Episode #2

Time to Upgrade & Upskill in Finance

Get ready to be inspired by Carl Seidman, the financial guru behind Seidman Financial. Carl will reveal how the unwavering pressure from stakeholders and the industry is pushing finance teams to their limits. Carl will share the inside scoop on when, why, and how finance teams can take their game to the next level and exceed expectations.

"So the point that I often make to people who say, you know what? What does this mean for the future? What does it mean for my job? And there's one word that I use all the time to describe change, and that word is augmentation."

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: Today we’re talking with Carl Seidman, who is the owner and founder of Seidman Financial, as he shares his insights on its time to upgrade and upscale in finance, and why it’s important for CFOs, FP&A and financial professionals to have augmentation versus a replacement mindset when it comes to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and upskilling your skillset.

(00:00:39) Chris: Carl, welcome to CFO Trends.

(00:00:41) Carl: Thanks so much for having me, Chris.

(00:00:43) Chris: Awesome. So the topic that we’re going to talk about today, I think is near and dear to a lot of CFOs, a lot of VPs of finance and finance leaders. The time to upgrade and time to upscale in finance. I, I think, as you talked about a lot and a lot of the great things that you put out on LinkedIn and just all the platforms and topics that you mentioned is really about this value proposition in finance teams, right?

(00:01:02) Chris: When you think about what the finance team was and the value 10 years ago versus what it is now, it’s definitely a time for disruption. One of the first questions I have is, I think, pressing to a lot of people with the prevalence of ChatGPT. You look at Bard, you look at these machine learning opportunities.

(00:01:20) Chris: What is the impact that you think AI machine learning, prescriptive and predictive analytics will have in the office to the office of the CFO?

(00:01:27) Carl: I think it’s going to be huge, but I also think we have no idea what it. Looks like yet. I think that the technology, while still relatively in its infancy in a commercial sense, The research and the foundation has been around for decades, right? So this is nothing, all that new, but the power of it and the usability in a commercial sense is it a level that it’s never been at?

(00:01:50) Carl: And so the question that I think many of us have is, Where can it really be employed in our businesses at a high degree of confidence and a very reasonable level of risk. I think that you and I coming from financial backgrounds recognize that there’s so much in terms of the back-office function that can be automated or outsourced or process driven that is perfectly in line with something that.

(00:02:18) Carl: A ChatGPTor a GPT four can help accomplish and can do, and it can do it quite seamlessly. And when we think about where our time is best spent, it’s not on that. So there’s clearly going to be a segmentation between what can you, Chris, and I do, that’s a good use of our time versus what can we offload or delegate to a system like that where I think we.

(00:02:44) Carl: Will begin to see a whole lot of confusion and opportunity and risk, and also realize mistakes is where you’re going to see. Financial people, FP&A individuals CFOs who say, you know what, I’m going to outsource this to the software and I’m not going to qc, or I’m not going to review it, or I’m just going to trust that it’s right.

(00:03:08) Carl: Or maybe I just have a limitation to my ability and I’m going to outsource it to something else. And so I think what we’re going to end up seeing is we’re going to see mistakes that are made by the software that we’re not truly vetted by the individuals who are running it. And I think that what that means is we need to figure out what’s the boundary between what we offload and what we end up doing ourselves or within our teams.

(00:03:33) Chris: Yeah, I think that’s a great point, Carl. And I think we’re a lot of CFOs, VPs of finance and just finance professionals overall, right? Trying to find the use cases, right? Like where does it make sense? And when you look at like the other functional areas, like you look at sales and marketing, you look at operations like.

(00:03:49) Chris: There are deeply wrenched use cases around like ChatGPT Bard, a lot of these AI machine learning tools. And it’s just I think the also element of it too for finance people to think about is like your point, finding where it makes sense, right? I think using Chad g p t for the simple fake of using it, like I use it every day.

