Meet Tom Anderson
Strategic Accountant and Financial Advisor
I never thought of myself as an accountant.
As an undergrad finance major, I recognized that I would not be able to apply my education very well without a solid basis in accounting, the language of business. So, I went to graduate school for a more concentrated accounting curriculum and ultimately became a CPA.
I began my career at a Big Four international public accounting firm because it would give me the greatest opportunity to gain exposure to many businesses in the shortest amount of time.
From there, I started my own advisory firm, Anderson Business Advisory Services. Afterwards, I joined Tatum as a CFO Partner in Houston, then O’Rourke Petroleum, a petroleum distributor as CFO, later becoming President/COO.
I became an advisor because enjoy helping owners achieve their visions for their business.
I first began advising business owners amidst the ruins of the financial crisis in the 1980s.
It was very dire in Houston, worse than the Great Depression.
A lot of people suddenly found themselves in financial trouble with their businesses and credit sources, and many could not afford full time help.
So, I started helping clients manage their relationship with their bankers, shareholders, and employees - people who were understandably very anxious about whether there was going to be a failure.
And I leveraged my expertise and experience in accounting & finance to help them make better decisions.
I discovered a great satisfaction in being able to save a business at risk of failing and to save the jobs that went with it.
As a Senior Advisor with Ferguson Alliance, I offer my experience and expertise to help owners overcome financial management challenges, facilitate strategic and/or rapid growth, and ultimately build prosperous family businesses.
Accounting is the language of business, yet most business owners do not understand their financial statements.
Unless a business has a financial leader within the organization, most owners understand their business from a sales and operational point of view, but not from a financial point of view.
They understand cash in the bank, and they understand that they made a profit, but they do not always really understand why one is up or down, or what decisions they made or did not make that have influenced that result.
Consequently, they sometimes make decisions that are financially ill-informed. In some situations that can lead to some very unfortunate results.
One of the first things I do with my clients is teach them how to really interpret the various financial statements and the importance of management reporting versus classic financial reporting.
When clients understand how the various reports are related and the importance of cash flow and liquidity, they are better prepared volatility - whether it is expected or unexpected.
This way they can become planners instead of reactors.
Accounting is the language of business. If you can speak that language, you can understand the business so much better.
My strengths: working with people at all levels of the organization.
Throughout my career, many people have remarked to me, "You don't seem like an accountant."
I always take that as a compliment because accounting is only a small part of what I do. I use my accounting and financial knowledge to provide the strategic advice clients need to get the results that are important to them.
But strategy alone is insufficient. You also need empathetic leadership.
A company leader is like a good orchestra conductor. You must get all the musicians to play together. It does not matter how talented any one of them is, individually. If they are not in harmony, it does not sound particularly good.
This means that being able to work with people in a warehouse or on a truck, as well as the people in the accounting department, or the sales department, are all equally important.
If they are not all working in concert, then usually the business is under-performing.
My superpower is the ability to work across all those different lines. I learned this skill long ago when in one of the first industrial companies that I went to turnaround where they called me a "suit."
They were all welders and even though I was not actually wearing a suit, which was how they saw me. So, my challenge was to break down that stereotype, and make them see me as someone who not only valued the work, they did but considered their opinions about how we should do things going forward to be important.
About me personally: I have helped raise two young girls to become wonderful adult women and am an avid bird hunter and Texas history buff.
I was born and raised in Houston and attended the University of Texas and yet succumbed to my two adult daughters who are both Aggie grads!
I am also a Texas history buff. I collect old books and maps and know where to look to find history in many locations around the state.
I find it fascinating historically that our state was once an independent country and had to win a war to claim that independence. I believe this is why today we continue to encourage independent thinking in Texas.