Fast Five with Teresa Smith
Published on March 30, 2023
Chief Financial Officer Teresa Smith has been with the City of Charlotte more than 29 years. The Finance Department is responsible for maintaining the city's general ledger, billing and collection of utility payments, accounts payable and receivable, issuing bonds, risk management, financial reports and managing the city's investment portfolio
In this Fast Five edition, read Smith's interview and a few extra questions in honor of Women's History Month.
Which part of the organization do you lead?
I serve as the city's chief financial officer, leading the Finance Department. What people may not know is that this is a statutory position whereby I took an oath to carry out the duties of "finance officer" as defined by state statute. Those duties include things like keeping financial accounts and processes of the city, disbursing and receiving funds, preparing financial reports, maintaining debt processes, investing funds, and ensuring an annual external financial audit.
Why did you decide to work for the City of Charlotte?
At the end of my college career, I was provided information about an internship with the city by one of my professors. I got that internship and when it concluded, I knew this was a good fit for me. I have often described myself as a "Charlotte girl." I grew up here, graduating from West Mecklenburg High School, obtained my college degrees from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Go Niners!) and have worked my entire career with the City of Charlotte!
What is the biggest organizational priority you're working on right now?
Currently, the biggest organizational priority Finance is working on is the enterprise resource planning (ERP) replacement project. This project will replace our current financial system along with human resource, procurement and budget systems. We are focused on building on best practices and designing processes that allow the city to carry out financial compliance while also enabling the organization to provide services in an effective and efficient way both now and in the future. In addition, Finance is already gearing up for the end of the fiscal year. Many people see it just as June 30, but it's definitely more than just one day for Finance.
What is your favorite part about working for the City of Charlotte?
One of my favorite parts of working for the city is the variety of work I have been able to experience. Being a predominantly internal service department means that we support all parts of the organization. We learn how one department can be different from another and then determine how we support each one through consistent financial processes. It keeps things interesting from day to day! I also take pride in seeing my contributions throughout the city. While Finance may not be on the front lines, there are many financial processes that support the outward-facing operations and projects. It's this full complement of functions that make us a great city, and I am a part of that.
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
I don't have one favorite. My husband and I like to try new places, but I would say my favorite type of food is Mexican. I'll take any recommendations on a good Mexican restaurant!
Why is Women's History Month important to you?
Women's History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments that women have made to shape our history and how those accomplishments have prepared the way for women today. It also signifies a commitment to continue to value women and their contributions.
Who are some women that have inspired you?
My mother was my first inspiration. She came from humble beginnings, was a single mother for many years, and yet she always provided me with overflowing opportunities and support. I see strength and spirit in her.
I am also inspired by the many amazing women in this organization. Whether it is women that came before me who set the example, women who have been peers around me as we support each other through career journeys, or the bright and upcoming women that are rising up behind me, there is inspiration to find all around.