(00:04:08) Chris: I play around with it. I’d ask a bunch of things like, From a, content perspective and creating cool images or like coming up with like certain key phrases or things like that, SEO stuff it’s great, but I think making it tangible. I feel like there’s a lot of finance professionals that are looking for that.

(00:04:25) Chris: Like, where does it fit me? Because I see other parts of the organization that are leveraging it, using it, talking about it. But I think that chasm that we have to cross is like, where does it make sense? And I think one of the biggest applications is exactly what you talked about, like offloading that responsibility, right?

(00:04:42) Chris: Like where can you use it? Like for me, I’m as a business owner and working with my team, like I’m looking at contracts like all day, like looking at MSAs and. Looking at all these different things, and the way that I’ve been able to use it is like I’m able to take a certain language or certain, like not our contract, just something that I see or something that I get and I’m like, Hey, can you translate this into something that in simple and easy terms that I can understand, right?

(00:05:07) Chris: And it’s able to take this super complex legal jargon and it’s able to really condense it down to key points, right? I think that’s a practical use case. And it gets to the point that you mentioned, Carl, of that delegation and that balance, right? Like, where’s going to be that line? Because at the end of the day, like you shouldn’t trust ChatGPT to be your legal advice, right?

(00:05:26) Chris: Like you shouldn’t do that. But if it gets you 60 to 70% of that understanding, then now where you can bring in that human, you can bring in that lawyer person that they’re not starting from scratch and now you’ve got a baseline of more like high value conversation. I think that’s where it makes sense.

(00:05:42) Chris: So like when you look at some use cases in the finance organization, like where do you see some of those use, some of those quick wins that finance VPs and CFOs can get around leveraging some of these tools?

(00:05:55) Carl: So I, I think that your points are really well taken and that’s why I say I think we’re still somewhat in the infancy of using it because the question is, it’s not just hey, can we use this for 60 to 70% of what we do? It’s. What is the 60 to 70% of what we can use it for and where do we have to watch out for it?

(00:06:14) Carl: This isn’t going away. We’re at the, probably the middle of the first inning. We’ve got a long way to go, but I think what’s going to end up happening is saying, okay as we hire in and build a finance function, which recognized it’s made up of, People in technology, but recognize with the people side, it’s, okay, how are they being educated and are we giving them the type of skill and information and critical thinking that they actually need?

(00:06:42) Carl: Or are we going to say no, that’s part of that 60 to 70% that, that we no longer need that part of your brain for. And so I think your point is really. Made of saying, okay, what are the use cases of where this can actually be done? Now, Chris I use ChatGPTas well, and I subscribe to it, and I think what’s most striking about it is right now they are still on the fringe of identifying what are the API connections that can exist and who’s going to get them.

(00:07:11) Carl: So I’m on the wait list to be able to get API connections because it’s right now just feeding information in. Prompting it the way that it needs to interpret what you’ve given it and then hopefully getting the response that you’re looking for. But what’s going to happen, and it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, is how do we connect this technology into.

(00:07:34) Carl: Our financial and accounting systems and our data warehouse to be able to say, I’m not going to prompt you. You figure out what needs to be done. And so we’re going to have to figure out what that looks like in our companies to say, okay, this is the 60 to 70% that we’re no longer doing, because the AI is now directly plugged into the system and it’s going to pull out.

(00:07:59) Carl: Clean, interpret what we need, how we need it to be positioned so that we can take that remaining. 30 or 40% that our brains do, that the technology can’t. So I think that right now it is a identification of, and I say this to some of my clients too, I say what are you doing that’s a waste of your time?

(00:08:20) Carl: What is it that is redundant with other. Processes. What is it that if you could solve this problem and not do it, or if you could solve this problem and do it in a few minutes, you would do this tomorrow? So it’s identifying and taking an inventory of what’s not working, what can be automated, what can be delegated, and then I hate to say it, But it’s probably a little bit of a wait and see and wait for the technologies to evolve to then say, okay, now we can actually plug it in and let’s go with it.

(00:08:50) Carl: One last point that I just want to make, Chris, and this is to me, the a hundred billion dollar question is.

