“Prioritize mastering the understanding of business purpose and how your business creates value. Focus on building relationships and credibility. Fortify Accounting and Technology infrastructure and hire potential over experience. Ensure companywide performance management and accountability. Define milestones and measure your journey toward becoming an effective co-pilot of the business.” –Amol Chaubal, CFO, Waters Corporation
Waters Corporation CFO Amol Chaubal has cracked the code on the strategic CFO role, and he’s willing to share a snapshot of his formula for success.
“A lot of companies focus on data and the insights coming out of that data,” reveals Chaubal, who amassed finance leadership experience in consumer products, pharma, and energy before joining Waters Corporation—a publicly listed analytical laboratory instrument and software company—earlier this year. “Our focus is a few steps ahead. We say that data and insights are table stakes. You have to go one step further to take these insights and create action options for the business leaders. And you have to then use these options to come up with decision support and recommendations on what actions to pursue.”Read More
After helping to execute a tricky COVID pivot at his previous company, Chaubal now tries to apply his laserlike focus to commercial operations at Waters in order to drive recurring revenue gains and help to enhance the vitality of the company’s product portfolio. On a daily basis, he and his finance team monitor the opportunities pipeline by tracking incoming orders (by instrument category, business area, geography, customer type), order–sales conversions, supply chain and inventory health, operations productivity, and product portfolio vitality.
Chaubal’s secret for optimizing his own levels involves taking a series of 5- to 7-minute breaks throughout the day to relax, refocus, and reinvigorate. He channels this vigor into expanding his relationships with business leaders throughout the organization: “I strongly feel that the most successful CFO is a social CFO. One who connects with the deepest deep corners of the organization. One who is able to pull information out, connect the dots, and come up with: What does this mean?” – Eric Krell
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Waters Corporation … what sets it apart from its competitors?
Chaubal: Waters is one of the largest analytical instrument companies in the space. More critically, it has a long-standing reputation for science and innovation. Think of it this way: If you drank water today, if you ate breakfast this morning, if you take medicines, if you drive a car, you are most likely influenced by what we do because we make instruments for such processes as liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and thermal analysis. These instruments are present in every R&D center and every QA/QC lab, where they are ensuring that the medicines that we get and the vaccines that we get are safe and efficacious. They’re ensuring that the food that we eat and the water that we drink are pure. It’s all about ensuring the quality and durability of the products that we all use. In fact, it’s even ensuring the safety and capacity of energy storage solutions that we use to unlock renewable energies.Read More
We have about 7,500 employees globally, a dedicated workforce that stands behind delivering benefit to our customers. We support more than 100 pharmaceutical companies. We support most of the top 50 pharma companies—60% of our revenue comes from pharma. About 15% comes from food and environmental applications. Another 15% or so comes from materials, polymers, and semiconductors. The remaining 10% comes from clinical diagnostics, primarily on newborn screening. We’re a fantastic company with really great technology and a culture very deep rooted in science.
The way this plays out in the market is that this deep-rooted culture allows us to solve the most complex problems that our customers are facing. We have a deep understanding of our customers’ needs. They are working on the leading edge of science, and when they’re doing this, they need a partner who can solve their problems and who can provide them service that is extremely seamless. This is exactly what we excel at, so we are the partner-of-choice for our customers, which allows us to be the most globally diversified company in this space. Forty percent of our revenue comes from emerging markets. More than 55% of our revenue is recurring every year, which allows us to deliver industry-leading margins. Nobody in the industry has margins like us because we are the partner-of-choice. As much as 25 cents out of every dollar of revenue is converted into our free cash flow.