Looking back, CFO Ravi Narula tells us that he wishes that he had become a “servant leader” sooner, as he references the familiar leadership tag signaling a mind-set focused on serving others.
“If you asked me 15 years ago, ‘Do you have a servant leader mind-set?,’ unfortunately, I would have said ‘No,’” comments Narula, who credits a graduate executive program at Stanford University for helping to raise his acumen when it comes to the role that servant leaders can play in successful businesses.
“I began thinking more broadly as a CFO and seeing servant leadership and company culture as being foundational to the success of firms, as well as to my own future success as a CFO,” remarks Narula, who—in addition to servant leadership—identifies the customer-probing Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a primary contributor to the culture of his current company, FinancialForce.Read More
Asked if FinancialForce’s NPS rating is the most widely known measure across the company’s workforce, Narula tells us that he believes that 80 to 90 percent of the company’s roughly 1,000 employees likely know the company’s current scores, whether by geography, industry, or customer segment.
To support his claim, Narula reports: “At our townhall meeting this morning, 20 of the 60 minutes were devoted to the Net Promoter Score.”
Still, like many tech companies, FinancialForce has a work environment that has evolved in recent years to accommodate more remote workers through a hybrid model that has at times put management practices as well as servant leadership goals to the test.
According to Narula, it’s now up to leaders to extend their reach in order to connect more often to capture the insight required to help an employee succeed.
Adds Narula: “If I’m not meeting with different people in person, it becomes a little more difficult to understand with which individuals I need to be investing my time.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about FinancialForce … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Narula: FinancialForce is a private software company headquartered in San Francisco. Just to give some perspective to help people understand, let me talk about some of our big product areas. Back in the early 2000s, for example, I was using Excel to keep track of some major SOC project management. Now, we have better solutions. One of FinancialForce’s is called Professional Services Automation. If somebody has a professional services organization or customer service organization, they want to optimize everything. For all of the professional services, time is money. Every hour that is spent in determining whether to bill or not bill someone—and how much—has an impact on the top line.Read More
We are able to provide PSA, Professional Services Automation, to take away all of the manual processes, as well as to help to reduce a firm’s revenue leakage. We can tell them which projects are on time and what’s happening in processes and utilization rates for lots of our customers. All of our professional services organizations see their margins go up. Basically, we use automation to help them to save time and improve productivity. This is one of the key solutions for us.
Second, we sell ERP accounting and planning systems through which you can record all of your GL accounting, bank reconciliations, and so on. It’s your in-house accounting system.
We have not only professional services automation and an ERP solution, but now also additional products that get into planning and analysis. Whether it’s financial planning analysis or some other type, you can use FinancialForce for it. We also are expanding into the services industry a lot more, with products involving things like the customer service cloud and a services CPQ.
We are in 10-plus countries around the world and have more than 1,000 customers. Lots of these customers are in the top of the Fortune 100, but we range from the top customers all the way down to medium-size businesses, too. So, we’re a very diversified company. jb
FinancialForce | www.financialforce.com | San Francisco, CA