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Demystifying the Role of a CFO

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Demystifying the role of a CFO
Kelly Bodnar Battles
Chief Financial Officer

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Overview • My background, beliefs and biases
• The role of a CFO
• What to look for in a CFO
• How a CFO partners across t...

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My
background,
beliefs and
biases
Background
1. The “Keep your options open” years
Engineering Undergrad
JP Morgan Banker
...

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Demystifying the Role of a CFO

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Kelly Bodnar Battles - CFO / Quora at SaaStr Annual 2018

For many startups, figuring out when to bring on a CFO and what to look for in a candidate, is a black box. Quora CFO Kelly Battles will provide an overview of the role and outline how to identify a CFO candidate who can scale with your growth and partner effectively across your organization. Battles will share stories and lessons from her experience as a financial leader at both enterprise and consumer startups.

Kelly Bodnar Battles - CFO / Quora at SaaStr Annual 2018

For many startups, figuring out when to bring on a CFO and what to look for in a candidate, is a black box. Quora CFO Kelly Battles will provide an overview of the role and outline how to identify a CFO candidate who can scale with your growth and partner effectively across your organization. Battles will share stories and lessons from her experience as a financial leader at both enterprise and consumer startups.

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Demystifying the Role of a CFO

  1. 1. Demystifying the role of a CFO Kelly Bodnar Battles Chief Financial Officer
  2. 2. Overview • My background, beliefs and biases • The role of a CFO • What to look for in a CFO • How a CFO partners across the company • What CFOs are looking for • Key takeaways
  3. 3. My background, beliefs and biases Background 1. The “Keep your options open” years Engineering Undergrad JP Morgan Banker MBA McKinsey Management Consultant HP Corporate Development/Strategy 1 – Trained to be a data hound 2 – Importance of rigorous fact-based decision making Beliefs / Biases
  4. 4. Background Background 1. The “Keep your options open” years 2. The “I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up” years – Operational Finance Engineering Undergrad JP Morgan Banker MBA McKinsey Management Consultant HP Corporate Development/Strategy IronPort Systems Cisco Host Analytics Bracket Computing Quora EE #49 EE #198,234 EE #51 EE #32 EE #152 1 – Trained to be a data hound 2 – Importance of rigorous fact-based decision making 1 – Let the data set you free 2 – Finance is in a unique role as “keeper of the data” 3 – The ongoing finance challenge is to evolve and make the most of our role Beliefs / Biases Beliefs / Biases My background, beliefs and biases
  5. 5. The role of a CFO
  6. 6. The evolving role of finance REPORTING Business Results DRIVING Business Results Bean Counter Reactive “2000 and late” Rigid Data Business Partner Pro-active Real-time Flexible Information
  7. 7. The scope of a CFO can vary Finance & Operations Accounting OtherFinance Consol- idation & Close Variance Analysis / Disclose Corp Perf Analysis Budgeting & Forecasting Financial Statement Prep / Disclose Trx Support (Rev, Eq, Payroll, AP, AR, Cost) Decision Modeling & Business Case Analysis Investor Reporting & Relations Investor Reports BoD Debt, Equity and Banking Corp / Bus Dev Allocation Depts – IT, Facilities Other Operations Sales Ops Treasury Audit Tax Legal HR Process & Policy Financial Planning and Analysis
  8. 8. Your CFO should deliver the basics Weekly / Ongoing Monthly Quarterly Annually Operate the business Transactions Dashboards – operational and financial metrics Cohort analysis/ pattern shifts Weekly + Close (Recons, Accruals) Consolidation Financial statements Variance reports Forecast update Monthly + More detailed variance reports and analysis Quarterly + Strategic plan Long range model Budget Audit
  9. 9. What to look for in a CFO
  10. 10. Balance strategic and operational mindsets Operational • Doer • Can run a process and build a team • Grounded in reality Strategic • Thinker, unafraid of complexity • Business partner • Intellectually curious, analytical
  11. 11. Balance looking back with thinking ahead Stretch boldly to the future • Drive better decisions (analytics) • Robust and efficient budget, FC and LRM process • Viewed a business partner Live efficiently in the past • 5-6 day close and disclose • Clear and succinct MRP • Accurate, timely numbers
  12. 12. Balance serving and maintaining oversight Mind of a police officer • Everyone stays out of jail (compliance, clean audits etc) • Confidentiality (EE responsibility) Heart of a customer servant • Enablers versus blockers • Roll up your sleeve, doers • Policy and process only when needed • Transparency (EE right)
  13. 13. Balance frugality with investing for growth Scalability • Don’t get behind the 8-ball (PPT) • Automate where possible • Think like a public company • Effective planning and fundraising Frugality • Watch burn/expenses closely • Business case for every material decision • Execs have understanding of financial situation and team impact
  14. 14. More to consider when hiring a CFO • When to hire a CFO? • MBA versus CPA? • Banking versus operational finance experience? • IPO experience?
  15. 15. How a CFO partners across the company
  16. 16. How a CFO partners across the company What they want from CFO CFO pitfalls Role
  17. 17. How a CFO partners across the company A true business partner Tee up strategic choice points Enable accountability “Let the data set us free” Join them in the future What they want from CFO CFO pitfalls Too stuck in the past Too risk-averse Role CEO
  18. 18. How a CFO partners across the company A true business partner Tee up strategic choice points Enable accountability “Let the data set us free” Join them in the future What they want from CFO CFO pitfalls Too stuck in the past Too risk-averse Heavy process Poor communication Role CEO Other Execs Visibility into the business Low-friction processes; agility Partnership, analytical support Responsiveness
  19. 19. How a CFO partners across the company A true business partner Tee up strategic choice points Enable accountability “Let the data set us free” Join them in the future What they want from CFO CFO pitfalls Too stuck in the past Too risk-averse Heavy process Poor communication Good soldier syndrome Too little time on people development Role CEO Other Execs Finance Team Visibility into the business Low-friction processes; agility Partnership, analytical support Responsiveness Leadership Seat at the table Less time on the rote, more time on the fun stuff To be masters of our own destiny (without spending a fortune)
  20. 20. A true business partner Tee up strategic choice points Enable accountability “Let the data set us free” Join them in the future What they want from CFO CFO pitfalls Too stuck in the past Too risk-averse Heavy process Poor communication Good soldier syndrome Too little time on people development Out of step with CEO Surrenders to group think Role CEO Other Execs Finance Team Board Visibility into the business Low-friction processes; agility Partnership, analytical support Responsiveness Leadership Seat at the table Less time on the rote, more time on the fun stuff To be masters of our own destiny (without spending a fortune) Accuracy Objectivity Communication How a CFO partners across the company
  21. 21. What CFOs are looking for • Team and culture • Market opportunity • Product market fit • Role specifics
  22. 22. Hiring a CFO : 3 Key Takeaways • The role of the CFO is evolving - Expectations are rising on all sides (exec team, finance team, board and CFO) • To find the right CFO - Start with needs of your business and business model - Seek a candidate that strikes the right balance - Interview rigorously with your target profile in mind • Product market fit should drive timing of your hire

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