Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Terrell Turner is a Certified Public Accountant and the managing partner of the TLTurner Group, a firm focused on providing consulting and training services to make accounting and finance less complicated, for business owners and executives. He is also the founder and host of the Business Talk Library, a professional content show that features interviews with CEOs, executives, and Ph.D. researchers in accounting, finance, and several other aspects of business. Prior to launching his firm in 2020, he served in several finance and accounting leadership roles with Ernst & Young, Navistar Inc., General Electric, and Passport Inc. in both North and South America.
In our interview with Terrell, we explore his entrepreneurial journey and business enterprises.
Hello Terrell. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We would like to start by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background and career to date?
Terrell: I was a first generation college student that really enjoyed studying accounting, finance and business. I say I was because my father decided to go to college my sophomore year and graduated 7 days before me. While at a small liberal arts college in South Carolina, I gained the attention of the University of Notre Dame who recruited me to earn my Master's in Accounting through the Notre Dame Mendoza college of business. From school, I went into public accounting and on to a finance leadership program that included working in Investor Relations, and prepping the CEO, CFO and COO for investor calls with wall street analysts. From there, I completed international finance assignments in Brazil and moved into finance leadership roles with General Electric. I knew that I wanted to launch my own business someday, so I decided to first gain experience with tech startups.
As the Director of FP&A, I supported the acquisition of multiple target companies and fund raising efforts of $65 million, while building out a full finance team. Now, I am the managing partner of the TLTurner Group, an accounting and fractional CFO firm, that brings the experience of a fortune 500 finance leader to small and medium sized firms. We also aim to help other business owners who aren't our clients, and inspire future finance professionals with our educational videos and podcast shows, through our trademark brand called 'Business Talk Library'.
What initially attracted you to the finance sector?
Terrell: Finance always seemed like the place where all of the different segments of a business came together. Whenever I met someone that was excelling in their business they always told me, a solid understanding of accounting and finance was the key.
In knowing this, I decided to go into finance because it was the place that allowed me to develop as a business professional, faster than any other discipline or professional field.
How and why did you become an Entrepreneur?
Terrell: I started off by lending my expertise to others for free. While I was exceling in my career of corporate finance, a friend's father reached out to me to build out a financial model for a project that he was working on. They had spent months pitching the idea to different investors and larger brands, but had no tractions. When I added my financial modelling skills and helped revamp the investor deck to align the financial story that was being told, within a week they received multiple calls from the industries biggest brands asking for an M&A exploration meeting. After doing that for free, I realized, wow I have a skill that other business owners need to take their business to the next level so I decided to start offering my services for a fee.
What key challenges have you faced in your entrepreneurial journey and how have you managed these?
Terrell: The biggest challenge by far is graduating from a person who knows and delivers on my craft to a business owner that is building something bigger than just me.
Most professionals in my field hit a wall when they start a business, because they never learned the business side of their craft, and all of the other critical disciplines that a true business owner needs (marketing, sales, operations, distribution, client success, etc).
To manage these challenges I connect with a lot of excellent professionals who have those skills so I can either learn from them or staff my weaknesses. Part of the reason that I started the podcast was to connect and interview people that know what I don't so in the first 10 months I filmed over 260 interview style episodes so I could grow past my own weaknesses.
Has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders
Terrell: My journey is most definitely influenced by business leaders like Heather Kos the VP of Investor Relations when I worked at Navistar, Joe Lucas my executive finance leader at General Electric, and Chris Ortega, a Finance leader at Emarsys. These business leaders taught me that finance can and should operate on the front line of a business, and help the rest of the team make wise decisions. They taught me that finance professionals don't have to just hide in the background until someone asked us a question.
Outside of finance, I would say leaders like Jackie Hermes and Khristian Gutierrez. I studied them both to learn humility and effective sales skills. Christina Kyriazi is another person I have learnt from, she is a Wonder Women when it comes to effective marketing. There is also Kristin David a master of processes, systems and distribution. There are some business leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin and Ashley Ann, who are people that I have not personally met but also influence me as well.
Please describe what your company TLTurner Group does, and the role you play as Cofounder and CFO?
Terrell: The TLTurner Group is a non traditional accounting firm that focuses on helping clients better understand the financial side of their business so they can make more informed and wiser financial business decisions. We achieve this through offering:
1) free resources (training and podcast www.BusinessTalkLibrary.com),
2) On-demand and group training for entrepreneurs and businesses (www.blt.thinkific.com), 3) bookkeeping services,
4) fractional CFO consulting to support projects and major business transactions.
My role as Cofounder is to lead the business development sector for new client growth, managing the existing client relationships and providing review support for our bookkeeping and financial analyst contractors.
How would you describe the value proposition of TLTurner Group, and what makes it unique when compared to other accounting companies?
Terrell: The TLTurner Group is not a typical firm because we are a team of business owners that have a skillset in accounting which means we focus on helping our clients operationalize the data that we provide. Our firm does not focus on taxation support which allows us to be more engaged in helping our clients use the financial data to effectively execute their business strategy.
In 2021 alone we have worked with our clients to secure over $1.2M in loan funding, supported funding project for 4 new store expansions, and did due diligence financial modelling for 3 M&A rounds. Where most accounting firms process transactions and provide clients with reporting, we work with the clients to help them effectively use the financial information in the execution of their strategy. We also produce about 3 different podcast a week which provides our clients and their staff with ongoing access to lessons learned from top performing businesses within their industry, so our clients have access to the wisdom of more than just our team.
You host a show called Business Talk Library. Please give us an overview of what this show is about, and it’s target audience?
Terrell: The Business Talk Library is a resource for business owners and business professionals to learn from top performing businesses across multiple industries. We are very fortunate to be directly engaged in conversations and business strategies that are reshaping the way we all think and approach business, so the show is our way to make those once exclusive conversations public so we can have a positive impact on so many businesses.
We also feature original content of finance conversations where our team takes top lessons from closed door meetings and share them with our audience (of course leaving out the direct names of the private parties). We aim to help business owners who don't have the fortune of being in the types of exclusive conversations and business dealings that we do. Our target audience would be Small to Medium sized for-profit businesses that are about to or actively trying to successfully navigate the growth journey of their business
Before we conclude the Q&A session do you have anything you would like to add?
Terrell: This has been a great experience and the questions have been awesome thought provokers. We are always aiming to improve our messaging and do alot of healthy introspection to ensure that we are understanding ourself as a company, and the audiences that we serve.
Thank you Terrell for participating in this Q&A session, we wish you all the best?
Terrell: Thank you
This article was original featured in Issue 9 of The Business Anecdote Magazines. You can read the magazine below ⬇️ ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️