300 episodi

CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a podcast featuring firsthand accounts of finance leaders who are driving change within their organizations.
We share the career journey of our spotlighted CFO guest: What do they struggle with? How do they persevere? What makes them successful CFOs? CFO THOUGHT LEADER is all about inspiring finance professionals to take a leadership leap. We know that by hearing about the successes — (and yes, also the failures) — of others, today’s CFOs can more confidently chart their own leadership paths across the enterprise and take inspired action.

CFO Thought Leader Middle Market Executive

    • Carriere

CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a podcast featuring firsthand accounts of finance leaders who are driving change within their organizations.
We share the career journey of our spotlighted CFO guest: What do they struggle with? How do they persevere? What makes them successful CFOs? CFO THOUGHT LEADER is all about inspiring finance professionals to take a leadership leap. We know that by hearing about the successes — (and yes, also the failures) — of others, today’s CFOs can more confidently chart their own leadership paths across the enterprise and take inspired action.

    566: Building Your P&L Culture | Scot Parnell, CFO DailyPay

    566: Building Your P&L Culture | Scot Parnell, CFO DailyPay

    We are nearly at the end of our interview with Scot Parnell when we ask him to explain what led him to accept the CFO position at DailyPay, a company with a pioneering technology inside the human capital management realm.
    This is a question that we had asked a little earlier in the interview, but this time we want to know what other factors may have contributed to his decision. Although Parnell has already put forth a compelling explanation of DailyPay’s unique offerings, he is happy to share a bit more with us.
    “This role was absolutely fascinating. I was at a place in my life where I could take some risks, and I also think that I’ve got some runway here. For me, it was too important to be absolutely excited about goingto work every day. It makes me a better leader. It makes me a better husband and father when I find fulfillment in what I’m doing,” explains Parnell, whose response suddenly widens our lens to a better view of what sets apart his latest CFO career chapter from earlier ones.
    “As I sat back and looked at what I wanted to do next, this just felt like I could get more excited about it and put more of my soul into it, so that’s what I did,” he continues, while expressing a sentiment that many finance leaders experience but frequently resist acting upon.
    Having spent the past 20 years as a finance leader in large enterprise organizations, Parnell has observations about the entrepreneurial realm that undoubtedly signal a fresh enthusiasm that few CFOs can muster—and particularly those who may have built their careers as start-up CFOs and but over time have become more integrated into their surroundings.
    Nonetheless, when it comes to CEO–CFO relationships, Parnell’s comments are suddenly strikingly similar to those of a broad swath of his CFO peers: “The CFO and CEO have to do a Vulcan mind-meld to make sure that they’re not only of the same mind, but also able to work together as a team and provide each other balance and support.” –Jack Sweeney

    • 31 min
    565: A Fintech Unicorn Burnishes its Risk Management Brand | Michael Tannenbaum, CFO, Brex Inc.

    565: A Fintech Unicorn Burnishes its Risk Management Brand | Michael Tannenbaum, CFO, Brex Inc.

    Tannenbaum: At Brex, pretty early on, I was kind of familiar with the banking landscape from when I had been in investment banking. The group that I had been in actually served regional banks, so I did a lot of regional bank mergers and acquisitions. Then, at SoFi, I had built a lot of relationships with regional banks. I think that when you start in fintech, there's always this belief that you're competing with big banks. That was a lot of the marketing positioning of my former employer, SoFi, but at Brex I saw this opportunity to partner with banks because I was familiar with the card landscape. At least in the commercial card space, outside of the Big Four banks--Wells, Citi, Bank of America, Chase--there are very few financial institutions that actually issue corporate cards.

    I decided that even though we were a small company, subscale, no one had heard of us, and we had a stupid name like Brex (which actually wasn't as stupid as our first one), banks might want to partner with us because they themselves were fighting their own battles with the Big Four issuers, as well as American Express. So we partnered with a number of banks very early on in a way that most people would think was not possible and was unusual. Ultimately in financial services, brands, particularly with regard to trust and stability, are super important.

    Today, what's exciting is that technology is changing so many industries and creating lots of opportunities, as well as disruption and uncertainty. Finance is a kind of universal language. At Brex, we need to be known for the brand of our risk management because ultimately we're asking both customers and other businesses to trust us with their money--to buy loans from us, to buy deposits from us, to partner with us and give us access to payments networks. To do this, we really need to be known as a high-quality risk management brand.

