Episode #1

Leading During Uncertainty & Change

Krista K. Lewis, the owner of KKL Consulting LLC, shares why now, more than ever, it's so important for finance leaders to partner with the business and lead others through these challenging times of uncertainty.

"I think there's lots of things under expense management that definitely the CFO or finance team should be looking at in uncertainty. Let's make sure we're not spending unnecessarily right and spending in the right areas".

Please note that the transcript is AI-generated and may contain errors. Podcast is not intended as advice and is meant for informational and entertainment purposes only.

(00:00:00) Chris: What’s up everybody? This is Chris Ortega, the Fresh CFO of finance.

(00:00:19) Chris: Today we’ll be talking with Krista Lewis, who’s the owner of KKL Consulting, as she shares her thoughts on leading during uncertainty and change, and why it’s important for CFOs to deeply know the business and business partners they serve.

(00:00:35) Chris: Welcome Krista Lewis.

(00:00:37) Krista: Thanks so much for having me, Chris. I’m really excited to be your first guest speaker on your podcast.

(00:00:43) Chris: Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much for joining in today’s topic. I’m really excited for all the guests. Listen, all the uncertainty, challenge and difficulty that’s going on in finance for the office of the CFO. F it is all across the board. It seems every week you wake up and there’s some.

(00:00:58) Chris: Something going on in finance. So today’s topic that we’ll talk about is leading during uncertainty and challenge. This is typically, I think, probably one of the most important hats that any fractional, any CFO, any finance leader is wearing right now. So let’s kick it right off. Krista, my first question to you is, given the continued uncertainty that we’re seeing in the macro and global environments, how can finance partner better with the business?

(00:01:24) Krista: I would say the foundation is communication, right? So many people in the business, they’re not finance brains, right? You have salespeople, you have creatives doing marketing. You have just so many different thinkers and finance needs to communicate, I think even more than you would normally when there’s uncertainty.

(00:01:46) Krista: What’s the plan, right? What are the areas of concern? Maybe it’s. Cost cutting. Or maybe it’s increasing sales, right? Cost cutting isn’t always the answer, but just that communication piece. Does everyone know what’s happening? Because people will make up their own story, right? If you don’t give them the story, they’re going to make it up.

(00:02:06) Krista: And we don’t want them making it up, right? So how do we reassure them with what’s really happening? What’s the real information so that they can do their jobs better and work as a team?

(00:02:18) Chris: Krista, love it. Communication. And I love how you then start with the calculations, right? So much in finance.

(00:02:25) Chris: We spend so much time giving our calculations to the business. And like that communication aspect, it really highlights, I think one of the most important aspects of any finance organization, right? And it’s one of those soft skills, right? Communication is so important in bringing that clarity to the business.

(00:02:41) Chris: So I’m glad you kicked that one off in terms of communication, right? When you look at some of these macro trends that you’re seeing around uncertainty, and a lot of the challenges that the office of the CFO is facing, what are some of those core areas of focus, so getting into the details.

(00:02:56) Chris: We talked about communication being one of those superpowers that finance can have with the business. What are some of those core areas that all finance leaders, CFOs, and fractional CFOs need to be working with the business in right now to continue to navigate that?

(00:03:12) Krista: I would say there are two. So one is how effective is your sales part of your business? So many times the CFO just provides information, but there’s no. Collaboration or working through, what information does your sales team need to do a better job?

(00:03:31) Krista: What information does your sales leader need? What reports, what KPIs are we’re measuring the right KPIs? Should we be measuring something different? I would say that’s number one, the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. And then the second of course, is always cash management, right? Are there expenses that could be reduced?

(00:03:51) Krista: Different contracts that could be negotiated differently. I think there’s lots of things under expense management that definitely the CFO or finance team should be looking at in uncertainty. Let’s make sure we’re not spending unnecessarily right and spending in the right areas. Of course, too to,

(00:04:11) Chris: Definitely. You talked about two of the top moments, right? Like revenue top line, and like I’ve always advised and toed clients and where I think every CFO like if you’re waking up every day, whether you’re a CFO in a small to medium sized high growth business, or you’re a fractional CFO, like cash is everything right now.

