Back in 2008, when Jim Cox was controller for investment management software company Advent Software, he was invited by that firm’s founder and CEO, Stephanie DiMarco, to accompany her to an investor meeting.
“I just sat there smiling and hoped that nobody would ask me a question,” comments Cox, recalling one of a number of experiences that he credits with helping him to step beyond his accounting career roots.
The meeting’s biggest take-away, Cox tells us, was about repetition.
He explains: “Guess what? All 20 investors asked six of the same questions and two questions that were unique to them.”Read More
Looking back, Cox believes that DiMarco was providing him with an opportunity to not only develop a rapport with investors but also polish his communication skills.
“When Stephanie brought me along, I think she was like, ‘Let’s try this out,'” continues Cox, who stepped into Advent’s CFO office in 2009, only 3 years after joining the company.
Cox had been recruited to Advent by a VP of finance who had formerly been a client of Cox’s when he was an accountant at Pricewaterhouse.
“Be good to your clients,” advises Cox, who credits yet another client executive with encouraging PwC to relocate him to New Zealand for a 2-year stint.
Asked about his early career’s lengthy tenures at PwC (10 years) and Advent (9), Cox reports that he doesn’t think that he missed out by not changing jobs more frequently.
“You can stay at the same company, but it’s about doing different things,” he comments.
Today, having served in multiple CFO roles, Cox likes to measure his stint as Advent’s CFO differently since its was publicly held: “I like to say that I was a public company CFO for 22 quarters—because when you’re a public CFO, you live one quarter at a time.” –Jack Sweeney
“Join a team you love. Your relationships with the CEO and other executives are the keys to success. Every business has both good days and less good days. When you have strong relationships among the team, problem solving is more fun and wins are more fulfilling.” -Jim Cox, CFO, Clearwater Analytics
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CFOTL: What are your priorities over the next 12 months as CFO of Clearwater Analytics?
Cox: We have to continue to deliver every quarter, every month, every day. But if you look ahead a little, you realize that one of the most important strategic imperatives that we have and need to accomplish together—and that I need to lead—is really transforming us from a single-product company into a multi-product one. The financial expression of this will be that we see our net revenue retention grow to 115 or beyond. Honestly, this may take more than 12 months, but I’m fully into it.Read More
Another goal has to do with scorecards, as [CEO] Sandeep [Sahai] loads us up with lots of them. One element of mine has to do with artificial intelligence. I have a small product team and a few developers who are trying to pull insights out of our product. I’m not going to say that we’re running artificial intelligence yet, but we’re working on this idea and building the frameworks and laying the groundwork for it. With the $6 trillion in assets that we have on our platform, this could revolutionize investment management for everyone—for you, for me, for everyone. This would happen far more than 12 months out, but I hope that someday I can come back to talk with you about it. Right now, I don’t even know what might be.
Clearwater Analytics | www.clearwateranalytics.com | Boise, Idaho