I need a reply to this discussion.
the reply must be at least 200 words. Do not just say “good job” or “I learned something from your post.” Replies are not a cheering exercise. Instead, your replies must be substantial, reflecting what you learned from reading the post, offering an extension, or correcting a mistake. Use what you learned in researching for your post (or knowledge gained from other classes or personal experience) to either supplement or critique the post you are writing about.
The person I chose to interview has over 35 years of experience in the accounting and finance profession. He worked for the same company, Magnesita Refractories Company, for all 35 of these years before deciding to retire in early 2017. Magnesita was (and is still today) the leading global supplier of refractory products. He worked a handful of different positions at Magnesita – including Treasury and Corporate Controller as well as overseeing the Financial side of the Operations and Manufacturing Process. This person happens to be my father – Rick Gladfelter.
Growing up I understood well what company he worked for and what work they did as well as what positions he held at the company. However, while digging into the topics we have covered so far in this class I did not once think of the application of them in his career. As I told him over the phone, it was not until I was considering who to interview that I began to piece together all of the legal issues he must have encountered on a regular basis. For that reason, I could not think of a better person to interview in order to get the most out of this project. After explaining my reasoning for wanting to interview him for this assignment – I began by jumping right into listing the various topics we have covered so far in this class. Immediately, the following topics jumped out to him – leasing, contracts, and workers compensation.
He explained that the most prevalent and important contracts that he worked with were centered around working with engineers to develop the machinery used in their plants. These were referred to as Automation Initiatives and System Integration contracts. They would approach engineering businesses with an explanation of what they needed the machinery to do and what timeframe it was needed by. Then it was the engineer’s job to put together a written offer – which would consist of the automation plan, a budget for the work, and a reasonable timeline to execute this plan. Before accepting, he mentioned that it was important to review certain details to ensure they were perfectly clear in the contract – stating that “expectations were so important” (personal communication, July 29, 2021). I mentioned that this was included in our textbook as a necessary ingredient in a contract – definiteness of terms. This is important so that a court can know the exact terms both parties agreed to in order to determine if any breach of contract ocurred (Langvardt et al., 2019, p.366). According to him, the most essential expectations to set were performance and timeframe. The performance of the machinery developed in the end was everything. If it did not meet the expectation exactly, then that means that their performance was not met. Additionally, according to him, timing was everything working in a refractory plant. One extra week or even one extra day of machines not running could result in big losses.
When it was more cost-advantageous, rather than having their own machinery developed, they would lease machinery. In these situations, he emphasized that it was vital to be informed of their responsibilities and rights both specifically in the agreement and according to the law in general. The most common example to consider was maintenance of the machinery. Was it their job to replace the tires when they were worn? If an issue arose, was it their job to repair? In what condition was the machinery to be handed back?
As soon as the topic of workers compensation was brought up, he immediately emphasized documentation. “Mistakes are almost unavoidable when you have as many people as we did working in the plants seven days per week” he went on to say (personal communication, July 29, 2021). Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes can lead to injuries – especially when working with such heavy materials and equipment. When a workers compensation claim was filed, the first thing to do was look at the paper trail. It was always preached that if any sort of injury occurred, or even near injury, the employees were asked precisely document the misstep and the exact harm to themselves.
I ended the interview by asking him if he could summarize in a few thoughts why having an understanding of business law is so important in business and specifically the finance and accounting field. He answered, “It is important to know so you can properly protect your company, your company’s assets, and your employees – who are the biggest assets your company has. In the end, you want to be a good steward of the role you have been given” (personal communication, July 29, 2021).
Overall, this was a really great opportunity to discuss the topics learned in this class so far with someone who has as much experience as my father does. I learned so much about the application of topics such as leases, contracts, and workers compensation in the profession of accounting and business in general. The biggest thing that stuck out to me and that seemed to be an underlying theme in all three topics was the importance of documentation and fully understanding the expectations set. If you do not have an understanding of the legal standards by which to abide – both according to the law in general and in your specific agreement – it could be costly to your business. Also, I really appreciated his emphasis of being a good steward. To be honest, I had not thought of it in this way. By default, I had always associated being a good steward with being wise with the money you have been given. However, it can also be in the form of appreciating the role we have in our company and doing right by them. In other words, equipping yourself with knowledgeable of the law and using that understanding to ultimately put your company in the best position possible is being a good steward. 1 Corinthians 9:17 says “For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship” (English Standard Version, 1973/2011, 1 Corinthians 9:17).