(00:04:29) Chris: Cash is probably the most important metric that everybody, every. Everybody should be taken care of right now. I would add, Kristen, I want to get your input on this aspect of it. I would add to that in saying that another core area of CFOs, fractional CFOs and finance leaders to be focused on is definitely around the people side, I stress that as another one. I 100% agree that obviously revenue, top line and cash management are hugely important. But I think also that people aspect of it, right? Because when you look at that revenue side of it, it’s the salespeople, it’s people, which talks about your first point, right?

(00:05:06) Chris: Which is communication. How can finance. Have a better lens around people and that all starts with better communication we have with the We can’t provide, in your example that you mentioned, the value of working on the sales top line, if we can’t communicate with the business if we can’t talk to sales or we don’t know the business, there’s no way we’re going to be effective around it.

(00:05:29) Chris: So I think like diving into that third piece of it, what role do you think people. With finance organizations and CFOs in terms of continuing to navigate uncertainty, what people aspects do you think fit into that, in navigating that uncertainty?

(00:05:43) Krista: People are critical. they’re not robots. Your people are not just there to do something, right? They have feelings and they have concerns and they have fears. So I think understanding what their fears are or what they’re worried about.

(00:05:57) Krista: Because they may see something that as the c f. you’re not even aware of, right? They may be hearing things from clients, for example, your sales team that you don’t even know, and if you don’t have that relationship with them and you’re not talking to them and understanding kind of what they’re seeing, you’re making blind decisions,

(00:06:17) Chris: Facts. Facts. Like that aspect of being able to connect to the business and like you talked about, I love your first point. It’s going to lead this whole conversation, which is around that communication, right? And this, I don’t know about you, Krista, and maybe we’ll dive into this one, but I don’t know about you, but.

(00:06:33) Chris: I never took on the CPA exam how to be a great communicator.

(00:06:37) Krista: Yeah, no.

(00:06:38) Chris: There wasn’t maybe it wasn’t the section at, maybe it was the section right after audit, right? You get to be, the communication this is a fundamental gap, right? And we see it in our conversation where we’re talking about communicating with sales.

(00:06:50) Chris: We’re seeing about how we talk about cash manage. You talked about it on the people side of it, like this communication aspect of it, and I think it’s to even add towards that, like consistent communication. I think a lot of finance organizations and you know from your side as well too, working in finance and actually serving clients as a fractional CFO of KKL consulting.

(00:07:12) Chris: You have to be able to build that connection in that communication, right? You have to be able to find a way to say, Hey, I’m sitting across from this VP of sales and they may have just missed their last three quarters of bookings or revenue proj you know, but I know I need to make sure that we’re driving.

(00:07:30) Chris: The through uncertainty and challenge, right? So let’s go into that people and that communication aspect during uncertainty. What is like what you’ve seen from your experience, some of those great initiatives that you can work on with the business to increase that communication during uncertainty and challenge.

(00:07:48) Krista: Yeah, for sure. So I love your word consistency, so you know you can communicate, like you can have. your town halls and give the big speech, right? But if you’re not following up on it, number one, you lose trust. And I think trust is critical in your people, you, they have to trust you. They have to trust the finance part of the business.

(00:08:12) Krista: They have to know that the information they’re getting is accurate and valuable. And so having consistent, whether it’s reporting or follow ups with the VP of sales, for example, understanding what their needs are, just you have to do the same thing. If you give the report on Friday, give the report on Friday.

(00:08:34) Krista: If you said you’re going to follow up with them with X, Y, and Z data point follow up. When you said you would like, it’s. Doing what you say you’re going to do, building the trust with those teams. That’s how you build the collaboration. Because I think too many times sales and finance can be at odds, right?

