Several years ago, when CFO Anna King first began to champion the benefits of real-time data, she recalls that a sudden clamor around new customer activity afforded her the consensus-building moment for which she’d been waiting.
At the time, King worked for Transactis, a payment processing company that she had first joined in 2011 as a controller. A year later, after having helped to raise the company’s Series C financing, she found herself being appointed CFO.Read More
“I was completely shocked—but I was grateful for the board’s confidence in me,” recollects King, who would occupy the CFO office until 2019, when Transactis was acquired by Mastercard.
Along the way, King got to work alongside seasoned entrepreneurial CEO Joe Proto, who counted Transactis as his third start-up and had a “playbook” when it came to scaling a business. While King’s C-level appointment gave her new stature within the company, the move to leverage real-time data cross-functionally within the firm demanded something more.
“Change management is typically very difficult,” comments King, who observes that frequently during her tenure she came to rely on the power of consensus-building.
“I had to get the CTO on board because we needed some ‘dev’ resources—which are always hard to obtain—and I needed to convince our CRO that he would be better able to communicate his needs to management,” remarks King, who notes that the initial stages of the effort involved integrating data from the company’s operations, accounting systems, and sales pipeline.
Says King: “We were able to see in real time how much revenue we had made on a given day or month-to-date, and by seeing the pipeline data, we were able to forecast what the rest of the month would look like.”
Still, the value of the data was not immediately apparent to each of the functional groups, and King would sometimes have to demonstrate how to put the data to work.
Such was the case with the Transactis sales team, which had been amplifying a request for additional resources in response to reports of new customer activity. However, management had been somewhat reluctant to give approval, given that the reports remained more or less only anecdotal.
“We were able to show via new dashboards that there was new customer activity, which allowed them to get them the resources that they needed,” points out King, who adds that one functional area’s experience with real-time data soon led to its spread to other areas.
Concludes King: “Change management is really about how you communicate and tell the story and build the consensus.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Mesh Payments … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
King: Mesh is a corporate spend management platform. I love to tell this story because at my previous company, I refused to let anyone have a corporate card. The CEO wasn’t allowed to have one. I had one, and I kept it under lock and key. I just didn’t want to manage the nightmare of tracking down receipts and having someone manually key-in the transactions. For me, it just felt like more work for the team.Read More
The corporate spend platform that we’ve built really automates that whole process. The finance organization can set up a credit card for a specific spend for a specific vendor for a specific time frame, assign it to an employee, and have control over what the employee is spending it on. It’s easy to turn off a card, it’s easy to assign a card to another employee, and our platform really gives them visibility into what’s being spent.
Mesh has built out a platform that allows companies to manage all types of spend. SaaS subscriptions can be managed. The finance team can see when the company is paying for more licenses than are currently being used. You can set one card for a specific vendor that has a specific amount that can be charged every month, every quarter, or whatever that subscription period is.
We also have a travel product that allows the finance organization to put their travel and expense policy in place before the employee goes on a trip. They can set up a travel that has a specific budget for the airfare, for the hotel, for meals. They don’t have to worry that the employee will go out of budget or spend something that is outside the policy.
We also have what we call “on-demand” cards. If you need to have a card to go—say, you’re throwing an office celebration—someone can open up a card to allow them to buy whatever they need for that specific reason. This gives the finance team real control over every part of that spend and really eliminates the need to have the approval process on the back end. Everything is happening on the front end.
Once the spend has happened, our platform will then match the receipts to the specific transaction so that there’s no more chasing down receipts. Then it automatically integrates them into the accounting system so that there is no more manual data entry. Mesh allows finance organizations to spend more of the month doing data analytics and really helps the organization understand their business.
“Do not undervalue the importance of using real-time data and analytics to tell the story of the business. As a CFO, it’s the essential way I communicate with the board, investors, and employees.” – Anna King, CFO, Mesh Payments
Mesh Payments | www.meshpayments.com | New York, NY