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623: When an Opportunity Rises to Meet You | Sinohe Terrero, CFO, Envoy

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 08/09/2020

635: Finding Your  Finance Team's North Star | Markus Harder, CFO, Contentful show art 635: Finding Your Finance Team's North Star | Markus Harder, CFO, Contentful

CFO Thought Leader

Harder: We're in the fortunate, but also tricky situation that historically we've doubled or more than doubled revenue over basically every year of our history. And that brings challenges toward pipeline generation. Because if you want to double the revenue again, you need to have a massively bigger pipeline. So we are doing more with existing customers. Our existing customers have certain requirements that today we can't fulfill. So how do we get them to be successful in all those things they want to do? We have just relaunched our partner program.  So oftentimes Contentful gets...

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634: Milestones for M&A Success  | Steve Young, CFO, Duke Energy show art 634: Milestones for M&A Success | Steve Young, CFO, Duke Energy

CFO Thought Leader

It was a little over 40 years ago when Steve Young first joined what would become Duke Energy, the giant electric power holding company headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Not only has it been a long tenure, but also it is the only post-college job that I’ve ever had,” says Young, who first roamed the energy giant’s corridors as a finance assistant. In the years that followed, Young says, he became involved in various finance-related projects as different executives sought him out because he had become recognized as a hard worker. One such senior executive, who sat inside...

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633:  Marching to Fintech's New Beat | Matt Briers, CFO, TransferWise show art 633: Marching to Fintech's New Beat | Matt Briers, CFO, TransferWise

CFO Thought Leader

Among the more transformative chapters of Matt Briers’s finance career was his 3-year stint monitoring and forecasting margin performance inside Google’s UK operations. “The core role was really to understand what was happening in the organization from a revenue and margin performance perspective and then help to operate the organization so that it could better drive that revenue,” explains Briers, who says that his responsibilities included an unyielding effort to expose new drivers of Google revenue “even down to keyword searches.” “My role was to provide a hotline back to...

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632: Exposing the Connection Between Financial and Operational Data | Jacqueline Purcell, CFO, Deputy show art 632: Exposing the Connection Between Financial and Operational Data | Jacqueline Purcell, CFO, Deputy

CFO Thought Leader

Jacqueline Purcell’s path to the CFO office began inside an Australian law firm where as a young attorney she was advising corporate clients and their bankers on how to best address some of the legal hurdles that their M&A deal-making might confront. At the time, her routine collaboration with different banking executives gave her a point of comparison to the seemingly less energetic legal world. “They seemed to be having a little more fun and a lot more impact on the outcomes,” she recalls. “This is what sparked my interest in moving into finance,” continues Purcell, who was...

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631:  Explaining the Business Reason Behind the Number | Steven Springsteel, CFO, betterworks show art 631: Explaining the Business Reason Behind the Number | Steven Springsteel, CFO, betterworks

CFO Thought Leader

Back in the early 1990s, Steven Springsteel nabbed an interview for a CFO role with a high-flying tech start-up. At the time, he was controller for Apple’s worldwide manufacturing operations, but the buzz surrounding the brash start-up intrigued him, and the young but accomplished executive shortly found himself waiting to be interviewed by the firm’s CEO. According to Springsteel, his interview aspirations quickly became somewhat tempered as he sat listening to a stream of expletives originating from the CEO’s office.  Within minutes, the CEO’s door swung open and several...

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630: Building the Business Case | Bennett Thiemann, CFO, Applicaster show art 630: Building the Business Case | Bennett Thiemann, CFO, Applicaster

CFO Thought Leader

It was the type of role that any recent business school graduate could envy—not because of the position’s title (Chief of Staff) or how much it paid, but because of its proximity to management decision-making. The job is one that Bennett Theimann remembers well as he looks back on the days when he served as chief of staff for the president of Gruner + Jahr’s German magazine division. “It exposed me to that sort of very-high-level strategic thinking. We launched magazines, we sold magazines, we bought magazines,” says Theimann, who very often found himself finalizing some of the...