(00:08:54) Krista: Because the salespeople want to go be salespeople, right? They don’t want all the details.

(00:08:58) Chris: Yeah,

(00:09:00) Krista: and that’s why they’re good at what they do, right? That’s not a negative. It’s not it, but finance, we want the details, right? We want to give you all the information. So how do you work together to make sure you’re giving effective information on a regular basis, I think is key.

(00:09:17) Chris: Yeah, most definitely. I think we’re talking about all the Cs right now. We’re talking about challenge. We’re talking about communication. We’re talking about collaboration. We’re talking about consistency. I think we’re just like on the sea train right now.

(00:09:28) Chris: today. But but yeah, I can’t agree with you more like.

(00:09:31) Chris: It. That is 100%. And you talked about something that I think is a wild card for a lot of finance teams and a lot of CFOs, right? You talked about trust, like one of the most important, like when you look back, like you look back during the pandemic, right? I always look at the pandemic as like a turning point in.

(00:09:50) Chris: The office of the CFO and the disruption and the legacy that we can leave. Because in that moment you had a lot of the chief marketing officers. You had a lot of the VPs of sales. You had a lot of the CROs that said, you know what? We don’t know how to navigate this challenge and uncertainty that we’re having with this pandemic.

(00:10:09) Chris: and those CFOs that stepped up, they were great communicators, they were great collaborators. They built connection in the business. They were able to set a new baseline of expectation of what the business and the CFO and the finance organization involve around then. But it hits to the point where you just mentioned.

(00:10:29) Chris: it was trust, right? You have to be at a very vulnerable position to say, Hey, I don’t know how to navigate this, so I’m going to trust you, CDO, I’m going to trust you fractional CFO, to help us navigate this uncertainty. So let’s dive deep into that because I think that’s such an important part of the business partnership with finance and the business that can help drive some of that sales, some of that cash.

(00:10:55) Chris: So when you think about trust for the finance and trust inside the business, how can finance teams, how can CFOs, how can fractional CFOs build trust with their finance business partners during uncertainty and challenge?

(00:11:09) Krista: So I think it starts with building a relationship, right? So when we think of old school CFO, right? They were accountants are you the term bean counters, right? And so they, I think that a lot of times the organization thought of the finance team or the accounting team, they sit over there to the side, right?

(00:11:28) Krista: And they just. run their little calculators and give us spreadsheets, and that’s all they do. But the thing about finance and accounting that so many people don’t realize is we get to see the business in a whole different light than anyone else.

(00:11:44) Chris: Yes.

(00:11:45) Krista: not as siloed as, oh, I’m going to do my marketing, or I’m going to go reach out to clients, right?

(00:11:50) Krista: We get to see how all of it affects everything else. And I think that helping. your organization, understand how you have that bigger picture view. I kind of Call it future CFO, right? That looking forward and not just being the bean counter, right? You have to help the organization see the bigger picture, how each action affects something else, right?

(00:12:17) Krista: So yeah, that’s what I would say on that. I think.

(00:12:19) Chris: I love it, and I think you just broke down a lot of silo and shout out to all of those finance and CFO and fractional CFOs that are no longer the bean counters. It’s like that has been such a stereotype. I don’t know about you, Krista, but I’ve told people and I’m like, yeah know, I’m a fractional CFO and I’ve been in finance, and they’re like, oh, like you just do spreadsheets all day.

(00:12:40) Chris: No, that’s not what we do. That’s not what we do all day. That’s not what we talk about. And I love how you said like it’s crossing and it’s moving out of that. We have to level up our value. And to me, I’ve always looked at it. There’s no better time to level up your value when things are in chaos and confusion.

(00:13:00) Chris: Like when everything’s going and you’re growing 50% and you got 45, 48 months of cash, runway. There’s no banking being collapsed, there’s no global recession we’re going through right when everything’s sun shining and roses. But there’s opportunity and challenge. There’s opportunity in uncertainty, and it’s exactly what you just said it.

