From NBA to Technology-Enabled Mental Health Care Services

February 2, 2023 Mimi Torrington

technology enabled mental health care services offered to employees in break room

Finance professionals should only focus on profit, budget, and ROI. That's what most of them think. Undoubtedly, a CFO should be good at everything related to numbers. But the role goes beyond that, and the most successful CFOs are the ones who manifest empathy, can build strong finance teams, and take on strategic business decisions. To learn more about the CFO role in a mental health care technology company, we invited Zac Makin.

Zac is an experienced finance manager with a demonstrated history of working in the tech and sports industries. He is the CFO at eLuma, the premier provider of live, online therapy services and software solutions for K-12 and special education. Before eLuma, Zac was the VP of FP&A at Degreed, Senior Director of Finance at Utah Jazz, and Controller at MasteryConnect, Curve Dental Software, BackOps, and Wavelink.

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Welcome back to CFO Weekly where we're talking with financial leaders about how to build efficiency in their team, create time for strategy, and ultimately get results with your host, Megan Wiese. Let's jump right in.

Megan - 00:00:18: Today my guest is Zac Makin, CFO for eLuma. Zac joined eLumahaving 18 years of corporate finance experience with more than five of those years in Ed Tech. Prior to joining eLuma. His experience includes being VP of FP&A at Degreed and Senior Director of Finance at the Utah Jazz. Zac holds an MBA from Utah State University and is a CPA and CMA. Zac enjoys automating processes, establishing relationships of trust, and diving into data to better understand the business. When not working, you'll find Zack spending time with his wife of 18 years and their three children, collecting sports memorabilia, and enjoying nature. Zac, thank you very much for joining me on this episode of CFO Weekly.

Zac - 00:01:18: Excited to be here, Megan. Yeah.

Megan - 00:01:20: I'm looking forward to learning about you and your story today and hearing about your experience as a finance leader. We've got a lot to cover, so let's get started.

Zac - 00:01:29: Sounds awesome, excited.

Megan - 00:01:31: First, let's start with you, your career journey, and how it is that you got to where you are today.

Zac - 00:01:36: All right, well, for me, when I think about common threads in my career journey, there's definitely technology and education where my passions lie.

Megan - 00:01:49: I can see that in your background for sure.

Zac - 00:01:53: Well, that's good. Yeah.

Zac - 00:01:55: And then there's a little side path with Utah Jazz because I'm just a huge Utah Jazz fan. So for me, my career goal or where I want to end up is a little different than most financial leaders in that I want to take all of the knowledge, experience, and wisdom from my experience in the corporate realm and bring it to a college or university as a professor, adjunct professor. I really enjoyed my experience in class with those that had work experience to teach from and so I'm just enjoying all the experience that I have and noting it and ready to eventually teach it a handful of years down the road to students to help them in their journeys.

Megan - 00:02:52: That's awesome.

Zac - 00:02:53: Thanks. But yeah, just a little bit of history on me. I got my Undergrad in Accounting at Utah Valley University. At the time it was called Utah Valley State College. And while I was getting my Degreed, I married my wife Melissa and she had already graduated. She was two years older than me and had skipped a grade in school and so she was further down that path and I just had that natural pressure to be a provider for my family, not just her. And so I got through my undergrad in three years and I had the opportunity right out of getting my undergrad to work for a joint venture with intel and Micron at their semiconductor fab that's here in Lehigh, Utah called I’m Flash. And so I started there as a budget accountant and rolled up budgets, and it was their first time doing a budget as a company. And so it was really exciting for me. Moved my way up to financial analysts while I was there. And while I was there, I took the MBA program through Utah State University on the weekends. So Friday nights and Saturday mornings, I was getting my MBA. And then shortly after getting my MBA, I think it's kind of a natural feeling that people in my shoes would fill, but you want to apply all the learning that you got from your MBA and be able to have a bigger voice in a company and make a bigger impact. And so I desire to work for actually a smaller company and have a wider scope of responsibilities, have a bigger voice in a company. And so I came across a company called Wavelength, which is a mobile device management software company, and it was awesome. Really enjoyed my time there. While I was there, I got my CPA license and I really wanted to apply what I learned from getting my CPA in the role of a controller. And so I was promoted to controller there while I was at Wavelength, we got acquired by a company called LANDESK at the time and now it's called Ivonti, and so played a role in that transaction. And shortly after that happened, I ensured a good smooth process with Avanti. And again, I just really liked the smaller company where I had a wider range of responsibilities and the opportunity. Came across a company called Curve Dental, they're a dental practice management software company.

