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Accounting in th...

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Episode 10

Accounting in the sports world with Patrick Lynch of the Boston Celtics


Episode summary

On this episode of Controllers Classified, host Erik Zhou welcomes Patrick Lynch, Senior Vice President and Controller of the Boston Celtics, who shares his journey from ball boy to financial leader for the team. Patrick highlights the milestones of his career, including his transition from an internship to working closely with the CFO, and the significant growth of the Celtics organization. He also imparts wisdom on how to seize career advancement opportunities and offers advice for those aiming to enter the sports industry.

The discussion then does a deep dive into the world of accounting and finance for sports teams. Patrick shares his goals for the upcoming year - accurate reporting, cash management, and cost efficiencies - and then details why those things specifically matter in the sports industry. For example, while a private company, the Celtics are subject to several reporting requirements as a part of the NBA, and Patrick’s team is responsible for the integrity & synthesis of that data. Similarly, the Celtics cash flow reflects the cycle of seasons, and Patrick’s team is focused on managing the ebbs and flows.

Finally, Patrick shares how he harnesses the power of technology to handle copious amounts of data, reduce manual work, and establish real time visibility. His goal in all of this is two fold - to give his team more time to do strategic work and to empower employees across the Celtics organization to be able to spend on things that will move the business forward.

The episode concludes with Patrick sharing an industry story related to an auditor’s stadium walkaround. Listen now to get an exciting in-depth look at how the accounting & finance team plays a huge role in the success of the Celtics franchise.

Show notes

  • From ball boy to controller for the Celtics [00:18]

  • Breaking into the sports world [6:27]

  • Setting priorities in 2024 [8:20]

  • Using tech to stay accurate [10:18]

  • Empowering Celtics’ employees to spend strategically [17:53]

  • Reporting requirements in the sports world [22:15]

  • Owning vs. renting a sports arena [26:08]

  • Accounting for player compensation [27:35]

  • Controllers are fun too [31:00]

Guest bio


Patrick Lynch, SVP and Corporate Controller, Boston Celtics

Patrick Lynch is the SVP and Corporate Controller of the Boston Celtics. He first joined the organization part-time as a ball boy in the 90s and then started full time in accounting at the Celtics in 2001. Patrick has his Bachelors of Business Administration from Providence College and an MBA from Boston College.

“I want that group to feel empowered - to do their traveling, meet with customers, meet with clients, entertain customers. In prior years, it has been review and analysis on the back end, once the transactions have happened. But now we’re trying to get out in front of it.”


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