Few finance leaders have better revealed to us the career-transforming powers of IPOs than CFO Tony Tiscornia.
Turn back the clock to 2015, and Tiscornia is the accounting-minded VP of finance for spend management software company Coupa.
“I was really a controller—a business controller, but still a controller,” explains Tiscornia, who notes that his world began to change following the appointment of Todd Ford as CFO.Read More
Ford, a finance leader with a rich IPO resume, would join Coupa as CFO in June of 2015 and quickly begin to assemble an IPO-ready team.
“When Todd first came to Coupa, he asked me what I wanted to do with my career, and I told him, ‘I want to be a CFO,’” recalls Tiscornia, who adds that Ford quickly tagged him for an investor relations role.
Over the next 16 months, Tiscornia says, he learned all of what was required to achieve the milestones that led up to the company’s October 2016 IPO. During its first day of trading, Coupa’s shares would reach a high of more than $41, to more than double the $18 initial public offering price.
“I think that a lot of people who go from pre-IPO to a big bang IPO like we did here at Coupa often focus on that day, but what sticks out to me was what began to happen on the next day,” comments Tiscornia, who observes that the post-IPO period at Coupa became an “eye-opener” for him with regard to understanding the resources that were then required to operate Coupa as a public company.
“The bankers, consultants, and accountants had all gone away, and we were now expected to report on a quarterly basis—it wasn’t just practice any longer,” remarks Tiscornia, who quickly found that his investor relations tour of duty had now positioned him along the front lines of the ongoing discussions with industry analysts and shareholders.
“That role really became my bridge from controllership to CFO-type work,” comments Tiscornia, who first joined Coupa in 2012, when the company had fewer than 100 employees.
Last year, Tiscornia was named CFO when his CFO mentor, Todd Ford, exited the office to be named Coupa president and CFO emeritus. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Coupa … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Tiscornia: Coupa is really the leader in cloud-based business spend management. We’re a platform that unifies processes across supply chain, procurement, and finance. If you think about what Salesforce does for selling and for CRM, well, Coupa does the same thing for all of the buying, which means all of the spending of money with suppliers, the employee expense reports, A/P automation, strategic sourcing, supply chain, treasury—everything across the full spectrum of the spending of money within a business. The most common problem that our customers have is that they don’t have a complete picture of how they spend their money. They don’t have control over where their cash is. Our platform is really valuable to CFOs and procurement leaders because we provide a consolidated view of all of their business spending.Read More
As you know, we in this industry at large and in the markets in general have been navigating very turbulent times. Preparing data for this environment with agility and resiliency has been one of the directions in which I’ve tried to inspire our team to push. Sure, we theoretically don’t really know whether we’re in a recession yet. It may be real, it may not be real, but rising inflation and interest rates are all too real for businesses around the world. I think that for a lot of CFOs out there, the answer to this is to immediately pull back, but from our experience, I think that finding ways to spend smart, to invest in your business in areas that can really help you to drive profitability and drive momentum, is an area of focus for us. We will be using a lot of data to gain a deeper understanding of our business. We want to understand which investments are really beneficial and which ones are maybe not so fruitful, so that we can align our focus on the areas that will really deliver the most value. In this environment, this is what we’re most focused on as a company and what I’m most focused on personally. jb
“Preparation is the key to building confidence and driving success. The market, business environment, and macroenvironment are ever-changing. Thus, forging a foundation of resilience and agility, regardless of what external circumstances may present themselves, is one of the biggest keys to success.” –Tony Discornia, CFO, Coupa
Coupa | www.coupa.com | San Mateo, CA