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Investors provide vital funds so that companies can achieve their next level of growth, whether it’s making the next important version of a product or a key hire that will unlock the company’s potential even further. But in a time of economic uncertainty, where we see layoffs, budget freezes, and falling tech industry stock prices, venture capital investors are putting the brakes on aggressive funding for early-stage growth companies. According to a Crunchbase report, in the last quarter of 2022, investments in startup companies in North America fell by 63% compared to the same period a year earlier.In this episode of The Role Forward, Scott Stouffer, the CEO and founder of scaleMatters, gets into fundraising during a recession and why people are hesitant to invest in new companies. Scott and our host Joe Michalowski discuss what makes a company investible and what companies can do to become more efficient with their go-to-market motions.##Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Scott Stouffer💡 What he does: Scott is the CEO and founder of scaleMatters.💡 Company: scaleMatters 💡 Noteworthy: Scott Stouffer is a serial tech entrepreneur, 5x CEO, and 3x founder. He took his first company (Visual Networks) public in 2001 and grew it to a peak market cap of $3 billion. Since 2011, Scott has focused on early and growth-stage tech companies, building quantitative data and process models that uncover waste, inefficiency, and friction in the customer acquisition function.💡 Where to find Scott: LinkedIn 
Episode SummaryNetSuite implementation is a large, challenging project, as it includes many different phases and complex steps. But an experienced implementation partner can make all the difference. In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Edwine Alphonse, a controller at Ramp. They talk about the biggest challenges with NetSuite implementation, tips for tackling some common issues, and the importance of cleaning your data before you start the process.##Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Edwine Alphonse💡 What she does: She's a controller at Ramp.💡 Company: Ramp💡 Noteworthy: Edwine has a proven record in accounting and auditing. Before Ramp, she worked at several startups as director of accounting and financial controller. At Ramp, she's the first financial controller, where she's responsible for accounting, financial reporting, tax compliance, and other accounting processes.  💡 Where to find Edwine: LinkedIn
The finance team is essential for any business — especially as the company grows. And while in recent years the role of the finance team has evolved from a stereotypical back-office scorekeeping function toward a forward-thinking strategic partner, the process of financial transformation and implementation within the business is complex — and sometimes, it can fail.In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Chris Ortega, the CEO of Fresh FP&A, which provides fractional CFO and advisory services that support the strategies, tactics, and tools a business needs to transform and grow its finance function. Chris describes the Fresh FP&A approach, what it means to be fresh in finance, and how to become a strategic partner for department and executive leaders. Joe and Chris also discuss how to scale your finance team, improve the month-end close process, and finance trends to keep in mind for 2023. ##Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Chris Ortega💡 What he does: Chris is the CEO of Fresh FP&A.💡 Company: Fresh FP&A💡 Noteworthy: Chris has over 17 years of experience in accounting, finance, FP&A, and fractional CFO leadership around finance transformation and scale for seed to enterprise companies. In 2022, Chris became the CEO of Fresh FP&A, which provides fractional CFO and advisory services for businesses that allow them to transform and scale their finance organization.💡 Where to find Chris: LinkedIn
There's something special about a career in finance. Because you sit at the intersection of all data in the organization and collaborate with so many different functions, your job in finance can become the perfect stepping stone to a wide variety of career paths. But how do you maneuver your way from day one to where you want to take your career?In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Peter Nesbitt, an early-stage startup advisor, investor, and founder who previously rose through the ranks of finance to an executive seat. They talk about Peter's unique career path, tips for taking your own career to the next level, and why empowerment is a superpower.##Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Peter Nesbitt💡 What he does: He's an early-stage startup advisor and investor.💡 Company: N/A💡 Noteworthy: Peter was a full-time COO at Teampay before becoming an independent community founder, angel investor, and operationally-focused executive.💡 Where to find Peter: LinkedIn