Zac - 00:05:45: So there I report to the CEO. Did a lot of things, not just finance, but the HR responsibilities and just. Anywhere that I felt like I could help and had a lot of fun and really enjoyed that. And then while I was at Curve Dental, my old boss at Wavelength, he reached out to me and said, hey, I've got a really good opportunity here at Mastery Connect. And Mastery Connect is education and software. And again, my passion is there in the education side and a high-growth company with great technology. And so I took that opportunity at Mastery Connect as a controller there and learned a lot, and had a high impact there. We grew up together and had a great time. And as I mentioned earlier, I'm just a huge Utah Jazz fan. Everybody knows that about me. My closest friends, know that's me. And the opportunity there was a job opening for a controller position at the Utah Jazz. And even though I didn't really have any direct contacts or connections within the Utah Jazz company, I felt like my experience fit the job description very well and I could make a good impact there and learn a lot. So I applied and the stars aligned there had an amazing time with Utah Jazz, and learned a lot it was definitely different than your SaaS company but had a lot of fun. It still felt like a startup in many ways. And we'll probably talk more about Utah Jazz a little bit later on, things.

Megan - 00:07:33: Like that, for sure.

Zac - 00:07:36: Yeah, it was very busy, learned a lot, and loved the people there. I got approached by a company called Degreed, they are a learning experience platform that's SAS based, and they reached out to me about the opportunity. Be a VP of Fp&a for Degreed. And for me, I really love the Fp&a side much more than the accounting side because I just love diving into the numbers, trying to figure out what they mean, not necessarily having to be beholden to gaps in that process, and just really drive value to the people that are in the operations of the company. And so with the greed being a high growth, amazing product, great leadership, and then the opportunity to build the Fp&a function from the ground up, I couldn't say no to that opportunity. So left Utah Jazz, which most of my friends, probably go, I thought you'd be the Jazz for life but your career takes you and pass that you just don't normally anticipate. But I went to Degreed and learned so much there, had a great time building out the Fp&a function. We grew from one to about five people just on the Fp&a team while I was there. And I always knew, even though I wasn't even looking for the next step in my career, I just knew that the next step for me was to be a CFO of a smaller company. And while I was a Degreed, I got approached by Iluma and I just fell in love with the leadership, the mission, the offerings, and the opportunities that Iluma has. And again, it was something I wasn't anticipating leaving at any time soon, but it was a perfect fit for me to be at eLuma. And I'm just really enjoying my time here. So that's a long-winded explanation of where I'm at today. But yeah, that's how I'm here.

Megan - 00:10:00: Yeah, really impressive career so far. And to your point about eventually becoming a professor, I went to Kent State University and got an accounting undergrad, and one of my favorite professors was a partner from Ernst and Young, who was also a professor at Kent State. And she was amazing. She really made an impact. So I applaud you for having that goal.

Zac - 00:10:26: Thank you.

Megan - 00:10:29: And as you mentioned, you're relatively new to eLuma. You've been there in the CFO position now since September 2021. So how are you finding the role?

Zac - 00:10:42: I love it. It's a learning experience for me every day, but I just get excited at the impact that I and my team can make each day. And not only the impact within the company but being so mission-focused on students achieving their potential, there's just great fulfillment that we all feel as we progress and learn together, solve problems together because we know it's benefiting the students in the end. So it's been really great for me, I love the leadership team here. We're all united.

Megan - 00:11:21: That's so important.

Zac - 00:11:23: Yeah, we don't have our own agendas. We're here to help each other out and solve problems. We can confront each other if there's any conflict that needs to be resolved, we all approach it with humility and just an intent to always be better and find the right solution. So I'm really grateful to be here in such a wonderful company, and the team Is just down to earth, ready to do what's needed, and we're making an impact together.

Megan - 00:11:53: So tell us a bit about how your role as CFO differs from your previous role, which was VP of Fp&a.

Zac - 00:12:02: Yeah, for me, the biggest difference is, this isn't negative because it's just expected, but you feel a bigger weight on your shoulders for sure. It's agreed as BP of Fp&a, even though I had a lot of responsibility, it was still a lot of just bouncing ideas off the CFO and collectively kind of coming to solutions. And really it was kind of the CFO at the end of the day making the decision as he's supported by me and other members of the team here at Iluma. I do feel supported by the leadership team, and they're all eager to help me out in making sure we're a financially successful business. But as far as finance-specific or accounting-specific issues to resolve, a lot of that just square on my shoulders and I think a lot of people, they just kind of assume that, hey, there's a CFO here now, so, you know, we're set, we're good. As a company, you know, I think people just kind of take that for granted, whereas you're like, okay, I know you're trusting me and I need to follow through and make sure yeah, they just assume you have all the answers.

