008: James Tholen, CFO, Broadsoft, on Growth Milestones & the Power of the CFO Voice

How do the financial priorities of a company change when it is taken public?’ CFO Jim Tholen looks back at the 9-month process that is widely recognized as the most rigorous challenge for CFO leadership at large. Join us as Jim shares his ever-changing financial priorities in a leadership role that has stretched across the private and public worlds and opened a new chapter of rapid growth.

Listen to the Episode Below (00:23:57)

Finance Philosophy

  • “To me, the CFO role needs to be more than tactical and not just report the numbers. You want to be viewed not only as a partner across the organization and across the executive team, but also as a partner both internally and externally.”

Key Metrics:

“You’re trying to drive growth and you’re trying to drive profitable growth. Billings growth, or how much we invoice per quarter, is much more a reflection of our selling activity. We really look at what we call ‘lines,’ which are phone extensions in our core hosted business. … In our model, carriers don’t order a lot up front, so we watch the reorder rates to make certain that the business continues to accelerate.”

Mentoring Round:

“To really understand the power of your role as CFO, you have to understand the power of your voice. And you have to be careful with that power, and truly understand that you have insight and an ability to change things. You must stay true to that voice.”

“You want to be able to see the full field of play, whether you are negotiating with a customer or an M&A target, or even helping your organization to refine its business model. I tend to see the whole playing field, unlike those who may be less horizontally focused, and this has helped me because I understand the inner consecutiveness of things.”

“Be thoughtful before you engage. Just being right doesn’t make you more effective. You need to communicate and empower others. You can be 100 percent correct, but you will fail if you don’t communicate things in a way that others can then take and be actionable with.”

Business Book Picks

In Search of Jefferson’s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace (Law and Current Events Masters) By David G. Post

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