Times are tough right now. World events have affected the macro environment, and a market downturn looms on the horizon as the Federal Reserve Board raises interest rates and the CPI continues to go up each month. Companies have to be extra careful about their finances. That’s why it’s important for finance teams to feel enabled to embrace the spotlight and be a more strategic partner to the business.This episode of The Role Forward podcast revisits Ramp’s Head of Finance and Capital Markets, Alex Song, and Mosaic Co-Founder and COO Joe Garafalo’s conversation on Ramp’s podcast, FinOps Today. Alex and Joe discuss Joe’s career journey and how it benefits prospects and customers, the key financial hires for a new company, and how to leverage software to get the deepest insights.Learn More About Ramp’s podcast, FinOps Today .Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Joe Garafalo💡 What he does: He's the co-founder and COO of Mosaic.💡 Company: Mosaic💡 Noteworthy: Joe is Co-Founder and COO of Mosaic, a technology company building the first Strategic Finance Platform. Joe began his career in the Big 4 with KPMG. After completing his master’s degree at St. John’s University, he went on to hold multiple leadership positions in finance at Palantir, Axoni, and Barkbox.💡 Where to find Joe: LinkedIn
Finance can be a strategic partner and growth catalyst for department and executive leaders. But many organizations still see finance teams as a back-office department, simply delivering financial reports. If companies really want sustainable growth, that mindset needs to change. This episode of The Role Forward revisits the presentation Mosaic CEO and co-founder, Bijan Moallemi, gave at SaaS Metrics Palooza in October 2022. Bijan and our host Joe Michalowski discuss how you can get the most out of financial storytelling vs. financial reporting. They also cover how to take your storytelling to the next level by embracing a customer service mindset across the organization, and understanding and presenting specific metrics that impact the company’s growth at the right time.Learn more about SaaS Metrics PaloozaGuest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Bijan Moallemi💡 What he does: Bijan is the CEO and co-founder of Mosaic.💡 Company: Mosaic💡 Noteworthy: Bijan Moallemi has nearly a decade of experience building and leading finance functions at companies like Qualcomm and Palantir. He knew CFOs deserved access to better tools, so he co-founded Mosaic Finance to build the next generation of finance software for CFOs and their teams. Born out of their own experiences in finance, Bijan and his co-founders have built the Mosaic platform as a tool that combines big data and machine learning to provide powerful predictive reporting capabilities.💡 Where to find Bijan: LinkedIn
Forecasting is essential for every team, and it involves tracking key performance indicators and financial metrics to measure each team's success. But many people don’t discuss best practices, especially when you begin to add headcount into the mix.Our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Brian Weisberg, the CFO at Tidelift, back to The Role Forward podcast. While they work through departmental headcount planning, Joe and Brian also discuss the importance of understanding the business’s goals, why you need to be realistic with expectations, and why companies should invest early in a financial position.Links Referenced in This EpisodeDave Kellogg’s BlogLauren Kelley and Tom Huntington on the R&D Magic NumberGuest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Brian Weisberg💡 What he does: He's the CFO at Tidelift.💡 Company: Tidelift💡 Noteworthy: Brian Weisberg is an experienced finance leader who enjoys working in startup cultures. Before joining Tidelift, he held VP of Finance roles at companies like Code Climate and Anchore.💡 Where to find Brian: LinkedIn | Twitter
No one denies Excel’s contribution to the business world and how it took operations to the next level. However, it’s time to admit that there are use cases that have outgrown spreadsheets and can make the lives of finance professionals easier. Whether spreadsheets will soon become part of the past is a burning topic among finance professionals across various industries. In this episode of The Role Forward, Joe Michalowski chats with Lauren Bahr, the VP of finance at Occupier, a lease management solution that breaks down the silos between finance, real estate, and facilities departments. They discuss the destiny of spreadsheets and Excel, why people still use them despite technological advances, how to keep the finance and accounting professions alive, and why the future of finance lies in automation. Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Lauren Bahr💡 What she does: Lauren is the VP of finance at Occupier.💡 Company: Occupier💡 Noteworthy: Lauren has over 10 years of experience in the finance space, where she started her career in the audit practice at PWC. She then transitioned into a consulting role where she helped emerging growth companies with their month-end financial reporting requirements. Lauren served as the Director of Accounting & Finance at Neocova, and is now the VP of Finance at Occupier.💡 Where to find Lauren: LinkedIn
