Is being a future-minded CFO the same in a publicly traded company vs. a private one? Well, not really. Though CFOs need to understand a set of basic financial principles and knowledge and even fulfill operational roles, there are some specific differences in each industry.
Today, Michael Keogh, Chief Financial Officer at Bright Machines, an industry-leading technology company, shares some of his best pieces of advice for CFOs that intend to shift toward technology and publicly-traded companies.
In this episode, we discuss how to identify non-scalable processes, how CFOs can prepare to transition to a publicly-traded company, and what CFOs need to know about technology companies before joining them, among other topics.
Learning by Doing
Looking back at his career, Michael recalls some of the major turning points that helped him learn valuable lessons. The first was to go for the roles you think you can add the most value in. The second was deciding to leave a company to find new challenges.
“After going in and out several times to new companies, I think it's valuable learning to grow new networks and adapt to different company cultures”
Identifying Non-Scalable Processes in a Publicly-Traded Company
When a company is growing fast, some things start to break down. To manage these factors and minimize their impact, prioritize a list of what your company measures and set up a minimum standard for each element. Decide on the timing of realizing a goal, and be open to adjusting things that are not working.
“I think it's an iterative process, not check the box and you're done. In an organization like finance, it continues to evolve.”
How CFOs Can Prepare to Transition to a Publicly-Traded Company
Firstly, create and expand a reliable network of mentors and peers. Secondly, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and build a team with people that can fill in those gaps for you.
“I think it's one of those experiences that all the preparation will only get you to a certain point of readiness, and some of it is living through it”
What CFOs Need to Know About Technology Companies
Working in a technology business, CFOs need to understand the product technically that they deal with and its competitive advantage.
“Understanding the product at the technical level, as well as the business partners that you're working with, will be your top measurements of success”