As a CFO, it’s important to be prepared for change as your company scales quickly to achieve business goals and stay ahead of the competition.
Nick Rose is CFO at Enable, a leading collaboration platform for maximising the performance of B2B deals, while improving financial transparency and driving operational efficiency. Nick is carrying forward what he enjoyed most in working on business transformation projects at Travis Perkins, and is driven by the change he’s able to make happen at a small – but quickly growing – company.
Nick joined us on the latest episode of The CFO Playbook podcast, where he shares what’s required of a CFO to be successful when leading business transformation at a scaling company.
Comfort is critical when it comes to corporate change and leading your team to success.
Since Nick joined Enable, they’ve raised two rounds of funding, expanded to three countries (soon to be four), and made a pivot to building their own product and selling it at scale. Nick calls it ‘a constant state of change’, which is his preferred state after leading business transformation in house at Travis Perkins.
‘Some of the bits I most enjoyed in Travis Perkins were where you work as a small team and create real change and make things happen. And you can do that in a small business that’s got big ambition, far more than you ever can in a great big oil tanker type business that’s got its own processes and hurdles that you have to get over to make change.’
No matter the size of your company and team, aspiring CFOs should strive to be invigorated by the chance of having a positive impact on their organisation.
When your to-do list is piling up, you need to identify what’s most important.
To support Enable’s hyper-growth strategy, Nick stresses the importance of being able to make decisions quickly and for the betterment of the business.
‘If anyone ever wants to know what they should be doing, they should be looking at their team and their individual OKRs, which we know roll up to support what the company is trying to do, whether it’s every quarter, the next quarter or a longer term thing.’
Transparency in goal setting means your whole team is aligned on how far you need to go and what steps you’ll need to take to get there.
At a scaling company, you need to build a strong finance team that’s dedicated to success and excited to make an impact.
During the hiring process Nick susses out whether the candidate has experience with transformation projects.
‘I have my litmus test when they get into an interview scenario: how much do they already know about us? How much are they bothered to find out? And how much energy can they bring to the role?’
Ask probing questions to ensure new hires run towards business improvement challenges versus just having been in the right place at the right time.
When everything around you is changing quickly, a strong sense of self is an asset.
Nick makes it a priority to stay grounded in himself, his values, and his belief in what Enable is going to achieve.
‘I just be myself. How would I be anything else? And if I can bring people along with me through showing the amount I care about our success and what we need to do to get there and the amount of care about our people and supporting them, then people generally will follow that if they actually believe what you’re saying.’
Don’t shy away from sharing how you feel about your team and what you’re all working together to achieve.
Being nimble and prepared are paramount when becoming a CFO. There are many variables that can impact your department, your company, and your industry, so being open minded and ready for any challenge is key.
Long-term success as a finance leader means understanding your company’s business landscape and the possibilities that can affect its performance and success. Investing time and effort into strategies, your team, and yourself will go a long way in being ready when your business pivots.