Technology is always evolving, and over the last few years we’ve seen rapid advancement of third-gen tools. But these third-gen tools are still evolving. In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Paul Barnhurst, the founder of The FP&A Guy. They talk about the gaps in third-gen FP&A tools, why MS Excel is not going anywhere anytime soon, and the four pillars of FP&A tool evaluation that will help you scale your company.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Paul Barnhurst💡 What he does: He's The FP&A Guy.💡 Company: The FP&A Guy💡 Noteworthy: Paul has more than 12 years of finance and FP&A experience across several industries, including U.S. government, cyber security, ecommerce, and more. As the FP&A Guy, Paul offers FP&A writing, training, and consulting services for small and mid-size companies, and is the host of the FP&A Today podcast.💡 Where to find Paul: LinkedIn
For SaaS companies, headcount amounts to 70% of operating expenses. If finance dives straight into the numbers without keeping the company’s short- and long-term goals in mind when headcount planning, it spells imminent disaster with misforecasts and errors that can take months, if not years, to resolve. In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Enrique Esclusa, co-founder of Assemble. Enrique and Joe get into headcount planning and compensation strategies, diving deep into the disadvantages of using spreadsheets and key pain points of workforce planning.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Enrique Esclusa💡 What he does: Enrique is a co-founder of Assemble.💡 Company: Assemble💡 Noteworthy: Enrique was born in Venezuela, raised in Miami, Florida, and has been living between NYC and SF for the past 12+ years. After a 10-year career in finance, spanning investment banking and private equity, Enrique delved into his passion of making pay equity a reality by co-founding Assemble.💡 Where to find Enrique: LinkedIn
Tax compliance is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s often underappreciated and overlooked — until it’s down to the wire for SaaS companies who have received warnings about being audited.Tax compliance needs to be more top of mind for SaaS leaders who want to truly embrace strategic, sustainable growth and expansion. In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Daniëlle Keeven, the VP of finance at Paddle. They chat about the importance of tax compliance and subscription legislation for tech companies, how to perform audits effectively, and why collaboration between departments is vital.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Daniëlle Keeven💡 What she does: Daniëlle is the VP of Finance at Paddle.💡 Company: Paddle💡 Noteworthy: Daniëlle is an accomplished global executive with 10+ years of experience in operations, people management, finance, accounting, audit, and compliance within hospitality, gaming, and the tech industry.💡 Where to find Daniëlle: LinkedIn
Finance is often perceived as a back office function. But getting out of the back office to collaborate with other departments within an organization is a prerequisite for business success. In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski chats with Jenny Jao, the head of finance at Sprig, to discuss what it takes to build a financial model collaboratively.Jenny shares what it was like building an operating model from the bottom up and the steps involved in the process. Jenny and Joe also discuss headcount planning, why it’s such a tough part of any operational model, and how Jenny works through it at Sprig.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Jenny Jao💡 What she does: Jenny is the head of finance at Sprig.💡 Company: Sprig💡 Noteworthy: Jenny is a finance professional with over five years of experience at public and private companies. She is on a mission to help businesses improve existing processes and drive better performance. And in 2022, Jenny was recognized as one of Mosaic’s Movers of Strategic Finance.💡 Where to find Jenny: LinkedIn
