UOPX alumna's business is all about T.E.A.M — Together Everyone Achieves More
Cami Powell always felt that she had an entrepreneurial spirit, but she wasn’t sure where that would lead her. College wasn’t in her initial plans immediately after high school. After a few years of working, at the age of 20, she decided to jump right into being her own boss and bought a coffee shop.It turns out that the coffee shop was just the first step down her entrepreneurial – and educational – journey.
Powell is now the owner of Powell Accounting Solutions, which provides high-level accounting support, CFO services to small businesses and nonprofits, and online continuing education courses and mentorships that provide students with a CFO certificate as well as business ownership skills. Owning the company scratched her entrepreneurial itch. It recently began offering courses to help accountants reach their career goals, which scratched the educational itch she developed at University of Phoenix. At the heart of her company is the acronym T.E.A.M — Together Everyone Achieves More — a concept she felt was nurtured by her time as a student.
She said that she learned through her coursework to effectively work within and lead groups and recognize the strengths of others to build and lead successful teams.
“UOPX was the beginning of this,” Powell said. “We can’t be successful without others, and I’m thankful for UOPX to be a part of my past team.”
Powell’s entrepreneurial journey may have begun when she purchased the coffee shop, but her educational journey didn’t start until she sold it in 2004. As owner and manager, she realized she loved the accounting aspect of the business. She knew then that she wanted to study accounting and began to research college programs and options.
She attempted courses at a local community college and struggling with anxiety in the classroom. Powell was attracted to the online learning environment and structure that University of Phoenix offers.
She started her associate degree program in 2006 and said that she fell in love with the University. She found a rhythm of study, work and family balance and fit her studies in where she was able, and there was consistency in expectations even when instructors were different.
She continued on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2008, had a daughter in 2009, and then began work on her MBA in 2012.
“I am deadline driven, so to have the ability to have structure with the online setting was essential to my success,” Powell said.
Powell balanced education and family with a career, working as an accounting technician responsible for the financial management of grant programs worth over $5 million. From there, she became an associate director of an agency overseeing fiscal management of the budget and supervising staff. It was during her time there that she completed her MBA with UOPX in 2014.
Despite all of her success, Powell still couldn’t shake the entrepreneurial spirit that had always been driving her. She decided to start another business, considering many ideas including a mini-golf course. Powell realized then that she could support the entrepreneurial dreams of others through her own business. That was the start of Powell Accounting Solutions in 2014, which she continues to successfully operate today.
Powell Accounting Solutions provides services to clients as an outsourced CFO. Powell and her staff work primarily with small businesses and nonprofits, many of whom have employees who are not trained to think and operate like a CFO and can’t afford a full-time CFO on staff. She provides this service on-site or remotely for five to 10 hours a week per client as she and her team work to support, understand and train personnel.
Over the years, the business has seen tremendous growth. However, as many businesses do, Powell had a challenging year where she needed to reframe her vision. She looked at her own books through the eyes of the outsourced CFO services she provides to other clients and decided to make some changes.
Client lists were decreased so focus could increase. Billable rates increased for her clients. She removed the tax services she had been providing. She decided to focus on what she and her team was the best at.
The next step of growth within Powell’s business was to create and offer online courses to increase knowledge of accounting and business practices. The idea was the springboard for the current fast track courses through Powell Accounting Solutions.
While she admits that she was a bit nervous and doubted herself at times, she knew these changes had to be done to grow—following the same advice she would give any of her clients. Her clients responded positively to the changes, telling her that they recognized the value of the work her business does, and she saw her net profits increase.
Powell recalled the importance of establishing the value she places on herself and her company. Once she did that, she realized that her clients hold those values as well.
“Clients reassured us ‘you are worth it,’” she said. “We realized we are good at this and work with clients that value us.”