(00:13:22) Chris: This is our opportunity to say we’re not the bean counters, we’re not over in the corner cranking through our Excel models. Like we can come out in the business, we can understand the business, we can meet you where you are, and we can actually produce value. I just want to say for all the listeners for the first time, I think what Krista’s saying is we’re getting away from being the support function and we’re going to be revenue producing inside the organization.

(00:13:48) Krista: yeah I believe in one of the things I try to say to potential clients is, your finance and accounting function should be an asset, not an overhead.

(00:13:58) Chris: boom.

(00:13:59) Krista: right. Chris. Isn’t that what you try to, when you know, bring value?

(00:14:02) Chris: That is tremendous. I’ve never heard it that way. But yeah, we should be capitalized on the balance sheet, not expensed on the p and l. I love it. I love it.

(00:14:09) Krista: it. Absolutely.

(00:14:10) Chris: Krista I want everybody, every listener that’s going to go back and through that. If you source it, if you talk about it, like you got to give Krista her roses.

(00:14:19) Chris: She’s the first one to say that finance needs to be an asset. We need to be cap, we need to be capitalized on the balance. We need to no longer be expensed on the income statement. I love it. I love it.

(00:14:29) Chris: Yeah, so jump in. I mean talking about that as well too, like the partnership, the relationship building aspect of it side.

(00:14:35) Chris: Like when you look back through some of I know you do a lot of client work and some of the industries that you support. Like when you think about that relationship building aspect of it, it can be scary for a lot of finance people, right? Like we’re talking about people that. Are typically introverted.

(00:14:50) Chris: They’re typically like they’re comfortable in their Excels, they’re comfortable in their calculations, they’re comfortable in the knowledge of their IFRS and US gap. What would be one piece of advice or one quick tip that you can give those finance leaders, those CFOs, those fractional CFOs, about partnering in building that relationship with the business to help them navigate.

(00:15:11) Krista: Yeah. So I identify myself as an introvert for sure. I love to sit quietly and read books, Like All by myself, But I think when we do our jobs, for me, I’m passionate about doing the work that I do, right? So I think that helping other people understand that is how. I worked through getting past that introvert kind of fence for me.

(00:15:34) Krista: You don’t have to go speak in front of the town hall. It’s just one relationship at a time, whether that’s with the someone else on the leadership team or one of the salespeople. Just ask ’em for a coffee or ask for a lunch or when if you work across the country.

(00:15:53) Krista: Video, coffee, right? And just try to, just slowly, it doesn’t have to be a lot, you don’t have to give them your life story, but just to understand more what are, what do they see in the business, right? Just ask questions. What is their favorite thing to do? Why do they like their job? It doesn’t have to be complicated or overly scary.

(00:16:13) Krista: Just simple.

(00:16:15) Chris: I love it. Very simple, and I think we throw another C in our C soup that we’re doing today. Cur curiosity, right? That’s exactly what you just talked about, right? I think we talk about. Being great communicators. We talk about the collaboration. That’s what you just mentioned, right? The, this, the third point you just talked about was curiosity.

(00:16:35) Chris: When I look back over my finance career and I look at some of the best people I’ve hired, and I look at a superpower that I have, right? I come from the other side of the fence. I’m more of an extrovert. I’m more of like, how’s this guy even in finance? How’s this guy a fractional CFO? How’s this guy even doing this?

(00:16:50) Chris: So I come from a different. But one thing I think that is that middle ground that we talked about, right? How can you go from learning the, like not knowing the business to like getting down that road, to building that trusted partnership and that relationship with the business. The superpower for all those listeners.

(00:17:07) Chris: Curiosity, be curious. And one actionable tip I want to give everybody in building that relationship is ask this one question, one simple question, what problems, opportunities, frustrations, and challenges do you see inside of your functional area in your business? If you’re talking with a prospect or a client, and how can I help support you in solving that, right?

