474: Legacy of a Chief Story Officer | Corinne Hua, CFO, Traction on Demand

Listen to the Episode Below (00:55:00)

A Chief Story Officer’s Legacy

Given that finance executives are the top number-crunchers in the organization, it’s fascinating to hear Traction on Demand CFO Corinne Hua describe people, conversations, and narratives as crucial factors in her strategic calculations at her consulting and software development firm. Hua views her function’s primary role as crafting a compelling story around the company’s financial results. Her team’s success in doing so has resulted in some interesting assignments, such as leading an effort to assess and rebalance the pace of hiring within an industry where new hires—consultants who produce billable hours—help to drive top-line revenue. The finance group’s data-driven detective work produced three metrics that the business now monitors to ensure that the pace of hiring supports revenue growth objectives without negatively affecting organizational collaborations or workplace culture. The work marked a “great moment for us to act strategically” outside of traditional corporate finance boundaries, Hua reports, while helping each hiring manager throughout the entire organization to make better decisions.

Guest: Corinne Hua

Company: Traction On Demand

Headquarters: Burnaby, BC, Canada

Connect: www.tractionondemand.com

Hua: We are actually just in our budgeting cycle right now. We have an April 30th year-end, so we’re just in the process of working toward putting our budget together. One of the things that we’re doing this year that’s a little bit different is that we are tracking more KPIs than ever before in the budgeting cycle.

Much of this is making sure that each department, as they’re putting together the financial numbers that they want to accomplish—costs or profits or just revenue for our sales team, as an example—they’re also looking at what KPIs will let them know that they’re being successful. Giving that appropriate tension within the budgeting cycle I think is a bit of a different mix for me. I haven’t had that focus as strongly before as we do this year.

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I’m excited about it because I’m letting the leaders tell me what the KPIs are that they want to focus on. I’ve been surprised at some of the things that are coming in with regard to the people team. It’s about how many people are being referred from other employees versus people whom we’re going out and finding ourselves or that the recruiting team is finding themselves.

It’s interesting to think of the KPIs that they look at as being important and then thinking about, Well, how can I help to influence that? How can we make sure that your budget is properly structured to help you deliver the KPIs that you want? This has been a unique thing that I’ve really enjoyed being a part of. This is early for us, where we’re putting more focus on it.

It’s kind of cool how systems allow you to do so much more than ever before. The ability to track KPIs and to be able to report on them within your financial system is easier than ever. I love the fact that we can do this and that finance can look more broadly than at just your typical P&L statement and on to other things. I think that’s one of the game-changers that I’m hoping to be able to leverage in the next couple of years, when I’m working with leaders.

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