Feb. 15, 2018
In both business aviation and accounting, the details matter.
Wendy Ulrich knew her way around financial details when she joined Air Services, Inc. after nearly a decade in public accounting. What she needed was a more thorough understanding of the operational and administrative nuances of running a world-class flight department.
“Being fairly new to business aviation, I knew that the Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) program would be worthwhile for my situation,” said Ulrich, CPA, CAM, who serves as CFO of the Michigan-based charter and management services company.
For industry newcomers and veterans alike, NBAA’s CAM program offers an opportunity to refine the critical knowledge, skills and abilities demanded of the modern aviation manager. To date, more than 400 qualified aviation professionals have passed the CAM exam, which tests candidates’ knowledge of five subject areas: leadership, human resources, operations, aircraft maintenance and facilities operations, and business management.
Ulrich credits the rigorous exam process with helping her better understand not only the “what” of flight department operations, but also the “why” – enabling her to provide more comprehensive financial leadership.
“Studying the best practices and regulations really helped me understand the history behind why things are done a certain way,” Ulrich said. “I was able to look at our operation from different viewpoints and become more familiar with the details of how aircraft operations and maintenance procedures are handled.”
After learning about the CAM program at NBAA’s Tax, Regulatory & Risk Management Conference, Ulrich spent several years accumulating industry experience (an exam qualification requirement) before earning her CAM credential in September 2017. Preparing for the exam while working full-time proved beneficial, she says, because she was able to apply the information to day-to-day functions.
“I used the study resources as a guide to get to know my organization and our flight operations better, and this strategy really helped me remember the details during the exam,” she said.
While all aviation professionals benefit from the skillset enhancement and industry recognition that comes with earning their CAM credential, Ulrich’s experience demonstrates the unique value it can offer to industry newcomers.
“The CAM certification process gives you a better understanding of other team members’ responsibilities, creating a stronger, more trusting team that ultimately provides a better end-user experience,” she said.