Successful Berklee Alumni #117: Jared Trace

Jared Trace

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 24 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2009 with a major in Jazz Composition.  Principal instrument:  voice.


Position:  Staff Accountant at Le Tote, a 400+ employee startup company that’s like “DVD Netflix for women’s fashion.”  Subscribers receive a package with 3 articles of clothing and accessories to wear, then send them back (unwashed) to receive the next package.  One of four on the finance team, and the one accountant who works at the company, Jared tallies transactions, reconciles money owed (“accounts payable”), analyzes revenue and what transactions can be recognized as such.  He also values inventory, processes payroll and deals with any accounting-related issues that come up.  Jared’s background is not in fashion, but he finds the rental model an interesting challenge.


Overview:  While at Berklee, Jared took a semester off to earn money, and a temp agency placed him at a real estate firm, which moved him from the file room to accounts payable due to his being fast and accurate with a 10-key numeric keypad.  Jared worked there part-time for two years and expected to continue there after finishing Berklee, but he got laid off during the severe economic downturn in the spring of 2009.  Jared worked for two years as a barista, doing some, but not too much music with the busy-and-early work schedule.  Wanting a better job, he applied for other accounting-type jobs, and got a similar job, again via a temp agency in accounts payable, where he worked for a year and a half, hired on permanently and gradually taking on more responsibility as he figure out things on his own.

In early 2012, Jared had an existential crisis about not working in music, and he went, with a fellowship, to the Masters in Jazz Composition program at UMASS-Amherst.  However, he found he really did not like the program and left in the spring of 2013.  He got a bookkeeping job in Northampton, but the wages were low, and he and his fiancee elected to move to the San Francisco area where he’s from.  He did several accounting jobs while getting his Masters in Accounting from New England College, an 18-month online degree program for working accountants without an accounting background, in 2015.  In early 2016 a recruiter reached out to him about his current job–being Le Tote’s first staff accountant–which he ultimately got.


You can see Jared’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “At Berklee I took lots of arranging and theory classes. Accounting is like financial theory. You’re taking real money and putting it into ‘imaginary’ categories. A lot of it is making sure $ is in the right place in the way that a C-major 7 chord has to have notes in the right place. There’s a certain satisfaction from achieving ‘numerical harmony’ and being able to say I was able to make sense out of what my company did.”

“Everyone needs an accountant one way or another. Without financial data you can’t make good decisions whether you’re an individual, a small company, or a large company.  Because I understand accounting, I think about my own money in a different way now.”

“Though there are many possible career paths for an accountant. I like working directly for a company rather than being a public accountant because this way I’m not surrounded by accountants all the time. I appreciate the diversity. I also like getting to know a business intimately, and feel I can be more effective with that level of understanding.”

“The quickest way to up your title/salary is to go get a degree / certification. I spent around $24K on tuition to get that degree. 2 months after I finished the program I got a new job paying $20K/year more. I’m still making more money–the degree legitimized my knowledge.”

“Think what you’re good at in music–playing teaching, writing, making connections, singing, etc. Then apply that into the larger world–what jobs in the world interest you? Only liking music–that’s nuts–everyone has multiple interests, so don’t pigeonhole yourself.  At least think about what else would you be willing to do? Maybe you’ll fall in love with it after trying it–some things are more like bourbon–and acquired taste–than like vanilla ice cream.”


See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.