Megan - 00:13:32: Yeah.

Zac - 00:13:34: So that's the biggest difference for me. But I've been able to apply so much of what I've learned so far to help Iluma out, and I'm learning everyday on way to improve, ways to be bold, and ways to address issues more directly. That is a requirement for my position, and I'm really enjoying the progress that I feel I'm making and the impact that it has on the company.

Megan - 00:14:10: And I'm just curious, about your previous roles, was there one that you feel prepared you the most to be a CFO? Was it the Controller? Was it the VP of FP&A?

Zac - 00:14:22: That's a great question? For me, I feel like the VP of FP&A at Degreed helped me the most because I feel that Fp&a translates, especially nowadays, more seamlessly than accounting does to a CFO position. Because the CFO is really being asked to add a lot of strategies, a lot of forward vision, and clarity to businesses that probably weren't called upon as much five years ago. And I got to be in a lot of strategic discussions and make input while I was at Degreed. And I just saw how the board and the executive team worked together and how I can make an impact there. And so help me just kind of anticipate what is needed from a CFO while I was at Degreed.

Megan - 00:15:24: And tell us about eLuma and the product.

Zac - 00:15:27: Yeah, so eLuma, we partner with schools and districts that are kindergarten through 12th grade and we provide online therapy services and that includes speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and mental health both on special Ed and general education. So it's a tech enabled service right now where we have our own software that helps to track and manage the therapy being given. And we are soon offering a SaaS solution to schools and districts where whether they have their own clinicians or they use our clinicians, they can use our software to really support the student through the therapy services being given. So it's a really exciting time for us to release. SAS pilots are going out this month and it will be really fully rolled out for the next school year. And then mental health, we all know of the crisis that mental health is right now.

Megan - 00:16:40: I was going to say your business must have just exploded in the last couple of years.

Zac - 00:16:45: Yes, it definitely has, and it's interesting. I just really feel for our educators because they're so strapped for time, they don't have the bandwidth to really figure out the best way to provide mental health services to their students and we're trying to help them understand what could be the best approach. And so we're trying to really define that together as a partnership with the educators on the best mental health offering for general education and special education. But yeah, the demand for our services has definitely exploded and we're continuing to enhance our offerings and provide the right level of mental health that they need.

Megan - 00:17:47: So do schools come to you or do you partner with districts? How does it work?

Zac - 00:17:53: Yeah, it's both. Our primary customer is in the public education space, but it's usually districts that we contract with. And then we have a network of about 400 clinicians in various disciplines that we contract with to provide those services. And so the clinician that will use our internally developed software will provide those tele therapy services and then we build the school in the district for those services.

Megan - 00:18:29: And speaking of explosive growth, so you recently made it onto the list of inc magazines, 5000 Fastest Growing companies. So talk to us about that. How did that feel?

Zac - 00:18:41: It feels good. I think everybody wants to be part of a winning team and we have a winning culture here and we don't rest on our laurels here. I think success feeds future appetite for more success. We love it, we'll celebrate, but we're just like, let's keep putting the pedal to the metal and really figure out the best offering for these students. Let's get SAS going. And I really, honestly feel we'll be on that list for quite a while because of the opportunity in front of us and the demand for it.

Megan - 00:19:34: And I'm curious, how do you deal with being in a high growth company in today's talent market? Where do you go to find talent? How do you attract it, and how do you retain it?

Zac - 00:19:48: That is a great question. We operate in what we call a two-sided marketplace, because not only are our customers, our schools and districts, but they are also our clinicians. We want to make sure that both are happy and that we are providing the service that the clinician and the school are signing up for. And it requires a lot of coordination and communication between many different groups. So we have a talent acquisition team here at Iluma, and they are amazing. They're constantly reaching out to get ahead of the demand by our schools and districts for those services to make sure that we have the right person at the right time, providing the right level of services when we need it. And that requires us to be very good at forecasting and coordinating with each other to make sure that we can grow at the rate that we need to meet this demand. So it's intense, but it's fun. I wouldn't want it any other way. It requires having an up to date financial model where assumptions are being refreshed and challenged every day, and each day, we're gleaning new information that will help us operate the business more effectively and more efficiently. And all of this translates to growing it the way we need to and doing it in a way that's in a successful business environment financially.

