Elena Tercero, CPA, CGMA, CGFM
Owner of Little Light Accounting, PC
2015 -2016 New Mexico AGA Immediate Past President and Webmaster
A. I got involved with AGA from a colleagues recommendation to become a member. I have served on the executive committee since becoming a member in 2009.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally and how did you overcome it?
A. The biggest challenge that I have faced professionally is having the confidence in myself that I should. The only way that I have been able to overcome it is to continually work on personal development so
that I equip myself with the proper tools to be able to complete a task.
Q. How did you choose government financial management as your career?
A. Through high school I knew that I was going to have a career in the accounting field, aspiring to be a CPA. When my father-in-law retired I moved from accounting for a church not-for-profit to government. I learned quickly that I enjoyed working in the government financial management segment, helping bridge the gap between accountants and computer programmers.
Q. What’s the most important issue today in government financial management?
A. The most important issue today in government financial management is fiscal responsibility. Fiscal responsibility beginning with those that enact the budget laws beginning at the federal level all the way to local public bodies. As well as those responsible to oversee the budgets to those utilizing the funding to provide services for everyday citizens.
Q. What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
A. I am most proud of completing the CPA exam. I completed three of the four sections of the exam while pregnant with our fourth child all while working full time. The exam and circumstances in my life taught me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to.
Q. If you weren’t in government financial management what would you do?
A. If I weren’t in government financial management I would still be in the accounting field. I knew since my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to be a CPA.
Q. Do you have a mentor and how has this person helped you?
A. I have had many mentors over the course of my career and they have all taught me very valuable lessons. Starting with my high school DECA and accounting teacher, who showed me the world of finance and accounting. During my career in government I have had a handful of mentors that have taught me how to communicate with others to complete a project, how to understand the job duties you are performing and know how those duties intertwine with others. So that if you change your day to day operations you understand how that will impact those both upstream and downstream from you.
Q. What advice would you give a new college graduate joining the field?
A. Find a mentor and learn everything you can from them. Never be afraid to ask questions and recommend new approaches to problems. Learn to lead others and in turn be a mentor to someone else new to the field.
Q. If you had to describe your job in six words how would you do it?
A. Financial management through leading/problem solving
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you never received but wish you had?
A. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is where growth happens, where you learn to do what works and forget about what doesn’t. Failure teaches you more about who you are as a person and truly shows you who you can become.
Q. What’s the best thing about AGA?
A. The best thing about AGA is the leadership opportunity available to those ready to step up and lead. It’s great off the job training geared toward training you for your job.
Q. If you are a CGFM, how has it enhanced your career?
A. I have been able to meet new people, learn new things and help others understand the importance of becoming a CGFM.