Beyond the Numbers – Get to Know Rick Arthur
For those who know Rick Arthur it will be no surprise to hear that he loved math and problem solving at a very early age. As he puts it, “Math was talking my language. I loved numbers and they loved me back.” He was, of course, typically the best student in his math classes. He always thought he’d have a career that revolved around math, maybe teaching or engineering. But after entering college on a swimming scholarship, he discovered accounting and chose that as his major.
After working at a CPA firm right out of college, Rick started to understand his talents in applying math to business. Always very analytical, Rick developed a passion for using those skills to find the root of problems and resolve them.
Interestingly, Rick attributes his aptitude for problem solving and conflict resolution to being a middle child. Growing up in a family with five boys, he was literally in the middle of a very competitive environment. He credits that status with cultivating a tendency to see both sides, rather than gravitating to one side or the other when there was conflict, honing his skills at problem solving, and becoming a peacemaker. He also valued the freedom that being a middle child afforded – an asset that he values still. Another aspect of his childhood is an important part of Rick’s everyday life even now – the ability to have fun and find humor even when facing challenges, demonstrated to him by his mother throughout her life.
It’s the freedom to work as he chooses, implement his own ideas, and have greater opportunities to contribute that has been the catalyst for having his own business most of his life. He’s been self-employed since 1980.
Rick was in the residential building business for 16 years, co-founding a homebuilding company in 1986. First as the CFO and later as CEO he drew on his strengths, responsible for in-house operations including finance, estimating, purchasing, HR and IT. Over the years, Rick led the company into becoming a $20 million operation. He persisted through the natural evolution of a growing business which gave him experience that he considers invaluable. That experience became the cornerstone of how he helps businesses today. He knows firsthand the issues, obstacles, and problems most business owners are dealing with. He understands the what, why, and how to get to the other side. He also knows what it’s like to lose a business and how to recover. Like many companies involved in construction, his business was a casualty of 911 as the market tanked in its wake. It was at that point that Rick said, “God’s trying to tell me something,” and took a look at his core competencies, out of which grew his current work as a fractional CFO.
As a fractional CFO, Rick enjoys the variety of work and personalities, and believes he has more impact and can bring more insight to the table by working with different businesses and industries. Unlike many in-house CFOs, his work is not diluted with other duties – he is able to give full attention to helping businesses move from where they are to where they want to be in a financially healthy way. He has found his experience and perspective as a CEO to be invaluable in that he understands how all aspects of a business interconnect.
Rick’s early aspiration of becoming a teacher rings true today. “I think I’ve always been a natural teacher. I love learning and sharing what I’ve learned.” He enjoys being able to communicate and convey the knowledge he’s gained over the years, through a relationship with another business owner – helping his clients develop financial intelligence and empowering them with knowledge they can put into action.
Rick’s clients come to consider him a trusted advisor, not just someone who provides financial services to their company. Rick attributes that largely to the CEO perspective he brings to his work, his analytical skills and his understanding of people. “Clients bring me issues outside of ones related to money, including organizational and employee concerns.” In fact, Rick says that his belief that “people are the most important asset to a business” is a way of evaluating whether a client is a good fit for his services. His interview process includes a dialogue about core values and specifically how they value and treat their employees. According to Rick, “The most successful companies are those who focus on culture first and truly value their people ahead of profits.”
If you’ve ever spent more than a few minutes with Rick, you likely know that Rick loves golf. He coordinates “Wednesdays Fore Fun” outings during the summers – creating a fun way of getting to know people in a very relaxed environment and introduce them to other business people.
Rick loves what he does and would like to deepen strategic relationships with business owners to help them get even more traction and quicker results. Contact Rick for a complimentary consultation about how your business can benefit from his unique perspective and services.