Business, The CFO Playbook

Justin’s Playbook: Finding the mix between efficient and effective

8 March 2023  |   5 minutes read
Image of Justin Lackey

This episode of the CFO Playbook features an interview with Justin Lackey, CFO at Asset Panda, an asset tracking and management SaaS platform.

Justin talks with us about the importance of data analysis, maintaining transparency, navigating risk appetite when conducting business during black swan events like the Covid-19 pandemic, and adapting to and remaining motivated in remote work environments.

Become obsessed with revenue

Revenue is the lifeblood of every business. When it comes to finding the balance between being efficient and effective, increasing revenue is the ultimate goal. The light at the end of the tunnel.

From Justin’s perspective, CFOs require a complete understanding of revenue generation is key.

“I like to look at everything as a revenue-generating role, right? What are you doing to impact revenue? Whether it’s a tweak you’re making in our sales process, our marketing process, or insights you’re helping give them, there’s a direct downstream impact on revenue for that.

“Becoming obsessed with that revenue side of the business, I think is important for any young analyst or any CFO.”

Digesting and sharing data analysis

Finance is a numbers game. And as Justin notes, we’re really living in a golden age for data analysis nerds. Technology enables us to get incredibly granular. That’s great — but, of course, not everyone in the business is as clued up on finance.

Great, you’ve got all this info. But does everyone else grasp it, too? “I think a good quality for a CFO or CRO is, can you take complexity and make it digestible.

“That is always the million dollar question of, okay, we have this preexisting analytics set of historical information. How do I put this into an action item and how do I deliver it so anyone can understand it?”

Navigating risk appetite

Quick thinking and action keep you ahead. It’s important to look down the line and make predictions based on what you know. Lead with a hunch, backed by whatever data you have at the time, and be prepared to adjust course when necessary.

“I think haste of pivot is super important. Boils back down to that data collection piece of, how long is too long for a project to kind of run its course.

“You have the opportunity to act much quicker based on leading indicators than you could’ve. It’s not all about waiting until seeing the win rate anymore, waiting until seeing total revenue, right? You can kind of grab some of that upfront data analysis, make some pretty educated guesses, and pivot quickly.”

Adapting to remote work

With remote work, it’s more important than ever to find a balance between being efficient and effective. A proper combination of the two can afford one the ability to succeed in their field, and consequently, their own life.

“There’s a famous kind of mindset model that talks about the different zones that people can find themselves in. And there’s a reactive zone and a proactive zone, along with a waste and a distraction zone, things like that.

We spend a lot of time in that reactive zone today, but we’re not necessarily using time in the proactive zone that can lead to efficiencies within that reactive zone. What am I doing day-to-day that really could be automated that’s taking up a lot of my time, and how do I invest that time back into my personal life.”

You can listen to the full interview with Justin Lackey here. Like what you hear? Subscribe to the podcast!

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