Organizational transparency is one of many buzzwords in the business world, but it can be a game changer for any company that adopts it. Executive leaders shouldn’t be afraid of being transparent with employees because it can lead to greater motivation, more trust, and improved productivity.However, it can be a struggle to find the sweet spot between sharing and oversharing. And finance leaders can help bridge the gap and make a strategic impact by helping executive and department leaders discover their common language around the numbers and people that make the company’s growth narrative come to life. In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Matt Wolf, the CFO of ChartHop. They discuss the benefits of organizational transparency, some potential challenges, and why it ultimately benefits the company in terms of stronger employee retention.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Matt Wolf💡 What he does: Matt is the CFO of ChartHop.💡 Company: ChartHop💡 Noteworthy: Matt Wolf is the CFO at ChartHop, a people analytics company that is creating more connected organizations. Wolf has over a decade’s worth of experience in financial leadership, from startups to global organizations. Prior to his career at ChartHop, Wolf served as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley and the CFO of Roadster. 💡 Where to find Matt: LinkedIn
Starting a company requires an idea and people to help bring it to reality. But a company requires more than a vision, even though it’s fundamental to its success — its needs a well-thought-out business model. For early-stage SaaS startups, creating and implementing a financial model is challenging for a variety of reasons. Which is why Taylor Davidson founded Foresight, a company that offers an extensive library of financial model templates for entrepreneurs.In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski chats with Taylor about the core building blocks of an early-stage SaaS financial model. They also discuss the challenges of implementing an operational model, which part of the model is critical for which stage of the business, and why flexibility and customization are vital elements of model creation as the business grows.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Taylor Davidson💡 What he does: Taylor is the founder of Foresight.💡 Company: Foresight💡 Noteworthy: Taylor Davidson is the founder of Foresight, a strategic advisory service and financial model template provider for entrepreneurs and investors. Taylor has over two decades of experience, which spans lecturing at Carnegie Mellon University and the Founder Institute to his former directorship of kbs+ Ventures to co-curating Creative Entrepreneurship, a book for startup founders about venture capital and entrepreneurship. Taylor is an angel investor in nearly 100 companies.💡 Where to find Taylor:
Building a finance team means investing in processes, tools, and people. But, making all three segments successful can be time-consuming and requires having a CFO ready to look outside the box and build partnerships with every department within an organization. That's easier said than done, but fortunately, there are success stories that prove it is possible.In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Russ Jones, the former CFO of Shopify. The two discuss what it was like growing a finance team in a company such as Shopify, the challenges and lessons learned, and the importance of developing a partnership between finance and other departments.  Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Russell Jones💡 What he does: Russ was the CFO of Shopify from 2011 to 2018💡 Company: Shopify💡 Noteworthy: Throughout his 40-year career, Russell has been on a mission to help finance people evolve. Currently, he is on the advisory board of a prominent Canadian VC and is helping them build their finance community.💡 Where to find Russell: LinkedIn
It is common for accounting and finance teams to work together. However, for a business to grow, it is important for executives to create a culture encouraging partnership between all the departments. Although accountants are not perceived as the most creative people in an organization, their expertise and unique perspective can help other teams, including marketing, to build sustainable business models. In this episode of The Role Forward, our host Joe Michalowski chats with Amy Garefis, the Chief Accounting Officer at ZipRecruiter. The two discuss the role of an accountant in a startup, how Amy has scaled accounting at ZipRecruiter from Series A to a public listing, the ways to create a high-quality tech stack, and the value of internal partnerships. Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Amy Garefis💡 What she does: Amy is the Chief Accounting Officer at ZipRecruiter.💡 Company: ZipRecruiter💡 Noteworthy: Amy was the first hire of the ZipRecruiter accounting team, which now comprises around 40 employees. 💡 Where to find Amy: LinkedIn