Megan - 00:21:45: And talk to us about your role, or in general, a CFO's role in contributing to company culture and its values. It used to be that the CFO was just the numbers guy, but as you said, that's not the case anymore.

Zac - 00:21:59: Yeah, well, definitely. In the interview process, I could tell that the leadership team, they were very honed in on making sure that they hired someone that would only enhance the values-driven company that Iluma is. And so many of the questions that were asked, to me, weren't really numbers related. They were, what values do I live by, and how does that translate to eLuma? They could tell that was a numbers guy just by my experience. But I love that I feel like being a numbers guy in the corner really adds no value and can actually hurt the culture at a company. Because it could be that I'm part of a silo or it makes it look like we're part of a silo. But I see myself as a business partner for every employee at the company, and I have a certain lens to things that can help them do their job in a better way. So I have to approach my work with empathy. Even though I have a lot of deadlines, my team has a lot of deadlines and deliverables that need to be met. I need to also really understand what each team has dealt with, what they're trying to accomplish, and how can I help them achieve what they need to. Because all these things, as we partner together, they eventually translate into a financial benefit to the company. So I just try to be as available as I can, try to listen as intently as I can, and be aware of opportunities to help wherever they may be.

Megan - 00:23:51: And speaking of business partnering, what advice do you have for CFOs to ensure that they have a seat at the table in defining a company strategy?

Zac - 00:24:03: Yeah, I think first you need to be an approachable person. There's been a CFO that I know of that people are just totally afraid of, and they don't want to bring issues to them. They don't want to feel like they're getting into trouble. They might be hard to work with. And I don't want to be that person. I want to be someone that people feel comfortable with bringing up any issue that may happen, knowing that I'm going to focus on, what did we learn from it, and how can we be better? Rather than trying to point fingers at any particular person as to why something went wrong. I think an important part is when looking at things through a financial lens, that I not only look at the cost or the expense of something but really try to understand the value, the return on the investment that will come to play and really balance that out. It could be really easy for me to say, hey, that's not in the budget. When someone comes to me with something that needs to be spent on and say no. Or I could approach it as, tell me more about why you need this, and help me understand how this is going to benefit us and even hold them accountable for it. You told me that it's going to be this benefit to the company, and so we're going to track that. Let's track it and make sure that it's providing the benefit we need. So definitely being open, but also challenging in a way that isn't just for financial benefit, but for the growth of the company through value.

Megan - 00:26:01: Great answer. So you were VP of FP&A at Degreed during the Pandemic. So what did you learn as a finance leader during that time? I think that's the first time in my career, at least, where I think a lot of people realize you just can't plan for everything.

Zac - 00:26:18: Oh, man, it was an experience. I learned a lot through that. But a little background for us, we have a Degreed, and we have quarterly board meetings, but our big annual business plan meeting was in March of 2020 where we would approve the annual budget. And there were months of work that went into that board meeting making sure that we are all aligned on the assumptions that we were focusing on the right areas. And how did that translate into the financial forecast for multiple years? And we put so much work and coordination into that. And it was the week of the board meeting that Rudy Gobert, he's the player on the Jazz that got COVID during the basketball game, and then that's when everything just, like, shut down almost overnight. Right? Yeah. We were all excited before that what timing that was. Yeah.

Megan - 00:27:41: Burned it

Zac - 00:27:43: All that work was kind of thrown out the window because nobody really knew. This had never happened before, at least in my lifetime. And so what do we do now? What are the various ranges of the impact that this could have on our business? And it was almost a daily scenario planning exercise as we learned new things about the impact of growth, good and bad. We were scenario planning, and it required us to be much more proactive in communicating with the board. It wasn't just like a once a month check-in. It was a weekly check-in. And just to make sure that we were really driving the right way and we had great leadership at Degreed that they would push on every assumption to make sure that we're looking at things the right way. It really helped us solidify our financial model because it really got pressure tested.

Zac - 00:28:57: In many different ways, and it really taught me, one, to have a financial model that is nimble, yet pressure tested to make sure that if these assumptions are true, that this is really how the business will turn out. I learned a lot of perseverance, as everybody else did during that time, like, hey, these times are hard. It might seem frustrating because nothing seems like it's a set thing in life, but you just keep pushing forward and learning along the way. But, yeah, it was a great experience and really helped me in my career path to understand what it takes to provide visibility to a company when they really need it.