(00:17:30) Krista: Oh, great question

(00:17:32) Chris: Huge question. And what that does is like too many times, like right Krista, we talk about the traditional mindset. Finance is like, Hey, go do this budget, go fill this out, get this to me by the end of the day tomorrow, right? We c throwing another C in there. We command the business, we command the business to do something for us.

(00:17:50) Chris: Versus like saying, Hey, like I want to come from a curiosity. And what that does it de neutralizes. It, he, it helps you say, Hey, I’m struggling. Can you help me better understand your business? Can you help me understand your business pain? Can you help me better understand your business? Frustrations?

(00:18:06) Chris: Can you help me better understand your business challenges? Right now? You have come to that business partner and you’ve completely de neutralized and said, oh yeah, like you’re coming from a place that you want to see clarity, you want to understand, and curiosity is a superpower. So thank you so much for sharing that.

(00:18:22) Chris: Kristen, I think it’s hugely.

(00:18:24) Krista: I love your question. I think that’s a great kind of icebreaker.

(00:18:28) Chris: Yeah, I use it. I use it. I’ve used it in my professional career when I’ve been leading high growth organizations from, and I actually use it in my business, in my Fresh FP&A business and ask clients the same thing. It’s a great leading question that just opens it up to it. People are going to take it the way they want to take it, right?

(00:18:44) Chris: But, One of the most important things is it breaks that silo down because a lot of people have baselines of how they interacted with finance before, right? Like I’m pretty sure you see this in your business, right? You get across and you can see like that scepticism that business partner, that prospect, that client has in maybe in their previous interactions with finance, right?

(00:19:05) Chris: So it’s a way of like setting the tone to say, Hey, I’m not going to be your commander. I’m going to be your person in the trenches with you to help navigate this uncertainty and challenge.

(00:19:15) Krista: Yep. Because it isn’t in the trenches thing, right? You have to partner up, you have to go alongside your other divisions within your organization and really work together. That’s how you navigate uncertainty.

(00:19:30) Chris: Oh yeah, 100%. And I think a lot of it talks about what you mentioned earlier, right? Getting into the business and though like your first point, I loved it where you talked about what is the biggest area to make an impact is around the sales side of the business. If there’s one takeaway that you can get that full experience around the business, you’d be surprised, Kristen, and maybe you see this.

(00:19:50) Chris: How many finance people you ask and you ask them like, Hey, how do you make money? And what’s your business like? What’s your ideal customer and what’s your go to market? And they’re just like, I don’t know, man. I do the debits and credits and the balance sheet reconciliations. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

(00:20:03) Chris: But getting in that revenue side of the business, fundamental way of learning so much about the business.

(00:20:09) Krista: Well, and you can do the debits and credits better, right? Like when you understand the business and how the business actually makes money, then you’re going to be able to see trends or notice things that are out of line.

(00:20:21) Krista: You go, that’s weird, right? Or just, again, cur being curious and asking more questions to try to better understand. Are you coding things the right way to provide information for other people? Definitely.

(00:20:36) Chris: Yeah. Another aspect, so we talked a lot about today, about breathing that communication outside the finance organization, right? Building that with the business you talked about. The two key areas around revenue and cash management. how can finance work better in finance? So let’s go internal, right?

(00:20:52) Chris: How can finance CFOs, how can finance leaders, how can fractional CFOs work better in terms of navigating uncertainty and challenge within the finance organization?

(00:21:02) Krista: I would say it goes back to one of the C words, curiosity, right? Asking the questions are we. Doing the right things still right? Being able to question your processes and saying, does this process still work? Does this way of doing things, is it still effective for the business? And I believe you have to continuously look at your processes, look at your systems, are.