    • 36 min
    564: Synchrony Steps Beyond the Shadow of its Historic Roots | Brian Wenzel, CFO, Synchrony

    564: Synchrony Steps Beyond the Shadow of its Historic Roots | Brian Wenzel, CFO, Synchrony

    CFOTL: Having splitout from GE- we would imagine there were certain business processes already in place at Synchrony, while others processes had to be reestablished or developed.
    Wenzel: The processes that have been developed are probably the core part of our business. We had to build everything from scratch. Even the processes for things like very mundane benefits in HR, and paying people, and for some of the regulatory reporting–we had to build all that up. But we did take a process from GE that was a very good process in the credit risk world, a very traditional process. You go out and get underwriting scores from credit bureaus, you look at your data, you kind of put a score together, and you say yes or no.
    We have developed this process more and invested so much in it. Now we’re taking multiple data elements into consideration, including what we get from our partners. We have a thing called “engagements” through which we know how “Jack” is engaged with our retail partners before he engages with us, so we have an idea of who you are. We look at our 80 million active cardholders. You’re probably one of our active cardholders. We look at the information there. We have a much better picture. Then we take these other sources of data from different sources so that we can get more information on you. We use technology now to authenticate you. If you’re using your cell phone, we can prepopulate applications down to two different sources.
    We’ve allowed these things to come in so that we know the customer better. We use the combination of data and technology and are then really able to put it into our credit operating model. This was very good under GE, but we have brought it really to a much higher-class standard.
    For us, the next 12 months are really about creating the 2025 vision. What are the tools and technologies that we have to begin building now to be adaptable to the business and how the business is changing? The second thing that we’re trying to do is, again, to have this maniacal focus around customers and in getting value-added jobs out. We’re moving faster when it comes to the artificial intelligence and the robotic process automation that happens more in the controllership or accounting world and driving meaningful projects that will deliver results this year.

    • 52 min
    563: Energizing Your Entrepreneurial Mind-set | Stephen Grist, CFO, Bohemia Interactive Simulations

    563: Energizing Your Entrepreneurial Mind-set | Stephen Grist, CFO, Bohemia Interactive Simulations

    It was back in 2002, Stephen Grist says, when he first punched through a surface of rigid assumptions to grasp the innovative levers that would propel him into the ranks of strategic CFOs.
    At the time, Grist was the CFO of Viatel, a technology company whose management and sales teams were eagerly seeking to reestablish the company’s footing along a growth path after having recently emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    With its bankruptcy in the rearview mirror, the company emerged with an unbridled appetite for growth—but one that was perhaps lacking in long-term vision.
    Says Grist: “The existing business managers were so focused on ‘Take that hill!’ and ‘This is our business, and this is the path that we’re going down!’ They just were not capable of identifying the disruptive risks.”
    Having already logged a string of seven-day weeks to hasten Viatel’s exit from bankruptcy, Grist might have found it easy to applaud the sales team’s mounting tactical wins and provide diligent governance. Instead, he engaged the company’s general counsel, and together they approached a number of bankers in order to “add on” some small Internet businesses that could quickly diversify the types of services that Viatel offered to its small to midsize customers.
    According to Grist, Viatel at the time was struggling with the “The Innovator’s Dilemma”—a phrase referring to disruptive competitors first coined and used as the title of a popular text by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen.
    “You’re so caught up in your vision of the company that you’re not really capable of identifying where those disruptive risks are affecting the company as they come in from different, different directions,” says Grist, who looks back at 2002 as a turning point for both Viatel and his CFO career.
    Moving forward, Grist has entered new CFO roles as a disruptive risk expert tasked with questioning assumptions.
    “Every time I’ve come into a company, it’s been like, ‘Okay, it’s time to do the long-term business plan’—but you’ve got a different view of the world, so you can ask all those questions,” says Grist, who since Viatel has served in a string CFO roles for both founder-led and VC-backed companies.
    Says Grist: “As the CFO, you bring your experience to bear and you identify risks as you build the next year’s budget or the long-term model from really being in a position to question assumptions.” - Jack Sweeney

    • 44 min
    562: A Window Into the Future | Anna Brunelle, CFO, Kinestral Technologies

