainstays, cross-selling brands such as Sears’ Craftsman and Kmart’s Martha Stewart Everyday. Management promised to save $500 million a year by 2007, partly through jobs cuts and store closings.
The mastermind of the deal was Kmart chairman Edward Lampert, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( GS ) alumnus and one-time roommate of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at Yale. Lampert had left Goldman to start a hedge fund in 1988, aged 25, and bought up Kmart’s debt when the retailer declared bankruptcy in 2002. He gained a 53% stake in the company for less than $1 billion. A week after the merger with Sears was announced, Bloomberg reported that Kmart’s market capitalization was $8.6 billion.
As chairman of the combined company—he took on the CEO role as well in 2013—Lampert initially attracted breathless praise from the media. A 2004 Businessweek cover story called him “the next Warren Buffett .” Just as Buffett turned a failing textile company into a vehicle for superhuman returns, the line went, Lampert would use Kmart as a cash cow for savvy acquisitions. His hedge fund’s average annual return of 29% from its inception to 2003 boded well. (See also: Eddie Lampert’s Success Story . )
A little over 13 years later, such comparisons seem ridiculous. Sears Holdings’ sales rose in 2006, its first full year as a combined company, but then fell in each of the following nine years. For a while Sears’ stock rose anyway, but the financial crisis wiped 85% off its value between its April 2007 high and its November 2008 low. The recovery was tepid and short-lived. The Chicago Tribune reported in March 2010 that Sears was losing market share. Shares peaked again that April at less than two-thirds their pre-crisis high. They have not recovered since.
Kmart was Lampert’s first majority stake, and he proved to be a better speculator than manager. A 2013 Bloomberg article excoriates his Ayn Rand-inspired approach: in 2008 he split the company into 30 divisions—which swelled to 40 a year later—each of which reported profits separately and had to compete with the others for resources. Lambert was both strict with money and distant, seldom leaving his home in South Florida.
Divisions found themselves acting like separate companies, even drawing up contracts with each other. Compensation costs rose as each division hired its own senior management. These executives in turn had to form their own boards, and their pay was determined according to an in-house profit metric that led to cannibalization as some divisions cut jobs, forcing others to step in. The appliances unit found itself being gouged by the Kenmore unit, so it bought wares from LG, a South Korean conglomerate, instead.
The combined company’s profits peaked at $1.5 billion in 2006, then dwindled to nearly nothing by 2010. From 2011 to 2016 the company lost $10.4 billion. In 2014 its total debt surpassed its market cap.
In November 2016, 24/7 Wall Street reported that Lampert was “the most hated CEO in America” based on their review of Glassdoor ratings.
While Lambert experimented with new management techniques, Amazon—itself no stranger to intense competition—built a retail empire. Its total sales were a mere 17% of Sears’ in 2005, the first full year after the Kmart merger. But whereas Sears’ revenues fell by 14% over the following five years, Amazon’s nearly quadrupled. In 2011 the tech giant surpassed Sears, then lapped it in 2013. In 2016 it made $136 billion in sales to Sears’ $22 billion.
When Kmart’s acquisition of Sears was announced in 2004, Lampert commented, “I don’t think any retailer should aspire to have its real estate be worth more than its operating business.” As Sears’ prospects fade, however, investors are increasingly eyeing its real estate. Sears spun off around 200 properties into a real estate investment trust (REIT) that began trading as Seritage Growth Properties ( SRG ) in July 2015. Other assets have been spun off as well, including Lands’ End and Sears Canada. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. ( SWK ) agreed to buy Craftsman in January 2017.
Sears has cut the hours, pay and headcount of retail staff to save cash, causing stores and customer experience to deteriorate. “We have a 17-year-old running the office and cash office,” one employee wrote to Business Insider in August 2016. “He has no experience in either, but he is a warm body to fill the job. The end is coming soon, get out while you can.” An affiliate of Lampert’s hedge fund agreed to loan Sears up to $500 million in January 2017, bringing the total amount Lampert has plowed back into the business since September 2014 to around $1 billion.
In an another attempt to save its business, Sears announced on May 9, 2018 a deal with Amazon.com Inc. ( AMZN ) in which the retail chain will use its Sears Auto Centers to install car tires ordered on Amazon. Sears shares jumped almost 20% on the news. This was not the first time that Sears partnered with Amazon—the company landed deals to sell appliances and car batteries on Amazon in 2017.
In the second quarter of 2018, Sears posted overall revenue down 25%, but same-store sales decline slowed. The retailer posted a loss of $508 million for the quarter, bringing its total loss since 2010, its last profitable year, to over $11 billion.