(00:21:31) Krista: other applications out there that can do a certain part of your work faster so that you could provide value work and not repetition work. That’s, I, but just being curious, trying to ask the questions and, and being critical of your own internal processes. How do we do better so that the business can do better?

(00:21:49) Chris: Boom, man, you’ve got all the great insights. How can we do better? So the business can do better. Let’s go. I, this, I like, I love it. Right? And I think so much of that too is you brought up a great point. It’s leading by example, right? Looking back over my career and leading high growth businesses, both in SaaS, retail, e-commerce, and pharma I’ve always looked at it and said, you know what?

(00:22:12) Chris: Like how can we, if we are not, if we’re not the most. . If we’re not the best communicators, if we’re not the best collaborators, if we’re not building connection with inside of our own department, how can we have that same expectation outside of the business, right? Like we have to make sure our shop is right and we got to make sure we do those things internally.

(00:22:31) Chris: And you talked about a great point. It starts in the processes. I think too many times a lot of finance leaders and a lot of CFOs, and maybe it’s some fractional CFOs, They have like the accounting in one group, right? And you have FP&A in another group, and then you have treasury and they’re all like siloed.

(00:22:50) Chris: They’re all like disengaged and decentralized. The moment that we can make sure we’re passing those batons against those different functional areas inside of our own group, the most effective way. Then we can say, Hey we’ve proven the success here. Let’s go now make our impact across the business.

(00:23:07) Chris: And it all starts with building that foundation, making sure we’re making sure that we know those key processes and making sure that we’re developing great relationships inside of our own teams. That’s so important.

(00:23:19) Krista: Yeah. Yeah. It starts with yourself, like with anything, right? And so starting with your own organization and to your point, just to repeat what you said, right? Because it’s so true, you have to start with your team before you can expect other teams to do something different, right?

(00:23:33) Chris: Yeah, definitely. So as we look into crystal ball with the this whole topic is leading during challenge and uncertainty, right? As a fractional C f O. I know you’re working with a lot of different clients, like how, what are the top three things you’re telling them to think about as like, like like they continue to navigate the uncertainty and challenge that they’re facing.

(00:23:53) Krista: So the first one, of course, we already mentioned it, but cash, right? Do we have a good forecast and cash management plan in place? Because if you don’t know how much cash you have available or when you’re going to need more cash, You’re just setting yourself up for frustration and potential failure.

(00:24:10) Krista: So cash is first. You have to make sure you know your cash plan. And then I go back to the sales, right? Know what your sales plan is. Do you have a good sales forecast? And when I say good sales forecast, I’m going to clarify something that it’s a collaborative sales forecast, not just what your salespeople think that they’re going to do, right?

(00:24:33) Krista: Is it realistic? And then is it flexible? Are you re, are you iterating either monthly, might be too much depending on your business, but at least quarterly, semi-annually. Are you making sure that you’re monitoring it so that you can make effective decisions in real time?

(00:24:51) Chris: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And I love that point that you called out realistic, right? I think too many times,

(00:24:57) Krista: I love salespeople. We couldn’t do our jobs without ’em. We wouldn’t have jobs. But sometimes they think everything’s going to close. Yeah, shout. Shout out to all those optimistic and salespeople,

(00:25:10) Krista: They are optimistic. Hundred percent.

(00:25:12) Chris: I, and I love it because they sit across and we sit across and I remember being in conversations Krista with sales leaders and I remember walking in and saying, Hey, I’m walking through our Q1 forecast and I want to build a plan around it.

(00:25:23) Chris: And I remember the VP of sales sitting across from me and saying, We don’t need a plan. I’m pretty confident we’re going to hit, we’re going to hit our Q1 forecast, we’re going to overachieve it. I’m like, I like the confidence and I like the words, but like, how are we going to do that? And it’s just Chris, it’s not about the how, like just you got to have trust in me.

(00:25:40) Chris: I’m like, I do trust you. It’s not about a trust thing. It’s but if we don’t have a plan, we’re planning to, if we don’t have a plan, we’re going to plan. Plan to fail. Without a plan, you’re planning to fail.

