042: Building a Strategic Finance Function, Brad Dickerson, CFO, Under Armour, Inc.

How did finance help a $600 million sports apparel upstart grow into a $3 billion high-growth firm? Join us as Brad explores the steps he took to embed a finance team of more than 30 members across the firm’s varied business units to help the company look into the future and drive growth.

Listen to the Episode Below (00:28:08)

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On Embedding Finance Talent

“The allocation of resources is one of the biggest challenges a CFO will face. … To me, it was really important to be successful at embedding finance talent across the organization because to some degree it became a self-funding mechanism. Instead of trying to fight the business by saying ‘I need to hire more financial people for us to run the business,’ it was really the other way around, where the business started coming to me and saying, ‘We would love to pay for more resources … we see the value in it … and these are very valued business partners.’”

Extending its View Forward

“By the time we entered 2013, it kind of all came together. We had a very clean business structure in terms of how we operated and talked about our business. Second, we had developed a core strategic planning team — albeit a small team — that really looked beyond the numbers and beyond the current year to where we’re heading long-term, and what the vision was, and what some of the things that we needed to work on were.”

Mentoring Round

“Be patient. Put the time and energy into developing your skillset so that when you do become a CFO, you’re ready for it. Too often today, I think, people want to jump that learning curve a little bit, and they are very focused on taking on as much responsibility as possible. I’ve seen too many examples of people who have moved up the learning curve too quickly, and they didn’t appreciate the time required to develop and learn. Unfortunately, the curve flattened out for them because they didn’t invest the time and energy into learning and developing.”

Book Pick

The World is Flat By Thomas Friedman

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