The CFO Playbook

4 Tips for making triumphs with technology

3 May 2022   |   13 Minute Read

To be a successful CFO, Bijan Moallemi feels you need the tools and basic technical skills to support your business now and to plan for the future, while reducing the effort required by your team to achieve your goals. He thinks CFOs have historically been underserved, and financial professionals deserve accessible tools that save time and money, while providing key insights and analytics to better your business.

The Co-founder and CEO of Mosaic 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 resource that combines big data and machine learning to provide powerful predictive reporting capabilities.

In this episode of The CFO Playbook, Bijan explains why it is more important than ever to understand the financial ins and outs of a business to make sure you know exactly what’s going on within your organization. He talks about how Mosaic offers a tool that can help financial professionals as they process through pain points with data and analytics, allowing for a faster and more focused financial team that can make a bigger impact on the business. Bijan also explains why he thinks communication, collaboration and culture building are keys to success, and talks about the benefits of opening up your company to a remote workforce as a way to ensure you have access to the best talent pool.

 

1. Keep sight of different scenarios

Today’s CFO has to wear many hats, including being an operator, an executive, a technologist, and an adviser to become a trusted decision-maker in their business.

It is important to get everyone in your organization aligned on data. As a finance leader and partner within your organization you need to go above and beyond, not just understanding the data itself, but understanding things from the perspective of your partners throughout the business.

“You can’t just have one view of the world, especially in this day and age. Things are unpredictable and we’ve seen that with the markets over the last six months. We’ve seen that with the pandemic over the last couple of years. So, how do you make scenario planning and having different views of the world and different paths that your business can go on as easy as possible? That’s a feature set that we’ve spent a lot of time building from day one, to ensure that it is very easy to have multiple scenarios, compare them, and really keep all options open.”

Being aligned on data and taking into account their role and responsibilities will all you to advocate for them and empower them to utilize the data to run the organization better.

 

2. Build a collaborative and cohesive culture

A strategic CFO should prioritize collaboration throughout their business so they can become a central and connective resource for the entire organization.

Building cohesion, trust, communication, collaboration, and culture within your organization is paramount. In this day in age, it is important to open your aperture when building out your company and team. Being open to remote workers will open your talent pool.

“I’d say very early you need to realize that you have to be proactive, and you have to be intentional, and you have to really drive things forward with a lot of inertia. If you don’t pay attention to things like culture, they’re going to happen one way or another. You can either be intentional about culture or you can be hands-off and let it manifest the way that it’s going to manifest. For areas like that, you never want to be doing surgery to your culture and having to weed things out. So, I think from our perspective, we would rather be more intentional, knowing it’s going to take more time, more focus, because it’s that important for us here at Mosaic.”

What separates good organizations from the great, are the people. So, being able to tap into a global talent pool is an incredible opportunity.

 

3. Practice being proactive

Finance is often at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to technology updates, but CFOs today are under more pressure than ever to be fast, accurate, and agile.

Finance leaders can earn their seat at the table by proactively taking a more strategic role in their business. To do that, the modern CFO needs to evolve beyond the traditional record-keeping identity. A good CFO will get their people the information they need before they even ask for it.

“When you think about the role of the CFO and folks inside of the office of the CFO, it is a highly technical function these days. You have to make sense of all the different data sets across the business, pull them together real-time, massage the data, and present it back to the business. You need to present it back in a way that the business can understand, and it has to be digestible. That does not mean a balance sheet or a statement of cash flow. It has to be something that is consumable and then keep in mind the speed at which you’re pushing it back out to the business. It can’t be late.”

Strategic CFOs should work to rise above back-office reporting to be forward-looking strategic partners to the rest of the business.

 

4. Deliver through data

A key to success for today’s CFO is to be forward-thinking, being armed with the information to form the best strategies.

They need to be able to plug into all the different data sources that the business is using. Doing things manually can be labour intensive and error-prone. Utilizing different technologies and tools to help automate processes can free up your time, allow you to focus, make your operation more tactical, and propel the business forward.

“When I think about technology in the office of the CFO, as a former practitioner myself, I’m disappointed to be honest. I feel like we’ve really been overpromised and under-delivered to when it comes to great finance tech over the last 20 years. So, we thought there might be this resistance or reluctance to want to try something new. I’d say in practice that hasn’t necessarily been the case. I think what you’re seeing is folks across the finance world who see their peers in sales and marketing, HR, legal, design, and engineering who have amazing SaaS-based tooling that gives them leverage. It saves them time. It makes them more powerful in their roles. So, I think on the finance side of the practice, what we’ve actually seen is folks are willing to try something new.”

Strategic CFOs prioritize deep collaboration with business leaders so they can become the connective tissue for the entire organization.

 

Excel with automation

Bijan believes that improving workflows that are self-serving, rather than adding to your list of responsibilities, will free up your time and provide more information to make more educated decisions.

He feels it is important to have an application like Mosaic that can accomplish that by providing real-time analysis and reporting, giving you perspective on your company’s past, present, and future. Adding automation to data ingestion and processing can help focus your business forecasting and scenario planning to be ready for anything that may come up.

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