Shane Hansen says that his business career often reminds him of the Choose Your Own Adventure children’s book series, in which the reader assumes different roles relevant to each new adventure.
Hansen’s latest adventure began last April when he stepped into the CFO office at applications developer Planful just as shelter-in-place orders were being issued across the country in response to the fast-moving pandemic.Read More
Interestingly, the backdrop of a looming crisis can be found in multiple Hansen career chapters. Turn back the clock 12 years, and you see Hansen working in New York as the financial crisis raged and banks began to collapse. Go back more than 20 years, and you’ll find him working in central Russia as the Russian debt crisis unfolded.
There was even a stint as a micro enterprise consultant in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
“Initially, I was pretty intent on saving the world,” says Hansen, poking fun at himself as he shares the tale of a poor Bolivian shoemaker who turned his $100-a-month business into an $800-a-month one.
“This made just a fantastic impact on him and his family,” explains Hansen, who notes that the cobbler was one of 10 small businesses to which Hansen’s team of consultants tried to teach the virtues of abiding by some simple business principles. “We introduced them to a few basic precepts like ‘Don’t eat up your inventory’ and ‘Don’t spend more than you make,’” comments Hansen, who adds that he now expects to put similar principles to work at Planful. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Having only stepped in to the CFO office in April, what is the vision you have for the role of CFO?
Hansen: I’m really keen on having Planful be a world class FP&A organization and definitely be one of the best users of the Planful platform. I think that’s important for us as an organization to eat our own cooking so to speak. On the second initiative of covering the basics, particularly in times like these where there’s high level of uncertainty, we need to be able to iterate on company plans and department plans. We need to be able to adjust budgets and investments and offer forecasts that illuminate some of the potential paths forward. So I’m talking about basic competencies here like a direct method cashflow forecast that we really don’t want to mess up. So that’s what I meant by make sure we’re proficient in covering the basics.Read More
And then finally accelerating growth. I really want to begin with our end in mind and work backwards from there to uncover the activities that are critical for us to do over the next couple quarters. And maybe if I gave an example there, what actions would we need to consider to improve our customer life cycle or our customer experience that will ensure our customers are getting the optimal value from our platform so that we have low customer churn and a very strong platform to grow from.
…I believe part of the job of being a finance leader is to elevate the financial IQ of the entire organization. And I think we’re seeing the role of the CFO in particular and the finance organization at large expand and change to meet that challenge. And I think that the old style perception of finance as a service desk is going away and transitioning more towards a strategic advisor role for the entire organization. And so the ability to have business users in marketing, and in all corners of the business have access to their budgets, to their plans, to the information they need to make their decisions and be a part of the elevation, we’ve seen that pay dividends.
Planful www.planful.com HQ: Redwood City, CA