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629: Freshly Ripens On The Vine |  Matt Hagel, CFO, Freshly show art 629: Freshly Ripens On The Vine | Matt Hagel, CFO, Freshly

CFO Thought Leader

It’s a story that Matt Hagel likes to share as he networks with fellow finance executives and accounting types. Back in 2017—only days after stepping into a finance leadership role at the online prepared meals company Freshly—Hagel was reviewing the company’s chart of accounts when he asked himself: “Why is Plant, Property, and Equipment (PPE) under Operating Expenses?” As he soon learned, this stalwart accounting acronym has long led a double life and is also used by various industries (notably healthcare and food prep) as a shorthand designation for Personal Protective Equipment....

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628: Allocating Resources to Achieve the Right Outcomes | Inder Singh, CFO, Arm show art 628: Allocating Resources to Achieve the Right Outcomes | Inder Singh, CFO, Arm

CFO Thought Leader

Inder Singh started off his professional life as an engineer, only to learn that the large engineering projects that he aspired to someday lead often faced as many financial obstacles as they did engineering challenges. So, Singh says, he went back to school and earned an MBA in finance, allowing him to redirect his career down a path populated with unique and imaginative financing deals to support engineering feats as well as business transformations. One of the more innovative financing projects that Singh has helped to champion came along in the 1990s, when he was working as a business...

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627: Learning the Lyrics to a Finance Career | Mark Sargent, CFO, Westhaven Power show art 627: Learning the Lyrics to a Finance Career | Mark Sargent, CFO, Westhaven Power

CFO Thought Leader

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626: The Path to Greater Profits  | Jason Peterson, CFO, EPAM Systems, Inc. show art 626: The Path to Greater Profits | Jason Peterson, CFO, EPAM Systems, Inc.

CFO Thought Leader

CFOTL: You first arrived at EPAM in 2017, can you tell us what was top of mind as you entered the office? What were some of your early priorities?  Peterson: I joined a company that was growing rapidly, that's got pretty solid profitability in it, a pretty capable finance organization. You kind of look under the hood, I guess, and what you're trying to do is make improvements without breaking anything. One of the things that happened is, the company had grown really quickly. And I think over a period of time sometimes you'll under invest in certain functions and I think that was probably...

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When Envoy CFO Sinohe Terrero is asked about his career chapter at Etsy, the online marketplace founded in 2005 and headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, he begins by explaining how back in 2008 Etsy’s finance function was really just a loose grouping of tools and people.

“I'll never forget that I once had to go meet the bookkeeper, and he was like in Coney Island,” explains Terrero, who says that the financial mind-set at Etsy during its early days was that data trumps accounting—or, to put it another way, that data was strategic to the business and therefore should be kept in-house, whereas accounting could be outsourced to Coney Island or wherever.

“Etsy was a marketplace, so the transactions occurred in big volumes, but we didn't send invoices. We didn't really have AR. Everything is paid by credit card on the Web,” points out Terrero, who quickly became tasked with establishing more traditional processes in preparation for bringing the accounting function back in-house.

“Because of the nature of Etsy’s business, the accounting function initially really didn't have to grow as much as the data function,” says Terrero, who notes that even as Etsy’s finance department evolved into a full-capacity function, the data mind-set still loomed large.

Says Terrero: “Understanding the transactions of the business on the data side was the primary responsibility.”

Later, Terrero recalls, it was his focus on data and the growing volume of Etsy transactions that led him to back a strategy that not everyone was convinced was a good idea.

According to Terrero, there was debate inside Etsy over whether the company should be charging fees on payments received by sellers inside the marketplace. At the time, certain Etsy executives believed that the firm’s mission should simply be to enable the sellers to sell more, which would then result in more transactions.

“We argued that the fees could be a revenue source and that, given the volumes we were seeing, the strategy could be game-changing for the company over the long term,” remarks Terrero, who says that he was joined by a number of influential Etsy executives on the winning side of this debate.

Says Terrero: “When you look at the percentage of revenue that these fees now represent for Etsy, you see that they’re actually pretty sizable.” - Jack Sweeney  Sign Up for our Newsletter