578: The Awesome Power of FP&A | Jason Child, CFO, Splunk

Listen to the Episode Below (00:53:32)

Less than a year after his arrival at Splunk—a fast-growing, San Francisco–based software developer—CFO Jason Child appears to have been fully repatriated to his native land.

To be clear: The “land” to which we refer is not the code-crunching zone of software development but the turf of business growth and scale—a locale in which Child resided for more than a decade while serving in multiple finance leadership roles at Amazon.

Child first joined that company in 1999 as a corporate controller before being reassigned to the firm’s FP&A function. During his 12 years at Amazon, the online retailer grew into a colossus, with annual revenue jumping from roughly $1 billion in 1999 to $50 billion in 2011, the year following his departure.

Since his stint at Amazon, Child has occupied the CFO office at multiple companies, including Groupon, where, less than a year after his arrival, the company would raise $700 million in an initial public offering—the second-biggest tech IPO in history at the time, behind only Google’s.

Still, as Child points out for us, he had yet to nab a CFO position inside the more traditional software development realm, where his “growth and scale” credentials appear to always be in high demand.

At Splunk, where sales grew 38% year-over-year in 2019, Child appears to have found a software match. – Jack Sweeney

To Learn More About CFO Jason Child: Read My Post on Forbes.com:

How Free Shipping Greased Amazon’s Flywheel

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Guest: Jason Child

Company: Splunk

Year Founded: 2003

Revenue Growth Rate (1YR): 37.4%

Revenue Growth Rate (3YR CAGR): 39.15%

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Connect: www.splunk.com

CFOTL: What was the business opportunity that brought you to Splunk?

Child: When I found out that the Splunk job was open, I jumped at the chance just because I had seen that Splunk really has a chance to be one of the next generational software providers and that it just has a really unique approach to managing the largest datasets. In the software business, we don’t have COOs. There’s typically a TRO, which we have, and a president of sales. We’ve got the technology and engineering organizations, of course. My team is trying to really build up the business operations and the transformation teams. I’m taking on those teams, which is a recent decision that we’ve made.

I want to see the finance function become the team that really helps to drive our operational cadence and our progress because this company is growing. Our ARR growth is over 50%—we’re at $1.44 billion. We have pretty high growth and already pretty large numbers, so it’s all about getting the operational cadence, getting the dashboarding and the weekly business reviews and all of the right operational reviews in place to make sure that all of the right info is in place. Things are breaking every day somewhere, and being able to identify as early as possible where things are breaking and where resources and attention are necessary is critical to being able to fulfill our growth objectives. That’s on top of the normal things, like being tied to controllership, having great transparency with investors, and having an efficient and timely close process.

We have all of these kinds of table stakes, but the goal is really to help the finance organization to have a front seat at what I call the truth-seeking table. We just want to tell it like it is. We want to provide metrics that tell what is happening in the business, not what we want to have happen, so we have to partner with every part of the business to do this. This is our focus for this year. We’re off to a good start, but we have a lot of work to do.