    562: A Window Into the Future | Anna Brunelle, CFO, Kinestral Technologies

    Asked to reflect on those experiences that she feels prepared her for a finance leadership role, a cash flow statement quickly comes to mind for Anna Brunelle, CFO of Kinestral Technologies.
    Only months into her first industry finance job, Brunelle was tasked with preparing her company’s cash flow statement, and she didn’t like some of what she discovered about the business.
    “I realized that there were a couple of businesses that the company had acquired a few years earlier that had some elements that were kind of dragging down our profitability,” explains Brunelle, who after digging a little deeper and more closely studying the businesses realized that the areas negatively impacting profits frequently involved certain offerings of recently acquired European businesses that offered limited cross-selling potential.
    “Not knowing any better, I went to the CFO and CEO and said, ‘Hey, have we ever thought about transferring some of the elements out of these businesses?,’” recalls Brunelle, who even today as a CFO appears somewhat surprised by her early-career assertiveness.
    She continues: “I say ‘I didn’t know any better’ because I was only two months on the job, and I didn’t know that there was probably more of a process of going through your manager to do this. Instead, I just said, ‘Hey, has anybody thought about this?’”
    According to Brunelle, only days later she was boarding a plane to Europe to help execute on her suggestion and sell off underperforming assets and parts of the business that were perhaps not as profitable as was desired or in line with the company’s future direction.
    “I got on a plane having never traveled to Rome before, not knowing any lawyers or accountants or bankers there. I worked through getting an introduction to a banker to help us package these businesses and find buyers and then getting an introduction to an attorney who could help us with the local Italian law and how to structure the contracts for these transactions,” says Brunelle, who credits the resulting deal-making with helping to distinguish her as an executive “who gets things done.”
    “They were relatively small transactions,” she adds. “I think that one was about a $10 million sale and one was about a $30 million sale. But for me, so early in my career, this was the moment when I realized that finance was the way to open the door to being part of the more exciting strategic business conversations.” –Jack Sweeney
     
    CFOTL: What metrics are top of mind for you these days?
    Brunelle:  We've been selling commercially for about two quarters now out of our factory in Taiwan, so we think carefully about quite a few metrics. Obviously, cash is very important. We have to finance the company through our early-stage growth until we reach a point of profitability, just like every other growth company. This is very important. Because we have a fairly complex business, we have to have a pretty well thought out strategic plan and metrics. By "complex business," I mean that we have the Taiwan factory and we also have research and development teams here who are creating new products as well as innovating on existing products to make them less expensive. We also have a chemistry division that applies what you would think of as the ink that causes our windows to darken; the do the chemical formulations and composition here. We have the software division in Salt Lake City.

    So, we're really running a fairly complex business in which multiple elements have to come together in order for us to be successful. When you think of customer experience metrics, you think of how it's really important for us to be on time. The factory has to be very responsive to customer needs. We have to monitor on-time delivery and make sure that our customers are getting the products that they need to button up their bui

    • 50 min
    561: Identifying the Levers for Efficient Growth | John Evarts, CFO, Mediafly

    561: Identifying the Levers for Efficient Growth | John Evarts, CFO, Mediafly

    Ten years or so ago, the expression “never waste a downturn” became a popular maxim among business leaders who viewed the economy’s downward spiral as an opportunity to trim waste and restructure portions of their businesses. The expression also summed up the mind-set of a unique class of executives who, despite a bleak hiring environment, viewed the period as being potentially transformational for their careers.
    Such was the case with CFO John Evarts, who entered the downturn as a CFO for a not-for-profit and exited as CFO of Mediafly—a small content asset management company that in the coming years would open a new growth chapter by answering the demand for more compelling content in sales enablement.
    “From late 2008 to 2009, there were some challenges inside the not-for-profit sector, so I started looking for an opportunity to broaden myself beyond the not-for-profit realm—I was comfortable in taking that risk and making a bet on myself,” explains Evarts, who had originally transitioned into the not-for-profit sector from the world of investment banking and has also taken on the title of COO during his Mediafly tenure. “When I shifted from the not-for-profit area into ‘start-up land,’ I was fortunate to have this amazing opportunity to play a more strategic role and determine how to deploy resources in a more strategic way.” - Jack Sweeney
     
    CFOTL: Share with us a finance strategic moment of insight?
    Evarts: Our first opportunity for mergers and acquisitions was really what I would say was a watershed moment for me. I had never had the opportunity to pursue an acquisition before, and I needed to figure out for myself what a framework would be in order to determine whether this was a good one or not a good one. It's very different from what's in the textbooks. When you get into the actual practical matter of pursuing an acquisition, you need to be very disciplined in how you look at it, how you think it through. We had to come up with this construct that we call our 100-day plan. When I started thinking about how to make that construct and 100-day plan--what we call "one Mediafly"--it really started driving home the point that culture is critical.

    The reason why we're acquiring this company is so that not only do we get the benefit of the products, but also we get the benefit of the really great people who are on the team. We were able to get this 100-day plan around M&A as a way for us to think about and philosophize about this "one media fly" concept, which is, for example, the way that we look at how to source the capital that is necessary and how to figure out how the people need to work within the organization. So, it's not only how many resources we need in order to acquire this company, but also what does the construct in the comp model look like afterward? What is the expectation of revenue production that's going to come out afterward?

    Then, over time, you get to the point where you're also talking about culture and its impact. What do you think about when more than 50% of the company is outside of the Chicago headquarters? What do you do? How do you think about remote work? So, all of this goes beyond the typical finance conversation. It's really about culture, by the time you get it all the way out. This, for me, was kind of an "A-ha!" moment, once we got to this concept of "one Mediafly."

    • 38 min

Top podcast nella categoria Carriere

Gli ascoltatori si sono iscritti anche a