(00:08:56) Chris: go

(00:08:57) Carl: How can we be confident that the technology is right? How can we plug in the technology into our systems and say we are 100% confident in what’s coming out, so that we don’t have to go into that 60 to 70% anymore?

(00:09:14) Carl: Because here’s the challenge, Chris, is that you, I, anyone who’s been in financial services says, okay, we’ve gotten a report or we’ve gotten an analysis from a junior staff. I want to trust them, but I still need to go in and verify that it’s correct. But if we’re dealing with billions of bites of information and saying the technology’s got it, then we’re not going in and verifying.

(00:09:38) Carl: We’re just trusting that it’s right. And who’s to say that it is? Who’s to say that it hasn’t been corrupted? Or who’s to say that it’s getting you the information that you’re asking actually asking for, versus what it thinks you need to know.

(00:09:51) Chris: I Carl, I love that point, man. I like you’re que that is the billion dollar question, right? Because I’ve always subscribed it’s the FBI kind of mindset, trust, but verify, right? Like I get, we are constantly inundated with information and I’m it’s like that, it’s like that ability to be able to decipher like what is valuable, insightful information that I can take and marshal a decision on, if that’s coming from a person or a technology.

(00:10:15) Chris: And I loved your point about balance, because that’s going to be a delicate balance, right? When you look at the speed of and what is required out of CFOs now. And I know you’re enabling training and doing a lot of great things to marshal those CFOs of the future. Like that ability to be able to because we’re inundated with information and how are we able to decipher to say, all right, this is information I can run with and guide.

(00:10:37) Chris: Because like you said, if you’re, if we’re leveraging and, trusting that data and we’re ultimately making a business decision off of it and we go back and look and trust that AI and it was not right then it’s like the ultimate question’s that who’s responsible. Is that my head on the chopping table?

(00:10:53) Chris: Is that the technology’s not going to get fired. But I think that’s a very important point that you talked about is that it all comes down to that balance and like being able to incorporate, ultimately, like when are we going to be able to trust it? And I agree with you.

(00:11:06) Chris: I still think we’re at the beginning phases of it, but it’s also like encouraging to see. That this tool is like in it, it’s valuable right now at a time where like finance is evolving. And I want to talk about a topic that you mentioned subtly in, in your response. You talked about the people side of it, right?

(00:11:24) Chris: Like we talked about ai. And like to me, one of the most important phrases and questions I get from a lot of people is like, Hey, is AI going to take my job? And I want to ask you that question too. When I get that question from people and I’m like, AI is not going to take your job. It’s not meant to take your job, it’s meant to level you up and put you in like higher value activities, like being a great communicator, being a great collaborator turn in complexity.

(00:11:48) Chris: And so clarity building a community inside the organization like the power Sees is what I call ’em, right? That’s what it’s meant to do. But I’m curious to get your thoughts from people cuz they may, have that concern, that hesitation in adopting some of these tools cuz it may be taking them out of a job.

(00:12:03) Chris: So when you think of AI machine learning as regards to people, like what is that meant to do for the people aspect of them?

(00:12:11) Carl: It’s an important question and I’m sure that there are a lot of jobs out there within finance, certainly beyond that are truly at risk. And in fact, I have seen the list that. Has been put together of what are the jobs that are most exposed to this technology and there’s no shortage. But there’s also a few within finance and accounting that have been listed.

(00:12:36) Carl: So the point that I often make to people who say, you know what? What does this mean for the future? What does it mean for my job? And there’s one word that I use all the time to describe change, and that word is augmentation. It is how are you going to have to augment what you do? Recognizing the fact that.

(00:12:57) Carl: A chunk of what is in your brain no longer matters. I remember when I was a child and I was too young to even know what conversation went on, but I remember my parents went to the school board meeting and the superintendent had shared with them what the curriculum is going to look like, and the superintendent had said, we’re not going to teach your kids to memorize facts and information.

