Among the different career highlights that Chris Kramer shares with us, perhaps none is as memorable as what might be called his “Indiana Jones moment.”
Having distinguished himself as a “technical accountant” during the first half of his career, Kramer was often dispatched to observe and scrutinize the accounting practices of prospective acquisition targets in foreign lands—a succession of deployments that led him to frequently encounter unexpected circumstances.
Such was the case one time in the mid-2000s, when he entered the UK corporate offices of an acquisition prospect and found himself casting his eyes upon something that he “had never seen before.”
Somehow, in doing his due diligence, Kramer had found a big bound book: a company ledger.Read More
Given that few details populate this ledger tale, we’ll assume that he may have been engaged in some polite conversation with the UK office’s accounting team when it occurred to him that he needed a network login code. This request led to one UK accountant subsequently winking at another, who from what seemed like out of nowhere produced a large brown volume—or perhaps it was black, or maybe blue, and perhaps the company was mostly using QuickBooks but had relied on bound ledgers prior to 2004. Kramer doesn’t tell us. However, the words that he uses to illustrate his “find” arguably echo the tone and sentiments of an archaeologist making a heroic discovery.
“It was incredible—a physical ledger, which I then had to ‘translate’ before taking it back to corporate!,” exclaims Kramer, whose depth of technical accounting knowledge and range of M&A experiences had made him an invaluable asset for deal-minded CFOs.
However, Kramer tells us, he would have appreciated having a broader view of finance earlier in his career, which would have allowed him to see beyond accounting and position himself to acquire more acumen across different finance disciplines such as IR and FP&A.
“I was very far down the accounting track in the realm of chief accounting officers before I began speaking to CFOs and CFO recruiters and spending time inside these other disciplines,” reports Kramer, who tells us that his deliberate push to acquire a wider view of finance didn’t always feel like an upward climb.
He continues: “I went from having this massive team as a chief accounting officer to being an SVP of FP&A with only a fraction of the number of people who previously reported to me.” –Jack Sweeney
“Having depth as a subject matter expert is important, but gaining broader knowledge of the other disciplines in the CFO office, coupled with increased business acumen, will accelerate your advancement.” –Chris Kramer, CFO, Axonius
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Axonius … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Kramer: We are a cybersecurity asset management company that provides visibility into not just your physical assets like devices and laptops but also your SaaS and other applications. The best way to improve your security posture is to have visibility into who has the rights to access what and whether a device is securely managed or not.
Having visibility on all these different fronts allows a company to be more secure—or at least take action to be more secure—and we have ways to do this that you just can’t find anywhere else.Read More
There is no other company that is offering what Axonius offers today. There are different point solutions out there that can handle certain pieces, but we have products that are much broader and much more effective. Not only do we have integrations with 650 solutions, but also we go far, far deeper than any other company out there, which makes us a much more compelling offering.
One of my main priorities right now is to go a little deeper with the individuals on my team to better understand what their capabilities and how they can grow. Often employees don’t get an opportunity to grow in their current roles and end up leaving for new opportunities at different companies. I think that you need to take the time to invest in the team that you have first, and then, if you can’t get there with them, that’s a different discussion. As I look forward, it’s all about building out the team in every way. They are the one thing that is going to make this work—or not. So, my focus is really on spending the time to focus on our team.
Axonius | www.axonius.com | New York, NY