James A. Thurston, MBA, CPA
Founder | CFO | Advisor
While at General Growth Properties, Jim led a $14 million cost reduction effort for the back office, increased tenant billings by $3 million and decreased account receivables days from 7 to 4 days.
James A. Thurston offers 20 years of transformative leadership experience to help companies achieve both immediate and long term goals. Whether it's initiatives for fast revenue growth, higher profit margins, acquisitions or divestitures, Jim has a unique combination of finance and valuation skills to position your company for success.
Jim has worked with public and private companies, Fortune 500 enterprises, small and mid-sized businesses, and start-ups. His specialties include organizational structure, back office optimization, financial modeling, budgeting and forecasting. Jim has benchmarked operating structures of domestic and international firms. He is technically adept, collaborating with business owners and IT teams to advance organizational needs through technology and data.
During tenure as Chief Accounting Officer at General Growth Properties (GGP), Jim led a $14 million cost reduction effort for the back office, increased tenant billings by $3 million and decreased account receivables days from 7 to 4 days.
Jim was responsible for the oversight of the post-bankruptcy accounting centralization effort from the field. Working very closely with the CIO, together they increased the utility of existing systems to further drive organizational efficiencies. His responsibilities included accounting, lease data, cash applications and accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. As a result of his contributions to the systems improvements, Jim was appointed as the project lead for the completion of the Salesforce CRM implementation at GGP.
Jim also spent 10 years with Simon Property Group including 7 years as the VP of Finance for International Operations. Jim evaluated a number of mergers and acquisition opportunities during his time at Simon including Steen & Strom in Scandinavia, Gallerie Commerciali Italia in Italy, and the integration of the Urban Shopping Centers management company with Simon.
In addition, Jim was part of a team with One11 Advisors to determine the system and organizational integration strategy for the combination of two property management organizations.
Masters in Business Administration – Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
Bachelor of Arts in Accounting – Michigan State University
"I had the good fortune of working with Jim as one of my great clients in Chicago. Jim was knowledgeable, capable, transparent and communicative. We enjoyed a very open relationship which was predicated on his strong ethical character and his strong moral compass. We partnered well in reaching appropriate solutions to numerous complex questions.
From an operational standpoint, Jim set in place a number of improved processes and organizational changes that decreased processing times, improved effectiveness and established clear lines of authority and accountability. As a result, all areas under his supervision were effective at producing results in a timely and accurate manner.""
Retired Partner - Deloitte
"Jim combines a collaborative and level-headed spirit with a sharp command of finance, accounting and strategic thinking. This great combination of attributes helps him deliver great results in a thoughtful way and makes him a pleasure to work with."
Director, Risk & Regulatory Advisory Services - Chatham Financial