CFO GUEST: Jim Morgan of CallRail
EPISODE: #786 When Minding the Business Is a Cultural Mandate
Machine Generated Transcript (unedited)
CFOTL: Any moments of strategic moments of insight that you can share with us along the way that our listeners might enjoy?
MORGAN: Yes, I’ll share one that’s got a corollary to it, but in one of my prior roles, I had an opportunity to go through revenue recognition pre-clearance process with the SEC. This company was a pre-IPO. And so I got to go through this process, which for those listeners aren’t familiar, it’s basically getting buy-off from the SEC that how you think this revenue stream should be treated is actually how the SEC would agree with you. And it’s quite a complex process. You work with your auditors, you work with the national office of your auditors, ultimately you end up working with the SEC on some pretty complex topics. And we were doing it because we really didn’t have a comparable in the market for our revenue recognition model and our business model. So it was a really interesting problem.Read More
And as background, I’m not an accountant, I came up through the FP&A world and so I found myself in the middle as CFO of navigating the waters of a pretty complex accounting process. And I think there was a lot of learnings and insight through that that really shaped that decision at that time, the organization and certainly my career. And I think a few of those, just to highlight, I think one of the key parts of the CFO role is to really be able to make complex ideas and concepts simple and explainable and understandable to folks who aren’t accountants, aren’t revenue recognition experts. And I’m on a journey with that. It is certainly a skill that I’ve seen folks do really, really well, take complex ideas and basically boil down to “What does it mean for us? How’s that going to impact the company? What sort of decisions do we make around it? Does it change our strategy?”
But it was probably one of the big learnings and another takeaway, and I think that’s just a nature of many finance folks. You want to be the expert, you want to know it all. You’re not always going to be the expert. You need to know when to rely on the experts, how much you need to know, how deep you need to know. And again, a lot of times your role is bringing that information back and making it actionable to the organization. So in this example, we ultimately got through that process, we were able to communicate that back internally to our investors or our board. And it was a great learning process and event for me personally, but also for the company in terms of the step forward.