However, in September 2018, SHLD share price fell below a dollar , and it further slid to trading close to 50 cents on October 10, 2018. Lampert attempted to buy Sears’ assets out of bankruptcy for $4.4 billion through his investment company, ESL Investments. Who Killed Sears?
It would be easy to read this story as a triumph of e-commerce, or to reflect on the irony that Sears was a first-mover when it came to online shopping, with its proto-internet joint venture Prodigy. But even recently, Sears has been ahead of the curve in that area. According to Bloomberg, Lampert “showered” the online division with resources while the rest fought over a shrinking pie.
Nor did competition with Amazon alone precipitate Sears’ decline. When sales and profits began to fade, in the mid-2000s, other big box retailers—particularly Walmart—were thriving. In 2011, the year Sears lost over $3.1 billion, Walmart made $17.1 billion.
Perhaps the might-have-been next Warren Buffett should have listened to the original, who told University of Kansas students in 2005, “Eddie is a very smart guy, but putting Kmart and Sears together is a tough hand. Turning around a retailer that has been slipping for a long time would be very difficult. Can you think of an example of a retailer that was successfully turned around?” Related Articles

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Top 25 Highest-Paying U.S. Jobs of 2018

Top 25 Highest-Paying U.S. Jobs of 2018 Government data shows healthcare dominates the salary ladder By Euny Hong Updated Jan 8, 2019
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published its most recent list of National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates in March 2018, based on data from May 2017. While hedge fund managers get all the attention, when you look at mean salaries, jobs in the healthcare field dominate this list. For comparison, we also provide data from the 2017 list , which is based on data from May 2016.
Healthcare jobs topped the list, and the sector’s future is very bright. According to the BLS, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026 — adding about 2.4 million new jobs. This growth is mainly due to an aging population, leading to greater demand for healthcare services, according to the agency.
Methodology: Rankings are based on salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additional information comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), which was developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). For clarity and convenience, some overlapping job categories were omitted. 1. Anesthesiologists 2018 report mean annual wage: $265,990 2017 report mean annual wage: $232,280
The BLS defines anesthesiologists as, “Physicians who administer anesthetics prior to, during, or after surgery, or other medical procedures.” Anesthesiologists were ranked first the previous year as well. There are approximately 32,590 anesthesiologists in the U.S., per the most recent data.
Following four years of medical school, would-be anesthesiologists in the U.S. typically complete a four-year residency in that specialization, and possibly, even more, depending on the sub-specialty.
(Image: BLS) 2018 report mean annual wage: $251,890 2017 report mean annual wage: $252,910
The BLS defines this category as “Physicians who treat diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation.” There are approximately 38,600 surgeons in the U.S., according to the most recent BLS data.
(Image: Thinkstock) 3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 2018 report mean annual wage: $242,740 2017 report mean annual wage: $232,870
Somewhat different from dentists, oral surgeons perform procedures such as wisdom tooth extraction, and maxillofacial surgeons perform procedures around the jaw and the face around the jaw. The latter can include aesthetic procedures. According to the Labor Department-affiliated job database O*net , this is what a maxillofacial surgeon is responsible for: Administer general and local anesthetics, Collaborate with other professionals, such as restorative dentists and orthodontists, to plan treatment. Evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth to determine whether problems exist currently or might occur in the future. Perform surgery to prepare the mouth for dental implants, and to aid in the regeneration of deficient bone and gum tissues. Remove tumors and other abnormal growths of the oral and facial regions, using surgical instruments. Treat infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws, and neck. Remove impacted, damaged, and non-restorable teeth. Provide emergency treatment of facial injuries including facial lacerations, intra-oral lacerations, and fractured facial bones. Treat problems affecting the oral mucosa, such as mouth ulcers and infections. Restore form and function by moving skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face. Perform surgery on the mouth and jaws to treat conditions, such as cleft lip and palate and jaw growth problems. 4. Ob/Gyn 2018 report mean annual wage: $235,240 2017 report mean annual wage: $234,310
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the doctors specializing in female reproductive health and childbirth, dropped one spot from the 2013 data, swapping places with Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. 5. Orthodontists 2018 report mean annual wage: $229,380 2017 report mean annual wage: $228,780
Orthodontists, who specialize in braces and other corrective measures for the teeth, moved up one spot from the 2013 data. There are about 5,080 orthodontists in the U.S. 6. Psychiatrists 2018 report mean annual wage: $216,090 2017 report mean annual wage: $200,220
Psychiatrists, a specialty falling under the M.D. category (as opposed to psychologists), rose from ninth place to sixth place between 2013 and 2018. Their salary got a significant bump; inflation rose 6.6% between the years from which the data is taken, whereas the salary went up 33%. Despite the stereotype, the state with the highest concentration of psychiatrists isn’t New York— it’s Vermont, followed by Rhode Island. New York is in third place. Top 5 States for Psychiatrist Annual Wages State 2018 report mean annual wage: $214,700 2017 report mean annual wage: $210,170
This includes the broad category comprising physicians and surgeons. Per the BLS, employment in this field is projected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026, “due to increased demand for healthcare services by the growing and aging population.” 8. Family and General Practitioners 2018 report mean annual wage: $208,560 2017 report mean annual wage: $200,810
The BLS defines this category as, “Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population. May refer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment.”
