Kirstine Archer, CFO at Bam Boom Cloud, has over 20 years working in finance with the purpose of helping small to midsize businesses achieve their goals by increasing their efficiency through technology. However, her role isn’t just about making sure the numbers balance. She is always striving for the company to have the best finance team around. Working for a company that delivers world class finance systems means that she is both their number one fan and number one customer.
In the latest episode of the CFO Playbook, Kirstine talks about the many opportunities that technology provides for improving the way finance works. She emphasizes the need for more competition among companies to develop newly innovative finance tech. Kirstine explains how the finance industry should challenge the status-quo situated around old technology to develop new innovations that would eliminate human errors. She discusses her unconventional path to becoming a leader in finance, including finding benefit from attending an open university and getting on the job experience early in her career. Kirstine also talks about her approach to creating a great team, and provides advice for becoming a successful CFO.
Moving horizontally across roles can be very important for one’s personal needs and development, and prove quite beneficial to their career aspirations. No one role in a well-balanced team is all-encompassing, including that of the CFO. In order to succeed as a team, each position should be tailored to the specific talents of the individual of that role, and vice versa.
“I don’t necessarily want a team where everybody wants to be CFO. I want a good, well-rounded team where, yeah some people are knocking down at my door wanting my job after me, but other people want to do the best they can at the job that they’ve got because they have family outside of work, or they have loved ones that they’re caring for, or actually they just don’t want the stress and the hassle of a high powered job because they want to finish on time and go and play football. I think a well balanced team and a well-balanced company should support that.”
Technology is making great leaps in industries across the globe, but some of the most-used financial platforms are highly outdated. Improvements can be made but not if people aren’t willing to step up and demand modern solutions.
“It still astounds me, today in 2022, the world’s global finance system is pretty much still held up by Excel. There is no finance function on earth that does not have an Excel spreadsheet somewhere. I think that’s symptomatic of the fact that actually as finance people, we don’t challenge the status quo enough sometimes. I think that sometimes, because we have month-end reporting and because we have to make sure that what we do gets done, we go, ‘I’d love to fix that but I haven’t got time and I need this to carry on working, it will do the job.’ And I think sometimes we need to be bigger advocates of the fact that this doesn’t work for us.”
Everybody makes mistakes. Adopting new technologies will alleviate the complications caused by human fallibility. While there’s growing cause for concern when it comes to autonomizing everything, robots can only go so far. Our livelihoods are saved by the value we provide as living beings, because computers can’t replace the thought processes of people.
“There are ways that you can use technology to speed every process up, every operational process. And the more that we do that, the more that you’re not reliant on humans and human fallibility and errors with that. As finance people, there’s nothing more frustrating than being like, ‘oh, someone forgot to do this,’ or ‘you posted something in the wrong way round.’ If we can remove that and get people doing what they should be doing, which is controlled checks, analysis, the data and the insight side of things, then we’ll all be better for it.”
The word ‘competition’ can have a negative connotation, but it shouldn’t. Two or more parties, competing simultaneously at developing a new technology, allows for growth, innovation, and individualism. This is highly necessary when it comes to achieving customer satisfaction and service, especially in the financial industry.
“I think there needs to be competition within this space. Otherwise you end up with just Excel again, just a newer version of Excel that everybody relies on. There needs to be competition. A single source is great and Microsoft enables that, but there has to be competition within the partners in terms of who’s going to get to market first…. A world without competition is a world without innovation. So it’s massively important that that continues.”