13 Finance Thought Leaders & Influencers to Follow This Year

March 5, 2024 Theresa Rex

finance leaders in break room

Here at Personiv, we talk to a lot of finance experts. Between the weekly thought leaders we're proud to host on our award-winning finance podcast, CFO Weekly and panelists that join us every quarter for CFO Leadership LIVE to the clients we provide virtual accounting solutions to, we've heard a lot of great insights. Here are the thought leaders we're hooked on this year.

Top FP&A Thought Leaders CFOs Should Follow

In the finance function, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is where the strategic work is done. It's no secret that the role of the CFO is changing, and the move away from manual accounting tasks toward data-driven strategy is a significant part of that. No pivot is seamless, and even when if it were, it helps to have a brain or two to pick. If you're looking for FP&A thought leadership, you can't do better than when you start with these four experts:

Carl Seidman Interim CFO & Financial Director Seidman Financial

Carl Seidman, CPA – Interim CFO & Financial Director, Seidman Financial

Carl Seidman is a lot of things: interim CFO and Financial Director at his eponymous firm, a CPA, a public speaker, a prolific writer, and the holder of multiple certifications that denote his expertise in everything from public accounting and financial forensics to professional speaking.

He puts it much more simply: "An FP&A practitioner and educator." This more succinct description is also the most apt; anyone looking to improve their FP&A skills or strategy can tap his extensive course catalog, expert talks, or professional services to learn from him. When they do, they'll learn from someone who lives and breathes all things FP&A.

Listen to his interview on the CFO Weekly podcast to hear how to "build an FP&A dream team", watch his TED talk, head to the Being Planful podcast for strategies on how to leverage FP&A for growth, or just go ahead and:

Follow Carl Seidman on LinkedIn.

Soufyan Hamid Top Finance Thought Leader on Personiv CFO Weekly

Soufyan Hamid – Founder, SouFBP

Soufyan Hamid's corporate finance resume includes leadership positions at firms like Proximus, Deloitte and PwC, but these days he, like Seidman, works directly with individuals and teams to become to use FP&A as a strategy engine as "financial storytellers". The curriculum he developed — The Financial Storytelling Program — instructs FP&A professionals on transforming raw data into meaningful business narratives that finance teams can use to connect financial reporting to greater business strategy, no matter the audience.

Check out his guest spot on CFO Weekly, or listen to his interview with Roger Knecht of The Universal Accounting School for a taste of Soufyan's thought leadership.

Follow Soufyan Hamid on LinkedIn or X.

Paul Barnhurst Top Finance Thought Leader on Personiv CFO Weekly

Paul Barnhurst – The FP&A Guy

With an extensive background in all things corporate finance, Paul Barnhurst is best known as "The FP&A Guy" — also the name of his FP&A-focused consulting firm. That's largely thanks to how prolific he is as a content creator: he hosts two popular FP&A podcasts, writes instructive blog posts, publishes tutorial videos, and offers interactive tools — like this spreadsheet with KPIs for finance controllers — for FP&A professionals and finance leaders.

Check out Paul's podcasts, FP&A Today and Financial Modeler's Corner. Be sure to catch his webinar, KPIs Every Financial Controller & FP&A Should Master, which we presented in partnership with Beebole and Datarails.

Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn, YouTube, and X.

Top Finance Leaders in SaaS to Keep on Your Radar

Dan Fletcher Top CFO Thought Leader planful

Dan Fletcher – CFO, Planful

The CFO of Planful — a cloud-based financial platform management tool — is no stranger to the SaaS space, where he's a C-suite executive investor and board member specializing in high-growth SaaS companies. That includes a board seat at Gappify, an accrual automation solution for mid-market and enterprise organizations.

It's no secret, then, that he considers technology a crucial tool for high-performing finance functions and their leaders. Plus, as the CFO of a company that makes software designed to enable data-driven decision making, he doesn't pull any punches about how SaaS companies can deliver more value, faster.

Sit in on Dan Fletcher's interview on CFO Weekly, then head to Forbes and CFODive.com to catch more of his thought leadership.

Follow Dan Fletcher on LinkedIn.

Bobby Pinero Top Finance Thought Leader on Personiv CFO Weekly

Bobby Pinero – CEO and Co-Founder, Equals

Intercom alum and CEO and founder of Equals — a supercharged and versatile spreadsheet tool that combines everything finance pros love about a good old-fashioned Excel workbook with advanced features like query management and integration with critical third-party apps, Pinero's finance function roots run deep. He's also a proponent of founder-led content, so he's easy to find online, where he is refreshingly transparent about what it takes to launch and grow a finance and accounting software company.