(Image: Thinkstock) 2018 report mean annual wage: $198,370 2017 report mean annual wage: $201,840
The BLS defines an internist as, “Physicians who diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults who have a wide range of problems associated with the internal organs.”
(Image: Shutterstock) 2018 report mean annual wage: $196,960 2017 report mean annual wage: $168,140
According to the BLS, prosthodontists “construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures to correct natural and acquired deformation of mouth and jaws, to restore and maintain oral function, such as chewing and speaking, and to improve appearance.” There are only about 430 prosthodontists in the U.S. 11. Chief Executives 2018 report mean annual wage: $196,960 2017 report mean annual wage: $194,350
Chief executives are the highest-paid professions not related to the medical or dental fields. The five states with the highest CEO salaries might surprise you: South Dakota ranks first, and New York isn’t on the list. Neither is California. ( Related: The Highest Paid CEOs )
In 2017, America’s highest-paid CEO was Broadcom’s Hock E. Tan (AVGO), who made in excess of $100 million. 12. Pediatricians, General 2018 report mean annual wage: $187,540 2017 report mean annual wage: $168,120 13. Dentists 2018 report mean annual wage: $187,540 2017 report mean annual wage: $178,760
The growth outlook for dentists is tremendous. According to the BLS, overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 19% from 2016 to 2026. 14. Nurse Anesthetists 2018 report mean annual wage: $169,450 2017 report mean annual wage: $164,030
Nurse Anesthetists are the highest-paid category of nurses. Per the BLS, nurse anesthetists “administer anesthesia, monitor patient’s vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have a specialized graduate education.” Growth potential in this field is staggering: The job growth outlook for the collective category of Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners from 2016-2026 is 31%. 15. Airline Pilots, Co-Pilots, and Flight Engineers 2018 report mean annual wage: $161,280 2017 report mean annual wage: $152,770
You may know that airline pilots and co-pilots are the ones in the cockpit, navigating and flying the plane. What you may not know is that there is also a flight engineer, who uses the plane’s instruments to provide navigation guidance. Per the O*net entry for these jobs, a bachelor’s degree is required in many instances, but not always.
(Image: iStock) 2018 report mean annual wage: $154,780 2017 report mean annual wage: $147,030
According to the BLS, “Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.” The growth outlook for petroleum engineers looks very bright; the number of jobs in this field is expected to increase a healthy 15% between 2016-2026.
Growth and salaries in this field partly hinge upon the price and demand for gas and oil.
