FPAC Profile: A Lifelong Love Affair with Numbers
Terry Ackermann, FPAC has loved numbers since he was a child — “a passion that has never waned,” he said.
A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in finance, Terry started his career as a senior treasury analyst with Affiliated Computer Services. After a few years, he moved up to finance manager for DynCorp International, then played a dual role of FP&A and treasury working for Convergys. After nearly seven years in that role, Terry moved on to his present company: The Encompass Group. Starting out as director of strategy and operations, he moved up the ladder to COO, and then to CFO/COO, a seat he’s held for a year and a half.
Daily life in the C-suite
Terry said the most important elements of his role are to be a servant leader, exercise the company’s core values and enrich the lives of others. He keeps an eye to these values as he goes about his daily tasks, which are focused on the financial health of the company and partnering with coworkers to support the operations of the business.
The skills he said have helped him the most with this are numerical reasoning, analytics and critical thinking. “It helps to be detail-oriented, while having strategic foresight and vision,” he said.
Automation is at the top of his list too
When asked about his biggest challenges, automation and streamlining the company’s finance and accounting functions topped his list. Terry said they are setting themselves up to grow substantially and add new verticals to the business.
How does he plan to meet this challenge? In 2021, Terry created a plan to complete 15 projects by the end of the year that would automate and streamline current finance and accounting functions with an eye to the future. “We are growing our existing business and creating new lines of business this year,” he said. “My focus is on leveraging technology to elevate our financial modeling and forecasting.”
Helping to create the FPAC
Terry said he experienced personal and career benefits earning the CTP designation, so when AFP asked if he was interested in being on a team to develop the FP&A certification, it was an easy decision. “Not only did I want to earn the FPAC, but I also wanted to share my thoughts and experiences as we built out the framework for it,” he said.
Credibility is the number one benefit Terry said he’s gained from earning the FPAC. “The FPAC credential has allowed me to gain credibility from others inside and outside our organization. The people I work with trust my FP&A work and rely on my expertise, and I gain instant credibility as I network with others in person and through social media.”
He encourages anyone who wants to advance their finance career to study for and earn the FPAC credential. “This designation will provide career advancement opportunities within your organization and will naturally inspire your colleagues to do the same,” he said.
Looking to the future
In terms of skills Terry would like to add in the near future, he said he’d like to be more innovative with the technology they use internally, and the technology they provide to their clients. Does he have aspirations beyond his current position? Absolutely. “I’d like the opportunity to identify a company to acquire and be heavily involved in the financial and operational due diligence of the acquisition,” he said.