Rose Report: Issue 7

A Q&A with RFS Partner Tim Fargo

WebTell us about your professional life before joining RFS.

I devoted most of my career to working in various financial roles within the nonprofit world. I started with a technology focused nonprofit in 1989, where I worked as an accounting assistant. From there, I joined an audit firm, where I specialized in working with nonprofit clients. After earning my CPA, I became the accounting manager at a design and construction nonprofit. Part of the firm spun off and formed its own organization called the Design-Build Institute of America. As its CFO, I worked with the board, helped set the strategic vision for the company, and even helped run the IT and HR functions. When you’re working at a nonprofit, especially a mid-sized or smaller organization, you have to be willing to wear many different hats.

How did you end up at RFS?

I had been CFO of the Design-Build Institute for six years, and I was starting to feel ready for a new challenge. Ted Rose and I went to college together, and had kept in touch over the years. Whenever he was looking to fill an open position, he’d call to ask if I knew of any good candidates.

One day, he called to say he needed a new senior controller. I gave him a couple suggestions of folks who I thought might be a good fit, but neither of them worked out. Then it occurred to me—maybe I was the right person for the job. Ted and I talked about it, and he invited me on board. That was nearly seven years ago. I’ve been happy here ever since.

How do your past experiences in the nonprofit sector help you in your work for RFS’s non-profit clients?

I think my background allows me to be an asset to all of the great companies and organizations that I counsel on a daily basis, whether they’re nonprofits, for profit businesses, or government agencies. Over the years, I’ve developed the business acumen to understand what they need from their finance and accounting functions, and how to formulate solutions that make the most sense.

That said, I do have a lot of experience that relates directly to our nonprofit clients. I’ve been where they are; I’ve dealt with many of the same challenges they’re confronting. Especially in leaner economic times, I know what they need to do to cut costs and find new sources of income. And I know from first-hand experience that, for nonprofits, the stakes are often higher—if an organization doesn’t make the right financial decisions, people’s jobs can be at stake almost immediately.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love interacting with our clients and helping them problem-solve, particularly in the areas where they feel they need the most guidance. It’s rewarding to see how excited they get when their financial planning works out and they’re able to grow to their full potential.

Tell us about your life outside of work.

I’m a big Maryland Terrapins fan. My grandfather, mom, and dad all went to the University of Maryland. Both my sister and I graduated from there, too. I have season tickets for football and attend a number of basketball games. When I’m not rooting for Maryland, I’m cheering on the Baltimore Ravens and enjoyed watching them win the Super Bowl.

I also like to see movies, and go to the gym with my wife and son. And when we can get away, we spend time in the Outer Banks.