Megan - 00:29:53: And talk to us about your time at Utah Jazz. I imagine a lot of people out there think that working for an NBA team must be a pretty sexy job.

Zac - 00:30:05: Yeah, in some ways it is. A lot of the questions are, like, do you hang out with the players? I'm like, no. I mean, I got to meet them a handful of times, but you want to make sure that they're focused on basketball and not hanging out with a finance guy. But it was fun. The Utah Jazz at the time was owned by the Miller Management Group, and they own various entities that supported sports and entertainment. So not only was I the controller for the Utah Jazz, but I was also the controller for the development team. Which is the Salt Lake City Stars, a sports radio station, and then also a cycling event where cyclists come from all over the world to compete in the Tour of Utah. Those were all different entities owned by the Miller Group. And I was the controller to make sure that we were doing everything correctly financially for those companies. So it was a great experience for me. Some thing that is unique about working for an NBA team is I manage three audits every year. Typically you only go through one audit a year, but that's bad enough. Yeah, but in an NBA team, they go through a Players association audit to make sure that you're reporting on the revenue correctly because the players get a share of that revenue. The NBA has its own audit that they go through every year to make sure the revenue sharing amongst the teams is correct and reported in the right way. And then the Miller Management Group, they have its own audit with the Big Four firm. So really, nine months out of the year, I was under an audit. And so that's not very sexy in of itself, but something that's necessary. So it was a lot of fun though, even in that time I mentioned that it felt very much like a start-up. While I was there, I got some great opportunities. One of them was to help start our Jazz gaming team, which I had no idea was even out there. But a gaming team is where you have professional video game players that play NBA 2K. Wow. And they're really good. And NBA started a gaming association where you have these players, you actually draft them, bring them to Utah, house them just like they are an NBA player, and they train in a gaming facility, and then they go out to these tournaments. So I got to be part of that, from logo design to actually being in the draft room to draft those players. And that was very different and a lot of fun. And another cool experience is while we were there, I was asked to be on a committee to give the bid to be the All-Star host. And that's actually happening this season, where Utah is going to be the host of the NBA All-Star Game. And in that part, it took a lot of reviewing what the contract to be a host would be coordinating with the whole of Salt Lake City to make sure that we could host it and have the right infrastructure for it, and translating all of that into a financial projection on how it would impact not only the Jazz but the community. So that was a lot of fun for me. And there were just many opportunities like that along the way that really were sexy things. They were a lot of fun.

Megan - 00:34:28: It sounds like a fun job to have had. So you're both a CPA and a CMA, so talk to us about how those two credentials helped you on your path to becoming a CFO. And was one of them better than the other?

Zac - 00:34:47: Yeah, my view is probably different than a lot. For me, the CPA was like it was a requirement. It was kind of like a gate that needed to be gone through in order to progress, especially in financial leadership. In a lot of even startup companies, the CEO and COO, probably don't really know what a CPA means versus a non-CPA, but they just know that most companies ask for a CPA. It's usually part of a job requirement that you are a CPA. I'm not downplaying it. I did learn a lot through the CPA, but where my passion lies is not really in debits and credits and taxes and all of that. It's really how can I provide insight into the operations that really inform good decision-making. And I felt the CMA actually helped me more in that regard. And so I enjoyed the process of the CMA much more, and it was really something that I just really wanted to do to learn what the CMA exam would teach me compared to the CPA, where it's something was more required of me in order to continue on that CFO path. Both were very beneficial for me. CPA is probably more beneficial just from my career growth standpoint. The CMA was much more enjoyable for me.

Megan - 00:36:31: That's really interesting. And last question. As a finance professional, what is one or maybe two of the biggest challenges that you and your team are facing as we head into 2023?

Zac - 00:36:46: I'm feeling for all financial professionals right now just because there's just so much going on.

Megan - 00:36:53: The pandemic might be mostly over, but the tumultuous times are not.

