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Controller ReMax Associates, San Diego, Calif.
Not Just a Number
As a first-year college student, Alicia Palmisano McNally ’99 knew she wanted to be an accounting major but lacked confidence in her abilities. Her Moravian professors encouraged her to stick with it, and she did, going on to work for companies like Sea World San Diego, ReMax Associates, and Marriott Vacation Club International.
Accounting isn’t all about pushing papers. As controller at ReMax Associates in San Diego, Calif., McNally oversaw the financial health of fourteen different real estate branches.
“It was really neat to be part of the success of a company,” says McNally, who left the corporate world to raise her daughters, Alexa and Makayla, and now resides in Illinois. “Everything leads up to the end result of how the company is doing.”
Lawrence Bezdziecki, professor emeritus of accounting, and John Rossi III, associate professor of accounting, saw a talent for the profession in McNally, even when she doubted herself. She debated changing her major—she completed a minor in psychology—but they convinced her to believe in herself.
“When I became frustrated because I did not understand everything the way I thought I should, they stressed that once I got out there, it would be easier to grasp concepts because I’d see how they applied,” she recalls. “You aren’t just a number at Moravian. There are small classes where the professors help you one-on-one and you’re not pushed aside. That was huge to me and why I chose Moravian—I didn’t just want to be a number on a list.”
McNally found out Bezdziecki was right when he helped her get internships in the accounting departments of Davis Beverage Group and Bethlehem Contracting Company. “They were eye-openers for me; showing me how all the textbook readings came into play.
“Internships are crucial because they give a student a true feel for the workforce,” she says. “I got a real understanding of what accounting is, not just answering questions from a book. I saw the start-to-finish of things.”
That total understanding helped McNally when she became Controller for Re/Max, where she was responsible for the monthly financial statements, corresponding schedules for individual branches as well as the company as a whole. In that position she led a team of six which handled accounts receivable, accounts payable, account management, commission disbursements for 450 agents.
"You aren’t just a number at Moravian. There are small classes where the professors help you one-on-one and you’re not pushed aside. That was huge to me."