(00:13:20) Carl: We’re going to be teaching them how to think. And if you think about what that has transpired to now, The parts of your brain that remember the things that you were taught to know and recall when you were a child in junior high school, in high school, in university. That chunk of your brain still has that information in it.

(00:13:42) Carl: And you and I can recall song lyrics and smells and feelings and all kinds of experiences from 35 years ago, but we can’t necessarily tell you what we may have done yesterday. So they’re permanently imprinted in our memories. Imagine what humans are going to look like when they no longer have to have that segment of their brain that is recalling certain things.

(00:14:09) Carl: They’re still going to have those song lyrics and those smells and those experiences, but the knowledge is no longer going to need to be there because we say, Something else is going to take care of that for you. You don’t have to memorize that. So parts of your brain will be augmented and reconditioned to do certain things.

(00:14:27) Carl: That’s the same thing that’s going to happen in the finance arena, as we’re going to say. Chris, it’s great that you know all of these standards from accounting policy. But it doesn’t matter because AI and the resources that we have, those are 100% correct and or reliable. So we’re going to go with that and you don’t have to spend your time and mental energy memorizing information.

(00:14:52) Carl: I. But here’s the tricky thing, and I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, is I believe there’s going to be a chasm created between expertise that people have and what they may be conveying or portraying their expertise to be. So if you say I can just use the machine to come up with all of this analysis and all of this feedback you say that’s good and I’m going to sign off and say that’s what we want it to be.

(00:15:19) Carl: But then you go into a boardroom, or you go into a presentation, or you’re in a high stakes deliverable and they say, explain this to me. And you say I can’t because I relied upon the delegation of the software to take care of it for me. And so it’s going to create this enormous chasm between the people who have the expertise, who are just leveraging the technology to augment their ability versus, Hey, I’m not even going to learn that in the first place because I don’t need to, cuz the machine does it.

(00:15:50) Carl: And then they find themselves vulnerable and significantly exposed.

(00:15:54) Chris: Most definitely. Now, I love, I loved your word augmentation, right? And how, and like to all those people listen and all those finance professionals, CFOs, VPs, and FP&A people, right? That augmentation starts with application, right? Like how are you, like that application aspect of it, right?

(00:16:10) Chris: And like a great example, right? One of the things I just went and did with Chad G p t, I did a lot of work working on the ASC 6 0 6, which is like one of the biggest, like revenue accounting, pronouncement changes. And Ernst and Young created this, it was like a 15 page, it was no, it was like a five page like summary guide, right?

(00:16:28) Chris: Still a lot of work to go through. And one thing I was just curious about, I was like, man, I’m going to, I’m going to take these five pages and I’m going to drop ’em in Chad, g p t and say, Hey, can you summarize this for me so I don’t have to go through like these five pages? It was 10 pages, double in and back, but go through this document.

(00:16:45) Chris: And I actually found the document where Chad G b t was able to reference and I was like, Hey, explain this to me in two, like one page or less, right? Give me the key points, right? Now granted I knew it deeply, but like it gave me the key summary points around it. But like to your point, here’s the augmentation value of it is like now I’m able to summarize the key points that like apply it to the business.

(00:17:06) Chris: Here’s how it changes, here’s how it could materially change your cash flow, right? Like you could change your cash flow cuz now you’re no longer taking these big impacts on commissions. You’re able to amortize ’em of the life of a contract. If that’s five years and you paid a million dollars, that’s not a million-dollar hit in year one.

(00:17:21) Chris: It’s a million, it’s amortized over time, right? It’s $200,000 of an impact, which is going to have an EBIT impact, which is, necessarily going to make your it’s making your financials look better because of this announcement. But that’s the key phrase of it. If somebody just took that information and just say, here’s the summary and the business, here’s getting that to that high value, that like higher value and the business is okay.

(00:17:43) Chris: That’s great analysis, that great feedback, right? But you’re speaking all this accounting jar. Translate this to a language I understand. Translate this to a salesperson, translate this to a marketer, translate this to a CEO. That is that big piece of it, right? And that’s where you still need that ab, and that’s where this upskilling conversation’s talking about, right?