According to the job description database O*net, these are the top tools a petroleum engineer needs to master: Analytical or scientific software, e.g., IHS PETRA; Schlumberger Petrel; TRC Consultants PHDWin; Well Flow Dynamics Wellflow Data base user interface and query software, e.g.,Landmark Graphics TOW/cs; Microsoft Access Financial analysis software, e.g., DFA Capital Management GEMS; GeoGraphix ARIES Portfolio; IHS QUE$TOR Graphics or photo imaging software, e.g., Microsoft Visio Project management software, e.g., Microsoft Project ; Oracle Primavera Systems
(Image: Shutterstock) 17. Computer and Information Systems Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $149,730 2017 report mean annual wage: $147,030
In the IT field, rich software developers get all the attention, but many of the high-paying jobs in this field are those like MIS (Management Information Systems) director. According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers “plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as electronic data processing, information systems, systems analysis, and computer programming. Excludes ‘Computer Occupations.'” Typical job titles for this occupation include, per O*net: Application Development Director, Computing Services Director, Data Processing Manager, Information Systems Director (IS Director), Information Systems Manager (IS Manager), Information Systems Supervisor (IS Supervisor), Information Technology Director (IT Director), Information Technology Manager (IT Manager), MIS Director (Management Information Systems Director), Technical Services Manager. 18. Podiatrists 2018 report mean annual wage: $148,470 2017 report mean annual wage: $144,110
Podiatrists are foot doctors, but rather than a traditional M.D., many podiatrists opt instead to get a DPM degree (Doctor Podiatric Medicine). O*net claims that this field has a “bright outlook” in terms of future job growth. 19. Architectural and Engineering Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $146,290 2017 report mean annual wage: $143,870
Per O*net online, architectural and engineering managers “Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.” Supervise employees performing financial reporting, accounting, billing, collections, payroll, and budgeting duties. Coordinate and direct the financial planning, budgeting, procurement, or investment activities of all or part of an organization. Develop internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures for activities such as budget administration, cash and credit management, and accounting. Maintain current knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, federal and state policies and directives, and current accounting standards. Prepare or direct preparation of financial statements, business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, or reports required by regulatory agencies. Provide direction and assistance to other organizational units regarding accounting and budgeting policies and procedures and efficient control and utilization of financial resources. Analyze the financial details of past, present, and expected operations to identify development opportunities and areas where improvement is needed. Advise management on short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies, and actions. Monitor financial activities and details, such as cash flow and reserve levels, to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met. Evaluate needs for procurement of funds and investment of surpluses and make appropriate recommendations.
(Image: BLS) 2018 report mean annual wage: $145,620 2017 report mean annual wage: $144,140
Spin, they say, is everything, so it may not be a surprise that marketing managers are among the highest-paid professions in the U.S. Since every industry has marketing managers, though, asking how much people in this profession make is kind of like asking how long a piece of string is. The salaries for marketing managers vary wildly by industry. Here are the top five industries for marketing manager salaries: 21. Financial Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $146,290 2017 report mean annual wage: $143,870
This job description comprises treasurers and controllers as well as financial managers. Despite the increased availability of online brokers , self-guided financial technology and robo-advisers, the field of financial management is expected to grow a very healthy 19% between 2016-2026. ( Related: Pros & Cons of Using a Robo-Advisor ).
Treasurers and controllers are responsible for the following tasks, per O*net: Supervise employees performing financial reporting, accounting, billing, collections, payroll, and budgeting duties ( Related: Career advice: Accountant versus controller ) Coordinate and direct the financial planning, budgeting, procurement, or investment activities of all or part of an organization Develop internal control policies, guidelines, and procedures for activities such as budget administration, cash and credit management, and accounting Maintain current knowledge of organizational policies and procedures, federal and state policies and directives, and current accounting standards. Prepare or direct preparation of financial statements, business activity reports, financial position forecasts, annual budgets, or reports required by regulatory agencies. Provide direction and assistance to other organizational units regarding accounting and budgeting policies and procedures and efficient control and utilization of financial resources. Analyze the financial details of past, present, and expected operations to identify development opportunities and areas where improvement is needed. Advise management on short-term and long-term financial objectives, policies, and actions. ( Related: What Do Financial Advisors Do? ) Monitor financial activities and details, such as cash flow and reserve levels, to ensure that all legal and regulatory requirements are met. Evaluate needs for procurement of funds and investment of surpluses and make appropriate recommendations. 22. Lawyers 2018 report mean annual wage: $141,890 2017 report mean annual wage: $139,880
The growth outlook for lawyers between the years 2016-2026 is 8%, about the average for all occupations in general. 23. Sales Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $140,600 2017 report mean annual wage: $135.090
Per the BLS, sales managers “plan, direct, or coordinate the actual distribution or movement of a product or service to the customer. Coordinate sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals and establish training programs for sales representatives. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine sales potential and inventory requirements and monitor the preferences of customers.” The highest-paid industry for this industry is apparel, at $164,220. 24. Natural Sciences Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $136,150 2017 report mean annual wage: $135,090
Per O*net, natural sciences managers “Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.” This can include the following titles: Environmental Program Manager, Fisheries Director, Health Sciences Manager, Laboratory Manager, Natural Science Manager, Research and Development Director, Research Manager, Senior Investigator, Senior Scientist, Water Team Leader. 25. Compensation and Benefits Managers 2018 report mean annual wage: $130,010 2017 report mean annual wage: $126,900
Within the field of human resources, compensation and benefits managers are the highest-paying positions. Per O*net, this job category can comprise titles such as: Benefits Coordinator, Benefits Manager, Compensation and Benefits Manager, Compensation Director, Compensation Manager, Compensation Vice President, Employee Benefits Coordinator, Employee Benefits Director, Employee Benefits Manager, Payroll Manager. Related Articles

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