(00:25:51) Krista: Then it’s just a hope.

(00:25:53) Chris: Yeah. Then it’s just a hope. Unless last time I checked and this is me aging myself, right?

(00:25:58) Chris: Going back to all of my high school business classes, I didn’t, I don’t think hope is a business strategy, right? Hope isn’t a business strategy.

(00:26:05) Krista: Nope. It’s not. But you are I will reiterate; I’m not trying to pick on salespeople. They are optimistic and they you know, but we want to make sure that we’re not. over-inflating the sales forecast, right?

(00:26:18) Krista: Because if you say we’re going to do X, Y, and Z, that would mean you need to hire 10 more people. Then you go hire 10 people, but then the sales don’t come in. You’ve really put yourself in a, in a very uncomfortable position, right? So that’s being realistic just means let’s just be good stewards, right?

(00:26:37) Krista: And make sure that we’re being mindful and not overestimating and putting the company in a negative.

(00:26:43) Chris: Definitely. I agree 100%. And I think if you look at some of the recent news around a lot of the layoffs, right? A lot of tech organizations laying people off. A lot of it was those unrealistic expectations that they had, right? Like they were riding like pandemic waves of people sitting at home and buying more software, buying more technology.

(00:27:02) Chris: And they thought that was going to be continue. And then you’ve seen a market change where people are going back, people were and you see the collateral damage around that. You see a lot of people making decisions. You see, increases in in, in venture capital debt because people are trying to fund.

(00:27:17) Chris: The assumptions that they had that really didn’t pan out. So I think it’s really important. And like you talked about, that’s a, like building a realistic, but yet I always called it like a, like it made you feel uncomfortable, but it was like that nice stretch where you’re like, yeah, this is stretching the business, but it’s not stretching to the point where the business can break.

(00:27:37) Chris: And it’s always that delicate balance. But as you talked about and as you. That consistent communication, that monitoring that, tracking that, making sure you’re having those touch points to make sure, hey, it’s three different ways. Are we moving the right direction? It’s like in a car.

(00:27:54) Chris: Should we put more gas on it? Should we slow down or should we get off the exit? Like right now, right?

(00:27:58) Chris: That’s gone

(00:27:59) Krista: example. I love.

(00:28:01) Chris: Yeah, that’s kind of like as I think about leading through that, right? That’s one of the three decisions you’re trying to make. Do we pour more gas? And as we could work inside the business and as we can provide that clarity as we can provide that communication, as we can provide that collaboration that’s how we level up our value.

(00:28:19) Krista: Hundred percent. I think you just summed it up,

(00:28:23) Chris: Awesome, awesome. One last question while we have you here is what is the number one hot finance trend that you see and.

(00:28:31) Krista: So I’m a tech nerd at heart, so I always joke, maybe I should have been a computer science major, but I would say the trend is payments, right? So the way we pay vendors, the way we get paid is changing, right? I know a lot of organizations use NetSuite or dynamics that are bigger platforms, but even think of small businesses using a QuickBooks online, for example, right now, they have a really good integrated platform with Plat, right?

(00:29:01) Krista: You can pay vendors right out of the platform, right? You don’t have to go to a third party like a bill.com or, and bill.com is great. Just that change, like it’s changing really fast. Like at what point is, for example, Venmo going to be or PayPal as paying big vendors, right? I mean, I, I don’t know.

(00:29:23) Krista: I’m just saying like that speed of payment, that speed of transactions how will blockchain and all of those things, Just continue to change how we manage the money as a C F O, right? How are, how is treasury working? How are we moving money around from an investment account to a money market account or just your basic operating account that just, that payment transaction I think is changing quickly.

(00:29:54) Krista: And I think it’s something to really be mindful of. And.

