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5 Secrets to building a successful finance team

As CFO of the leading e-commerce site in Latin America, Tatiana Rezende needs to have an exceptional team behind her. Here are her tips for hiring the right people, and bringing out the best in them.

Posted on 11 October 2021 by Janelle Van Deventer
Tatiana Rezende, CFO of Nuvemshop
Tatiana Rezende, CFO of Nuvemshop

From engineering to banking, real estate to e-commerce, Tatiana Rezende’s career journey is unique and extensive.

Currently the CFO of Nuvemshop, the leading e-commerce platform in Latin America, Tatiana is growing her finance team in stride with the company’s booming business.

We recently interviewed Tatiana on The CFO Playbook podcast, where she shared her secrets to building a successful finance team.

1. Be transparent when hiring

The foundation of a good team is hiring the right people.

Tatiana says a big part of the hiring process is clearly conveying your beliefs – and your company’s beliefs – to potential job candidates. If people know what to expect from your company, they’re better able to determine if your company is the right fit for them, and vice versa.

Tatiana recommends you test for discomfort:

‘My way of testing is to be overly transparent, and align things a hundred times to feel if there is any discomfort. If the person’s willing to show discomfort and vulnerability in the process, and they show comfort in the topics that are very important to us, that could be a way to test someone.’

If you are transparent about your company’s beliefs and expectations, you will attract candidates who hold the same values.

2. Think short and long-term

As you build your finance team, have a vision for what you want your department to be able to accomplish in both the short and long term.

What do you need to accomplish next week? Three months from now? What about in five years? Understanding how your immediate needs translate into long-term goals will help you determine who to hire and when to hire them.

Tatiana says:

‘We need to be very aware of what our strengths are and where the places are that we don’t know that much, and hire more senior people where we know less, and hire less senior people where we know more, and have that very long-term perspective to be able to make the shorter-term decisions.’

The short term and the long term are both equally important to consider when building your team. The balance of these two perspectives will help you reach any milestone.

3. Eliminate inefficiencies

Everything your team does should be either required or useful for the company. If it’s neither, it’s a waste of time and resources.

If you want to get the most out of your team, Tatiana says you have to eliminate inefficiencies so your people can focus on the important things.

To determine if a task or system is useful, Tatiana asks herself these questions:

‘Why are we doing this? Is this a stepping stone towards a more robust reporting process that we need to have ready at one point in our life? Or is this truly useful to someone within the company? And if it’s neither, kill it.’

When you strip away unnecessary fillers and allow your team to focus only on the things that propel your company forward, you’ll be more efficient and your people will be motivated to accomplish important goals.

4. Foster an independent mindset

A well-built team is one that can run independently of your leadership when necessary.

As CFO, sometimes you have to step away from your team in order to help the business grow: fundraising, meeting with investors, responding to the CEO’s needs.

A strong team can function on their own and make the necessary decisions while you’re away, Tatiana says:

‘My role is to engage with these outside players and protect my team so they can keep things going. And that means that I need a strong team. I need a strong team that is aligned with me in what our goals are, that is very autonomous in making the decisions as well, and that doesn’t rely on me for the everyday decision-making processes.’

If you can foster an independent mindset within your team, you’ll push them toward autonomy and allow yourself the freedom to attend to larger business needs.

5. Cultivate empathy and authenticity

Empathetic and authentic leadership helps facilitate a better working environment and builds trust within your team.

Empathy doesn’t always come naturally, but if you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, Tatiana says it becomes much easier to relate to other people, whether they are team members, investors, or even members of your own family.

If you can be your authentic self, the right people will be drawn to your leadership, Tatiana says:

‘People identify with you more, and they see your vulnerability, and you almost force them to be empathic to you and to work with you in that same direction.’

When you are empathetic and authentic, it encourages your team to act the same way toward you, which will help to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and trust.

Together, you accomplish more

Your team is the bedrock on which your success lies. Make sure you hire people who are aligned with your goals and fulfill both your short- and long-term goals. If you can build a strong, independent, empathetic team, you’ll accomplish great things together.

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