As Christian Geyer sees it, the path to the CFO office can begin just about anywhere.
For him, anywhere happened to be the accounts payable department of a DC-area construction company. Having built numerous government facilities across the region, the company hired Geyer—along with three other “payables specialists”—to manage the process of paying for the expansive list of building materials that the company was constantly acquiring to use in the construction of its buildings.Read More
“I knew that if I stayed in step with the department’s typical rhythm, I would never go anywhere,” explains Geyer, who reports that shortly after his arrival, he converted what had been a 40-hours-a-week job into a 60 to 80 hours one.
“I looked at the purchase order process as well as the payment approval process, and I tried to whittle these down to figure out where the bottlenecks were in order to make us more efficient,” recalls Geyer, who quickly began eliminating snags within the process while at the same time introducing new approaches that ultimately cut the number of required man-hours per week from 160 to 10.
According to Geyer, the newly streamlined A/P processes helped to save the company $300,000 annually.
Still, what did he get out of it?
“This allowed me to free up my time and focus it elsewhere,” remembers Geyer, who adds that he soon became involved with the company’s accounts receivable and payroll processes, as well as its general ledger and audit support.
Says Geyer: “Too often you see people settling into a job and doing the same mundane thing day in and day out. You have to challenge yourself and don’t settle.”
Next, Geyer joined a not-for-profit organization where he accepted a non-management position despite having a resumé populated with management experience.
“I took a step back in title, knowing that I could go in there and change that organization,” remarks Geyer, who notes that he reduced the organization’s reporting cycle from 6 months to 1 week—a feat that drew people’s attention and promptly got him promoted. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: What is the opportunity that ActiveNav is now pursuing?
Geyer: Let me mention that I was previously supporting a cybersecurity incident-response firm. We were seeing breaches constantly, security hacks. So when ActiveNav came to me and showed me this opportunity, it was kind of a no-brainer.
ActiveNav’s vision is to lift the veil that’s shrouding or obscuring an organization’s view of their data universe. If you think about it, every organization is sitting atop a mountain of data that they don’t even know exists and/or that they’re not even using. I would say that this dark data generally comprises about 80% of an organization’s overall data footprint.Read More
This data is insidious because it conceals all manner of risk, like privacy, PII, and PHI, as well as policy violations, so keeping data that’s been around for 10, 15, 20 years and not just purging it increases the chance of security breaches. We saw this countless times at the incident-response cybersecurity firm. ActiveNav’s mission is to use our software to help organizations find, understand, classify, and then take action on all of that data. Our goal is to lower our client’s risk and increase the potential for unearthing game-changing business insights.
CFOTL: Can you provide us with some company history relative to the firm’s capital structure?
Geyer: Our CEO joined the organization back in 2008. He has helped to build this up from the UK. We’ve got offices in the UK, Australia, and the U.S., and now we’re branching out more to penetrate the U.S. market. We had just raised our Series A back in November 2019, and we were looking at really utilizing those funds last year, right before COVID hit.
Value Quote: “What’s top-of-mind for us right now is making sure that we have plenty of cover for all of our salespeople, which will allow them to just really drive into this next fiscal year and close business to help us to attain or vastly surpass our budgeted revenue goals.”
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