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Oklahoma Venture Forum Member Profile: Aaron Ackerman

Weatherproof Your Business with HoganTaylor’s New Financial Management Services Practice

Ackerman-Aaron-OVF Profile

by Lori Williams, Freelance Writer at Oklahoma Venture Forum

With a patchy economic forecast, it helps to have an umbrella handy. HoganTaylor’s new Financial Management Services practice offers just the right coverage.

HoganTaylor, with its 29 partners and close to 100 CPAs, is the largest public accounting firm in Oklahoma. Late last year, Aaron Ackerman came on board as a Consulting Executive to lead the firm’s Oklahoma City Financial Management Services practice. In this capacity, Ackerman’s team will fill the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for business owners who choose not to supply that position internally.

Ackerman is a CPA with over 15 years experience in public accounting and private business. “Prior to joining HoganTaylor, I served as the CFO for Redback Energy Services,” he says. “I particularly enjoyed working with a start-up company in the energy industry. Although it’s not always easy, there’s a lot of gratification in seeing something grow from nothing into something with a lot of value and revenue.”

One of Ackerman’s first clients at HoganTaylor was also starting at square one, but only in the bookkeeping department. “There was a non-profit organization that basically lost their entire accounting staff within a couple of months,” he recalls. “It was a crisis situation, so they asked HoganTaylor to serve as their CFO.”

The beauty of an external CFO is in the checks and balances. “We’re part of the team,” says Mr. Ackerman, “but because we are outside the organization, there’s the opportunity to scale up or down as the business changes. So, if we’re providing certain services and the business grows, we can just increase the number of hours we’re spending on the enterprise. Conversely, if the business shrinks, we can just reduce the amount of time and hours HoganTaylor is spending.”

He goes on to say, “As in the case of the non-profit, HoganTaylor provides stability when there is turnover. We know how to do all of the blocking and tackling – writing checks, making deposits, doing payroll, etc.”

Although this CFO Service falls under HoganTaylor’s advisory umbrella, Aaron Ackerman also explains it another way. “It’s about flexibility and peace of mind,” he says. “It’s also a great example of how a company can strategically build its finance and accounting department. A business may experience turnover, but HoganTaylor won’t go away.”

HoganTaylor’s FMS team also offers the traditional services business owners would expect, namely monthly book closings and financial statements as well as meeting with banks and board members. But this forward-looking firm has added another service to its list of advisory specialties. “We help our clients to either buy or sell a business,” says Ackerman. “We decided to add transaction services because small and mid-size companies with an enterprise value of $25 million or less may not be able to work successfully with a large investment bank or large business broker. At HoganTaylor, we’ve found that we can fill that niche.”

“We’ve done mostly sales transactions so far,” he explains. Such arrangements include helping sellers get their books in good condition, marketing the company to potential buyers and negotiating the terms alongside the lawyers. “We represent our clients in every aspect of selling their company,” he says.

Audit and tax services still predominate at HoganTaylor’s offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well as Fayetteville and Little Rock, Arkansas. But advisory work has definitely picked up. “It has provided the biggest growing revenue stream in our firm,” says Ackerman, “even though it’s a start-up venture and a new service offered by our company.”

Tax and audit season is cyclical. But financial management knows no season.

“More than anything,” says Aaron Ackerman, “I enjoy seeing my clients’ companies grow as a result of efficient and effective accounting and financial processes.”  

About The Oklahoma Venture Forum

OVF

The Oklahoma Venture Forum is a non-profit organization formed in 1987 to encourage economic development in Oklahoma. The OVF provides a means for investors, entrepreneurs and others to exchange experiences and ideas through discussions and studies of venture investing, and the development and growth of new and existing small businesses. The OVF provides the setting at monthly luncheons held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through June. For more information, visit www.ovf.org