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Episode 48: Highlight | Hiring & Retaining Talent

On this episode of The CFO Playbook, we share some of the best advice for hiring and retaining top-tier talent that we’ve received from finance leaders who have been guests on the show.

Lessons we cover in this episode:

The trends don’t lie: What CFOs are looking for from their candidates (and vice versa).

  1. CFOs are looking for technical fluency more than ever, and want candidates that have an understanding of multiple aspects both within the finance domain and beyond. The days of siloed roles are coming to an end.  
  2. Talent benefits from an empathetic leader who will provide a clear career path for the finance team member, and this is increasingly becoming a requirement for CFOs.

Hiring tips to build a dynamic team of business partners, risk takers, and those looking for a challenge. 

  1. EQ is key when you’re hiring a finance team member who will engage with and partner with other lines of business. 
  2. Be transparent and observant throughout the hiring process to ensure the candidate is a good fit.
  3. Expand your talent pool if your company is set up for remote work.

Hire a mix of experienced finance experts and green talent with potential.

  1. As CFO it’s important to have a balanced team of talent you can nurture and talent that can help you fill in the gaps of your knowledge base.
  2. Regardless of experience level, you need to show up as a mentor and leader for your team to help them reach their full potential.

Hire for technology

  1. Technology literacy is as important as technical finance skills.
  2. Hiring for automation has the downstream impact of opening up opportunities for your team and making them happier at their jobs.

Once you’ve built your team, incentivize them to stick around.

  1. Cultivate an employee first work culture.
  2. Make sure your company goals are clear, and that you’ve laid out identifiable career paths for your finance team members so they know what they’re working towards.

Guests Featured 

Name: Tony Russo

What he does: Tony Russo is the CFO of Imply, a full stack, multi-cloud data platform pioneering ‘analytics-in-motion.’ With a successful track record scaling B2B SaaS and enterprise software companies through organic growth and acquisitions, Tony has a wealth of knowledge about evaluating opportunities as a CFO.

Key Quote: “One of the things that I’ve started to do more of over the last–call it five years–is I try to do a better job figuring out if we have the right investments in people in the right roles.”       

Where to find Tony: LinkedIn

Name: Anup Singh

What he does: In Anup’s second CFO role, at Clearwell Systems, he intentionally built a positive culture that contributed to the company winning an award for being one of the best places to work in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. With 15 years’ experience as a CFO at various companies, he currently holds the position at cybersecurity company Illumio.  

Key Quote: “I absolutely think as a leader…you should aspire to be the least smart person in the room. You hire really smart people.”                

Where to find Anup: LinkedIn

Name: Jeannie De Guzman

What she does: Jeannie De Guzman is the CFO at 1Password, a $2B password management company trusted by more than 90,000 businesses. In her role as CFO, Jeannie makes sure finance functions as a valued business partner to the rest of the organization, and implements modern tools that help her people do more meaningful work.

Key Quote: “I like to hire people that I could have lunch with and have a conversation with just back and forth and it doesn’t have to be about finance, but it can be about anything.”         

Where to find Jeannie: LinkedIn

Name: Craig Foster

What he does: Craig is the CFO at Picsart, a suite of online photo and video editing applications with a social creative community. With over 25 years of management experience and having worked on 35 IPOs, Craig is carrying those accomplishments and relationships forward to create value for his team and the company.

Key Quote: “So I think that creating a really nice balance between the two of having people that can provide mentorship and then having really young talent that you can move through a system very, very quickly based on their own attributes creates kind of like red leveling for us.”          

Where to find Craig: LinkedIn

Name: Tatiana Rezende

What She Does: Tatiana Rezende is CFO of Nuvemshop, a Brazil-based e-commerce platform that leads the e-commerce industry in Latin America.

Key Quote: “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 who doesn’t have a history of taking risks.”

Where to find Tatiana: LinkedIn

Name: Ross Tennenbaum

What he does: Ross is the CFO at Avalara, a SAAS company building cloud-based tax compliance solutions to handle every transaction in the world. Two years into his first tenure as CFO, he’s applied what he learned from years in investment banking to understand the business, invest in technology, and build an engaged finance team.

Key Quote: “We hired some people that come from doing automation in finance departments at other companies… I think that that is money really, really well spent.”           

Where to find Ross: LinkedIn

Name: David Harutian

What he does: David Harutian is the VP of Finance at Qualified, a conversational sales and marketing platform. David brings his experiences as an adviser in investment banking and corporate development in-house leading the finance team of the hypergrowth tech startup.

Key Quote: “Even though we are paying competitive salary and equity packages, I would say the appeal ends up being the type of work that they would be doing.”      

Where to find David: LinkedIn

Name: Steve Gallucci

What He Does: Steve is the Global & US National Managing Partner of the CFO Program at Deloitte, which harnesses the broad capabilities of the firm to deliver forward-thinking insights for every stage of a CFO’s career. With 30 years of experience at Deloitte, Steve helps CFOs manage the complexities of their roles, tackle compelling challenges, and adapt to strategic shifts in the market.

Key Quote: “CFOs have to be that empathetic leader and understand some of the challenges that they have as an organization, but how does their work, what challenges their workforce have, how do they create career growth.”

Where to find Steve: LinkedIn & Twitter

Top quotes:

“What CFOs are thinking about from a talent perspective, they want capabilities within their organization that has tech fluency. Well, it’s not to diminish the importance of technical ability and understanding things like treasury and accounting and taxation. Those things are certainly going to continue to be required, but that needs to be augmented and enabled with capabilities around tech fluency, an underlying attribute that they want out of their finance teams is agility.” – Steve Gallucci

“I think by expanding the aperture of where you’re willing to hire. I think by being willing to say, ‘okay, there’s some senior leaders that aren’t on the ground here and that’s okay.’ It’s opened up more opportunities. That said, everyone else is doing that, too.” – Ross Tennenbaum

“One of our big challenges right now is we are in what I would say, hyper-growth stage, you know, quadrupling and tripling. We were hiring so many people. It is imperative to make sure that operationally our systems are communicating accurately and the data is flowing accurately to the right locations where we can actually then extract it and analyze it.” – David Harutian

“Empathetic culture, career paths are really important. How do you create the vacuum where you can actually pull people up and people can see. ‘Hey, things are moving. I can put my hand up. I can get a career path going. I don’t have to just go look outside the company.’” – Ross Tennenbaum