(00:18:03) Chris: Because that’s the high, that to me is going to be the higher value activity, right? That ability to translate facts, figures, insights, data to business, understanding and clarity. And that piece of it, that translation is going to be the huge value. And that’s where these tools can be super helpful to help you upskill your communication.

(00:18:24) Chris: How are you speaking the business’ language? How are you being a great connector? How are you seeing like the future and translate that impact that it’s going to have? So I love your word augmentation, man, that’s a, that’s hugely important.

(00:18:36) Carl: Yeah and that’s why I say augment versus replace. It’s not that it’s you are being moved from where you are into something totally different. It’s, you are evolving into a totally different sphere of influence and thinking and involvement while the computer has augmented itself into something that it never once was.

(00:19:00) Carl: So we’re just changing. We’re not. Being replaced.

(00:19:02) Chris: I love it. I, when you talked about Carl, I love where you mentioned that part of your brain that we’re using, and you look at like getting to another topic of upskilling and upgrading the finance organization, right? When we’re thinking about talent, right? So let’s talk about talent, because now we’re going to ask the future accounting, the future CPAs, the future FP&A people like.

(00:19:23) Chris: Do you really need to have a mastery level knowledge of how to do impairment journal entries? Do you need to know how to do like consolidation entries? Because one thing I remember from my accounting background, and we both share this, right? We’re both branded in our big four, right? It’s like you learn all this stuff, right?

(00:19:41) Chris: So like making a plaque will to that part of your brain. I learned everything in the CPA exam, right? I had to take regulations. I passed and did all this stuff. I don’t, is that information still there? Could I recall it? Yes. But is it valuable? Is it valuable? Because the same way that I do depreciation, debit, depreciation, expense, credit, accumulated depreciation, that’s going to be standardized, right?

(00:20:03) Chris: That’s not, that’s the standard way of doing accounting and a lot of education, a lot of traditional schools are still teaching you this theory. That you can just go Hey, Chay, how’d chacha? How do I do a depreciation entry in a retail business? Like that to me is like from a talent and a, and an upskilling perspective, like people aren’t focused on that anymore.

(00:20:23) Chris: They’re like, how do I increase my talent? How do I increase my knowledge? How do I increase the resources that I have? To make a bigger impact. That’s not just in learning the theory, right? How do I move that to application? So from a talent perspective, for people that are listening this aspiring, like, how do you think they should apply that from like when they’re thinking about, do I go deep into learning this or go deep into learning some of these kind of other skills that we talked about.

(00:20:51) Carl: It’s a really important question, and I have these discussions with. With company leaders all of the time, and that they ask what should our people be learning? What do we want them to be doing and how do we get there? I think if we were to turn the clocks back to, when you and I were kids growing up and a common.

(00:21:12) Carl: Analogy that you’re hearing right now is the similarity between technology and the calculator. When the calculator came out, and I remember when I was in elementary school, we had to learn how to do long division. And I remember pushing back and saying why do I need to know how to do this when there are calculators?

(00:21:30) Carl: And the teacher said you don’t know that you’re always going to have a calculator around you, so what if you have to do this on paper? And what they didn’t realize was, many years later we would have these in all of our pockets, and we always do have a calculator. So why waste the time in terms of upskilling and development people, Of of people?

(00:21:49) Carl: A big question that we have to ask ourselves is what? Level of competency and maturity are we trying to hire for and develop into? A common analogy that a colleague of mine, some and I com sometimes use is, are we hiring soldiers? Are we hiring generals? Soldiers are people who take orders and are doers.

(00:22:12) Carl: Generals are people who have already been soldiers who have gone through the doing who know how to do that, but they don’t do it anymore because their skillset is best suited to be leading and developing other people. And so this is where professional development and upskilling of people is often very challenging because we say we’re going to hire really smart people and we’re going to hire them out of really good schools.

