Made Possible By
There are finance leaders who boast of having always been entrepreneurs in their hearts, who can quickly serve up a story or two about a start-up with which they at one time became involved—and then there’s CFO Marty Meyer.
Of the 10 start-ups where Meyer has served as CFO, six of the companies achieved positive exits—an enviable number, according to start-up pundits. Interestingly, Meyer tells us that the label “operational CFO” is perhaps just as fitting as entrepreneurial CFO when you consider his frequent day-to-day activities as a finance leader.
Asked to reveal the types of decisions that finance leaders often face in start-ups, Meyer asks us to consider the choice between investing in an innovative new software function or investing in a customer onboarding process that could potentially cut implementation times in half. “The implementation process is really the first interaction that we are having with the customer—we want to start that relationship off with a lot of trust and success,” he explains.
Meyer launched his finance career after graduating from Babson College, an institution known for populating industry with entrepreneurial founders and more than a few operational CFOs. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: How do you make certain that metrics matter throughout the organization?
Meyer: I’ve sat down with the VPs on our professional services teams to help them think through defining financial metrics to use to run their part of the business. Creating a P&L for them is a little bit more difficult in the services space, in the SaaS world, because GAAP accounting basically spreads those revenues out over the life of the contract. So you have to kind of take a little bit of a non-GAAP approach to this. But figuring out the billable utilization of the staff hours applies to each of the projects that you’re going to do and what you’ve completed. Figuring out some burden of costs per hour and looking at all of that against the implementation fees that you’re charging and collecting and building out those custom P&Ls really empowers the services team leaders to understand their business.
When’s the right time to request to add additional resources to potentially ramp up in front of new customers? To request changes from the development teams to make implementation more efficient because it’s taking too long to do these projects and we’re actually losing money? Or to tighten up the scope of SOW as we do with customers and use more of a change-order process if the scope creeps? They need to make these changes here versus a lot of places not even thinking about those and really losing efficiency, money, and customers by not thinking about each unit as its own little business. We’ve really been able to empower these leaders to take control of their own element by having something to measure against and to really think through how they’re scaling their business. So for me, those kinds of things—the ability to transform the way that teams think about their success—that, to me, is the game-changer of what a good finance leader can bring to the table.