Zac - 00:36:58: Oh, yeah. So I have a lot of friends that are CFOs and they're like, I don't know what to think. And so there's definitely like a macro feel on things that I wouldn't say. It keeps me up at night, but I'm just constantly trying to figure out if I'm helping eLuma be at the most secure place that it can be to navigate in case there are some great headwinds that we face. But what keeps me up at night? I really do a lot of introspective assessment of, hey, am I being the right business partner to not only my boss, the CEO but the other part of the executive leadership, to the other employees, and also to our board? Am I providing them with the right intel, the right suggestion that is directing eLuma in the right path? That's something that's just always on my mind. And so I'm always kind of reflecting on the day and going, oh, I could have provided this insight here, or I could have been more bold in my feeling towards how this is performing, and then I try to improve on the next day. Another thing is, I always try to assess if. There's an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed, whether it's financially or just like, I don't know, non financial, and making sure that me, not as just a finance person, but as a leader and a steward of this company, am I making sure that those things are being addressed also? I usually lean on more the side of transparency, still being aware of not being over transparent, but I feel there's great value to all employees to really understand how the business is doing and what they can do to help make it better. And so I'm always trying to figure out how can we be more transparent so that everybody is on the same, they know where we're at, and we can all work together to drive success rather than just a few individuals in the leadership team.

Megan - 00:39:24: Yeah, I think employees really appreciate that transparency, too.

Zac - 00:39:29: Yeah, for sure.

Megan - 00:39:30: Zach, thank you so much for being my guest today. You sound like a wonderful leader and a great CFO.

Zac - 00:39:36: Hey, thanks, Meagan. This was fun. Yeah.

Megan - 00:39:38: I appreciate you taking the time to be here with us today, and I wish you all the best, as well as I, eLuma, and to all of our listeners, please tune in next week, and until then, take care.

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • The CFO versus VP of FP&A role

  • Tech-enabled services for mental health

  • Navigating turbulent times as a finance professional

  • The role of a modern CFO

  • How does the CFO role contribute to a company's culture and values?

  • How can CFOs ensure that they contribute to defining a company's strategy?

Key Takeaways

CFO Versus VP of FP&A

Zac became the CFO of eLuma in September 2021, where he is responsible for making decisions that have a bigger weight on his shoulders than in his previous VP of FP&A role, but which prepared him the most to be a CFO due to its involvement in strategic discussions and anticipating what is needed from a CFO.

“I do feel supported by the leadership team, and they're all eager to help me out in making sure we're a financially successful business. But as far as finance-specific or accounting-specific issues to resolve, a lot of that's just square on my shoulders,” Makin said. - 11:53 - 15:23

Supporting Student With Online Therapy Services

eLuma's tech-enabled service provides online therapy services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, and mental health for kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. eLuma has a network of about 400 clinicians in various disciplines it contracts with to provide those services, and the company's primary customer is in the public education space.

“We're trying to define that together as a partnership with the educators on the best mental health offering that's for general education and special education,” Makin said. - 15:23 - 18:29

Mental Health Care Technology Business Featured in Inc. Magazine's 5000 Fastest Growing Companies

Quote fastest growing mental health care technology company

Recently, eLuma made it onto the list of Inc. Magazines' 5,000 fastest-growing companies, an important achievement for the company and its people who want to be a part of a winning team and culture. However, eLuma doesn't take it for granted, and it is working hard to figure out the best offering for students.

“Success feeds the future appetite for more success,” Makin said. - 18:30 - 19:34

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Quote Zac Makin CFO at eLuma

eLuma operates in a two-sided marketplace because its customers are schools, districts, and clinicians, ensuring that both are happy and that it provides the service that the clinicians and the schools are signing up for. eLuma has a talent acquisition team that constantly reaches out to get ahead of the demand by its schools and districts for those services to ensure that it has the right person at the right time, providing the right level of services when the company needs them.

“It's intense, but it's fun. I wouldn't want it any other way. It requires having an up-to-date financial model where assumptions are being refreshed and challenged every day, and each day we're gleaning new information that will help us operate the business more effectively and more efficiently,” Makin said. - 19:35 - 21:45

Beyond Numbers in Mental Health Care Technology Company

Quote numbers for mental health technology

Zac sees a CFO as a business partner for every employee, with a special lens on things that can help them do their job better. A CFO has to approach work with empathy and understand what each team is dealing with, what they're trying to accomplish, and how you can help them.

“I feel like being a numbers guy in the corner adds no value and can hurt the culture of a company,” Makin said. - 21:45 - 23:52

The Portrait of a Great CFO

You need to be an approachable person that people feel comfortable with to bring up any issue that may happen. An important part is when looking at things through a financial lens, don't look only at the cost or the expense of something but try to understand the value or the return on the investment that will come to play and balance that out.

“Be open but also challenging in a way that isn't just for finance's benefit but for the growth of the company through value,” Makin said. - 23:52 - 26:01

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