In this era where there’s a better SaaS tool for every workflow, ERP solutions are ripe for innovation.Many finance and accounting teams leverage a distributed EPR model that they’ve cobbled together using various point solutions coupled with spreadsheets to fill additional gaps between the systems. What they’re often lacking is a solution that ties all of these accounting workflows together.                One solution for this is Nixsheets, a workflow and automation platform for accounting teams that have outgrown ERPs like QuickBooks but don’t want the headache that comes with a more enterprise-focused system like NetSuite. This platform promises to reduce data integrity issues, support a super-fast month-end close, reduce manual work, and lower costs.In this episode of The Role Forward, Joe Michalowski welcomes Sal Abdulla, the founder and CEO of Nixsheets. Joe and Sal get into the transformation of the finance industry and the ongoing challenges for accounting teams. They talk about common ERP limitations, how accounting workflows should be simplified, and new finance and accounting tools.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Sal Abdulla💡 What he does: Sal is the founder and CEO of Nixsheets.💡 Company: Nixsheets💡 Noteworthy: Sal started his career working in politics and spent two years working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In his mid-twenties, he got an opportunity to join a startup overseas, where he became the head of finance. Then he came back to the States, did a stint for a year at a nonprofit, and finally made his way into SaaS. Today Sal is the founder and CEO of Nixsheets, an accounting automation platform.💡 Where to find Sal: LinkedIn | Website
CRM software is one of the most vital business tools today, and most companies nowadays use it to conduct sales, track finances, and manage customer relationships. However, CRMs can be complicated and difficult to set up and use. But your CRM should work for you instead of the other way around.In this episode of The Role Forward podcast, our host Joe Michalowski welcomes Jason Peretz, the Chief Business Officer (CBO) of Galley. They talk about the importance of getting your CRM in shape, how to build your CRM effectively from the beginning, and why RevOps can help bridge the gap between sales and finances.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Jason Peretz💡 What he does: He's the Chief Business Officer (CBO) of Galley.💡 Company: Galley💡 Noteworthy: Before joining Galley, Jason was in corporate finance. He worked in real estate finance and corporate food cost budgeting.💡 Where to find Jason: LinkedIn
SaaS companies have a lot of different efficiency metrics. And customer acquisition cost — the amount of money a company spends to get a new customer — is a ubiquitous SaaS metric.How can SaaS companies achieve financial stability and transparency and calculate CAC correctly? What if we have basic calculations and our company matures? How are other metrics involved in the company's performance?In this episode of The Role Forward, Joe Michalowski welcomes Ben Murray, the founder of The SaaS CFO. Joe and Ben get into SaaS, CAC calculations, and CAC profiles. They discuss the importance of having fully burdened cost centers to calculate CAC and describe LTV to CAC, CAC payback period, and CAC ratio metric calculating.Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Ben Murray💡 What he does: Ben is the founder of The SaaS CFO.💡 Company: The SaaS CFO💡 Noteworthy: Ben has worked in finance and accounting for 25+ years. He has been a SaaS CFO for 8+ years and began his career in the FP&A function. From debits and credits to financial forecasting and M&A, Ben's experience has not just been siloed in the accounting or finance track but on both sides of the desk. His operations background at several airlines has improved his ability to translate operational performance into improved financial understanding and foresight.💡 Where to find Ben: LinkedIn | Website
Cryptocurrency is a hot topic not just in the finance or business world but also in our everyday interactions. But, with all the information available today, it's still challenging for most of us to understand what it is and how it has and will change the global monetary system.Luckily, the number of subject matter experts is growing daily, and one of them is our guest, Alex Song, the Head of Finance and Capital Markets at Ramp.At the beginning of the episode, Alex emphasized that he is not a cryptocurrency expert but is deeply involved in the subject for his current role at Ramp. However, Alex added considerable value to our show by bringing the concept of one specific cryptocurrency closer to the audience. Alex and our host Joe Michalowski discussed stablecoins, why Ramp invested in them, and how they can benefit Ramp in the long term. Alex and Joe also touched upon the past, present, and future of crypto. Guest-at-a-Glance💡 Name: Alex Song💡 What he does: Alex is the Head of Finance and Capital Markets at Ramp.💡 Company: Ramp💡 Noteworthy: Before joining Ramp, Alex spent almost 12 years on Wall Street as a FinTech investor.💡 Where to find Alex: LinkedIn
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