Listen in on our conversation with Bobby on CFO Weekly, his interview with Software Snack Bites, and his guest spot on The Long Game, then head to his LinkedIn page to read his excellent thought leadership.

Follow Bobby Pinero on LinkedIn and X.

Daniel Yubi CEO payable

Daniel Yubi – CEO, Payable

Though he began his career as a lawyer, Daniel Yubi of Payable has spent over a decade developing fintech products here in the U.S. and abroad. He holds the prestigious Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, a distinction conferred upon only 200 global tech innovators by TechNation in collaboration with the UK Home Office. Yubi's background in product development means he has a lot to say about the relationship between the C-suite and product teams. He frequently shares his insights as an author and speaker on the topic of collaborative relationships between finance, operations, and product teams. He is a fintech and finance as a service (FaaS) subject matter expert.

Listen to Daniel's CFO Weekly interview, where he discusses using embedded finance to open new revenue streams, hear more about his journey as an entrepreneur on The Pursuit of Scrappiness, or watch his recent FinTech Live panel discussion with other leaders in the digital banking space.

Follow Daniel Yubi on LinkedIn or X.

Our Favorite Thought Leaders in Finance – Professional Development & People Management

Stephen Newland Top Finance Thought Leader on Personiv CFO Weekly

Stephen Newland – MoneyPath

When it comes to corporate finance, Stephen Newland of MoneyPath has pretty much seen it all: startups, early-stage companies, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 enterprise organizations in industries that range from construction to biotech. He's seen enough to know that the key to success — whether you hope to grow your company or advance your career — is simplicity and actionability.

Check out his discussion with Personiv's Megan Weis on CFO Weekly about standing out in finance, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Bottom Line, for straightforward finance tips.

Follow Stephen Newland on LinkedIn.

Ilana Esterrich CFO planned parenthood

Ilana Esterrich – CFO, Planned Parenthood

With over three decades of operations and finance experience in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, Planned Parenthood CFO Ilana Esterrich knows how to lead. Recently named to the list of Top Women Finance Leaders for 2024, she's an advisory committee member of the D.C. chapter of the CFO Leadership Council and holds a seat on the North American FP&A Advisory Council at the Association for Financial Professionals. Like many CFOs, she has clocked a growing and rapid shift in the CFO role, the finance function, and the accounting talent landscape, and she's shared her insights for navigating these transformations on multiple podcasts, panel discussions, and seminars.

Listen to her interview with us about talent development and more, then check out this recap of her talk at the 2023 World Finance Forum about leading digital transformation in finance.

Follow Ilana Esterrich on LinkedIn.

Melissa Hurrington Top Finance Thought Leader on Personiv CFO Weekly

Melissa Hurrington – CFO, Premier Claims

If you're a finance leader on LinkedIn you've likely already come across some of Melissa Hurrington's thought leadership, where she's earned flair as a Top Servant Leadership Voice, and if you haven't, you're missing out. She frequently shares down-to-earth and highly relatable content like this post on dealing with imposter syndrome, and this recent object lesson in recognizing teammates for a job well done.

Get to know Melissa better by registering for our upcoming panel in Dallas, where she'll talk about the importance of a lesson well learned or read her profile in Forbes.

Follow Melissa Hurrington on LinkedIn.

Bonus: Our Team's Favorite Financial Thought Leaders & Influencers

Curating a list of influential thought leaders in finance that doesn't hit triple digits is tougher than it looks, especially if you talk to a new one each week like CFO Weekly host Megan Weis has been doing for almost two years. When we were building this one, we asked some of our teammates to tell us who they turned to when they were looking for thought leadership and insights from finance subject matter experts. Here's what they said:

  • Megan Weis — VP & General Manager, FAO Services & Host CFO Weekly: Anders Liu – Lindberg, Partner and Chief Commercial Officer at the Business Partnering Institute
  • Steve Casey — Senior Director, Business Development: Kevin O'Leary, Investor
  • Austin Rain — Business Development Executive: Robert Kiyosaki, Author
  • Mimi Torrington — Marketing Director: Maura Webber Sadovi, Senior Editor, CFODive.com

Learn more about how Personiv, our team, and solutions can help finance leaders tackle their biggest accounting challenges. Be sure to follow CFO Weekly and subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest finance thought leaders, influencers, insights, and expertise from every industry and globally.

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