An Interview with Curtis Allen, the CFO of Phoenix Capital Group
Curtis Allen is the Chief Financial Officer at Phoenix Capital Group. He has over 10 years of experience in financial services with an emphasis on investment analysis.
As a CPA, Curtis has a range of experiences from his private tax practice to auditing billion-dollar defense contractors. He has also spent over 7 years managing investments for personal and corporate clients. He holds series 7 and 66 licenses and has passed the CFA level I.
At Phoenix Capital Group, Curtis is responsible for all accounting and finance functions, along with a multitude of day-to-day operational tasks.
Tell us about yourself?
I am the Chief Financial Officer of Phoenix Capital Group Holdings, LLC. I legitimately enjoy every day at Phoenix – the challenges we face, the problems we solve, and the people I work with.
I am also the father of two amazing children and husband to an amazing wife. I was born and raised in Rochester, NY. In high school, my best sport was swimming, where I used my 6’3” frame and flipper-sized feet to my advantage.
What makes you different than other professionals in your field?
Accountants get a pretty bad (and sometimes well-deserved) name for themselves regarding humor and personality. I spend time every day looking for a way to make someone laugh. I don’t try to take life too seriously. I look for the humor where I can find it.
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
I believe we can achieve 5-10% of total market share in the next 3-years. This marketplace is vast, with hundreds of mid and large-sized competition, including off-shoots of major oil companies.
If we capitalize fully and continue to execute our plan, we can become a well-known name in the space with sights aimed at becoming the single-largest mineral acquisition company in less than a decade.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
During high school, I held a basic controller role in a local movie theatre. It became the basis of my love for accounting – odd, I know. I went to college confident that accounting would be the cornerstone of my career, and it was. I became a CPA right out of college and started my journey.
About 5 years later, after meeting my wife and my to-be father-in-law, he introduced me to the vast world of finance. With my CPA toolbelt affixed, I made the leap into finance. It knocked me out of the comfort zone I had established for myself, and the symbiosis between the accounting and finance crafts became apparent to me immediately. This set me on the course to achieve the experience I needed to succeed at Phoenix.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
My best purchases will always be investments – both financial and in my family. Save money for a rainy day, invest in your children’s college savings plans, and put money in your retirement plans.
When it comes to family, spend money on your health and well-being, don’t scrimp at the store, buy better quality food, and pay for a gym or home workout solution.
My worst purchases will always be vehicles. Every wise financial advocate will tell you to buy a reliable used car. Yet, I always find myself drawn to sporty cars that no one needs, like a siren drawing a ship to the rocks.
What takes up too much of your time?
I don’t agree, but my wife would say the NFL, fantasy football, and most importantly, the Buffalo Bills. If you were born and raised in Western New York as I was, you are all but required to show fealty to New York’s only football team, the Bills.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs or leaders in their field?
- You always know less than you think you do – ask questions.
- Never be comfortable – the moment you feel that you have something under control, push yourself to tackle the next challenge.
- If you’re the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
From the outside looking in, Elon Musk has surely caught my attention. Running a business can be incredibly challenging. From the people to the company’s direction, successfully steering the ship can be all-consuming. Elon apparently found one multi-thousand employee company too easy to manage, so he runs two. On top of that, he has interests in other auxiliary companies.
For example, he revolutionized the rocket industry and wrestled that away from government monopoly – if only he could wrestle away more! For that, from an outsider’s perspective, I have quite a large amount of respect for Elon Musk.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
My family. My daughter’s resiliency, energy, and passion for life, my son’s unmitigated desire to smile and laugh, and my wife’s unparalleled ability to support us all (including me, her third child!).
How should people connect with you?
It’s not easy. My day is so full that I delete most unsolicited emails immediately, rarely go on social media, and don’t answer phone calls from numbers I don’t know. I will, however, answer a text message if it catches my eye.
I always have to have zero unread text messages, so you can usually get a response if you can catch my attention in the first line of a text.