Georgian College to host dealership management program


By Lawrence Papoff

Understanding financial statements is crucial to effective dealership management.

Without that skill, dealers and dealership managers can’t process the advice they get from 20 Groups, consultants and their OEMs and decide how to effectively manage their dealerships, says Prof. Carol Meissner, who teaches accounting and “financial literacy” for the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College.

“All of that advice is good, but the problem is you need to know how those numbers and ratios got calculated,” she says.

Without that knowhow, management can’t be sure that the advice they get is right for their store. And even if it is right, applying it to suit their store will be a struggle, she says.

So Meissner is urging dealership management to take the Automotive Business School’s Automotive Dealership Management program, which starts its next cohort in 2016

Graduates will receive an Ontario college graduate certificate in dealership management.

The program includes courses about dealership financial management, service management, dealership management, parts/accessories management, new and used management as well as the customer experience.

Meissner, a CPA, CGA and former dealership controller, will teach the financial management course.

Her course studies a variety of financial statements, but to keep it relevant each student works with statements from their dealership.
Courses help the student prepare dashboards customized for their dealership.

“Each person designs them to include most important metrics for their business that they should be looking at on a regular basis.

“So throughout the program faculty help students calculate their own financial ratios to see where the numbers come from. So if someone says you have to change your results, you know where those triggers are and what influences it.”

Other instructors include Nick Palalas and Chuck Seguin.
Palalas is the president of PowerTrack Dealer Solutions and a retail automotive performance consultant with over 20 years of management experience. He will teach new and used sales management.

Seguin, the president of Seguin Advisory Services, has over 23 years of experience in the industry. He will teach the capstone course, which takes all the statements and reports from all the courses and blends them into a strategic plan.

“They can use the plan the minute they leave the course,” Meissner says. “It’s sitting there waiting for them … the dashboards … the standards they want their managers to follow and the HR plans to put the plan into action.”

For more information, contact Heather Ummels, or