(00:29:57) Chris: Yeah, most definitely. And it talks about that second point that you talked about is that cash flow management, right? Where you can equip CFOs with best-in-class central source technology around payments, right? And give them that flexibility to know their payments, to have management of the virtual ghost cards and to manage their cash spending to manage their SAS spending.

(00:30:17) Chris: I think there’s huge opportunities and that that’s 100% what mesh payments does, right? So you talked about it. So to all of those CFOs, to all of those fractional CFOs and finance leaders looking for that payment to kind of help them manage ultimately that payment outflow, which is going to have that cashflow impact there’s definitely a lot of great technologies out there that you can leverage.

(00:30:38) Chris: Krista

(00:30:39) Krista: just add, if I can add one quick thing to that too is that payment processing? I think with the fraud and security issues, like with paper checks for example, right?

(00:30:50) Krista: Like those are so easy to duplicate. And one client I had, they had a vendor, they were paying. wherever they were, there was a group that was coming into the mail delivery person and pressuring them to give them the mail. And then they were taking the checks, like that and so this stuff happens, right?

(00:31:14) Krista: It’s real and paper checks are such a high-risk way to make payments. So those are just, I think thinking about fraud and all of that kind of goes together, right? To manage your risk of your business and just being on top of all of those chances of things happening that you don’t want to happen.

(00:31:33) Chris: Yeah. And I think that’s definitely technology where that comes to help a lot of that. I it is crazy because I you I have a lot of international clients that we work with and it’s like anytime they talk about the US and they’re like, why the US still doing paper checks? And its paper checks are like so old school.

(00:31:49) Chris: You know what I mean? Like we are in the,

(00:31:50) Chris: we

(00:31:50) Krista: still are.

(00:31:51) Chris: people are still using it. But I think you brought up a great point of making sure that fraud detection. Like having a tool in technology to help you optimize and navigate and prevent a lot of those fraud, all things hugely important to the office of CFO and other fractional CFOs.

(00:32:06) Chris: Awesome Krista, thank you so much. This has been such a great conversation. If people want to learn more about kk l consulting or learn more about you or follow you, where can they follow you? Where can they learn more about KK l consult?

(00:32:20) Krista: Sure. My website, obviously the easiest place would be, it’s www K k L hyphen or dash whatever generation you’re in.

(00:32:28) Krista: You want to call it consulting.com. And I, you can find me on LinkedIn crystal Lewis, you can find me pretty easily. Yeah, and then just reach out. I’d be happy to have a conversation. The focus for me. Why I started my business is I wanted to help smaller, mid-size companies really understand their financial piece of their business and be financially healthy.

(00:32:54) Krista: I think a lot of owners sometimes are they don’t have all the information and so they’re making decisions a little bit without all the details. So I want to help businesses be stronger, be more healthy in their financial position. And you can do that a lot of different ways, but bringing in technologies, making sure you have the right people and helping build your people as well.

(00:33:18) Krista: So

(00:33:20) Chris: Awesome. I recommend all of those business owners, CEOs and founders that are going to be looking back through this and looking at and listening to this great conversation. Definitely check Crystal Lewis out. I’ll roll over LinkedIn. I follow her. I love all of your information. I love everything you’re doing.

(00:33:34) Chris: And also to, for those businesses that you know, really need to get that health that. Like health check, right? That annual physical that you need to do for your business. Definitely check out KKL Consulting. Krista and our team are doing such a great job. Krista, thank you so much. Thank you for joining CFO Trends as the first conversation I had.

(00:33:51) Chris: So much fun. Thank you so much for your time.

(00:33:54) Krista: Thanks Chris. I loved being on your show and I look forward to seeing what other guest you have and listening to all the conversations.

(00:34:02) Chris: Thank you so much.

(00:34:03) Chris: Thanks for listening in. Join us for our next episode where we’ll be talking with Carl Seidman, owner of Seidman Financial, about its time to upgrade and upscale the office of the CFO.

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