(00:22:37) Carl: But we recognize that they probably didn’t learn. 95% of what it is that we need them to be doing. So your reference before Chris of taking the CPA exam. When, I remember when I took that, I said I just have, to me, I just have to memorize a bunch of acronyms and recall it and keep it in my brain long enough to be able to pass the exam.

(00:22:57) Chris: Facts.

(00:22:58) Carl: And the reality is no, we don’t want to just recall it in our brains for the sake of passing. We want to be able to recall it throughout the duration of our career. But to your point, Chris, is most of what we went through on those exams, we don’t have to recall from our brains because we can recall them from authoritative sources.

(00:23:18) Carl: And if we have to recall it on the spot in a conference That’s one thing. But if we’re in front of our computers doing the work and we have the authoritative source in front of us, we should be going into the authoritative source. So in terms of developing people, what do we want them to develop from?

(00:23:38) Carl: Do we want them to have a whole body of knowledge that they can leverage, or do we want to develop them into thinkers? Who know where to get the information when it is that they need to get it and be evolving into ultimately mid-level managers and directors, and maybe even CFOs one day who can say, I can supervise and I can develop, and I can mentor other people because I’ve been there and I’ve done that and I’ve gone through those motions.

(00:24:05) Carl: But because of where I now am in terms of seniority, I shouldn’t be doing that work. Chris, when we were talking earlier on this call of. The 60 to 70% that we can outsource elsewhere. That’s not just to artificial intelligence, that’s to other people. So mid-level managers should be outsourcing 60 to 70% of their doing to their staff.

(00:24:28) Carl: CFOs should be outsourcing 60 to 70% of what they’re doing. To their managers who are then outsourcing that to their staff. And so when we develop people, we have to understand what phase of their career are they in, what do we, what do we want them be to be doing? What is their level of maturity and aptitude to handle that?

(00:24:46) Carl: And we want them to constantly adopt a mentality of fluidity of not going to be doing this set of work for my entire career. This will get me to there. This will get me to there. This will get me to get to there, and we call that career progression.

(00:25:02) Chris: Nice. Nice. I love it. I love it, Carl. And I think one thing that’s really advantageous for the listeners of having you is like at Simon Financial, as far as resources, that’s exactly what. Your business is able to provide that level of notch. C, can you speak to some of the programs or resources or offerings that you have to help those finance VPs, fractional CFOs and CFOs help provide that level of knowledge?

(00:25:26) Chris: Because I always look at it this way, right? Like 70 and maybe I’m just biased cuz this is how my career has been, right? Like, When I look at the development, the learning and the training that I’ve had, right? And things that I’ve got, a lot of it is taking the application of what I’ve learned and applying it in my job.

(00:25:41) Chris: And you get some from conferences, you get networking. Most of the time you get opportunities to meet like Carl at conferences and you give him a big hug cuz you’re so excited to meet him. I don’t, that’s just me. I’m going to say that cuz that’s me. But when you think about those resources for people to give these programs and that, that training, that professional knowledge and development, can you speak to some of the offerings that you have at Simon Financial for that

(00:26:04) Carl: Yeah. One of the the problems that I began to see throughout my advisory and consulting career was a lack of consistency across what people were doing, and whether it’s you, Chris, or me, or five other people, you could say, I. Everybody, what would be the approach you would take to addressing this problem?

(00:26:23) Carl: And you’re going to get six to eight different responses because of what everybody’s backstory and background and experience prior to this moment are. And that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the problem is when everybody has their own way in their own process of doing it, then you have a whole lot of incongruences across a single group.

(00:26:43) Carl: One of the issues that I began to see across the mid-market and smaller companies, as well as even Fortune one thousands is, Hey, we’ve got a lot of really smart people, but nobody really knows what it is. That is our standard here is the process that we have and that we want to be following. Can you come in and create some congruence and continuity and a set of standards that we can all follow?

(00:27:08) Carl: If I can just say so we can all speak the same language, and so I can take from you, Chris, what you’ve done and interpret it and you can take what I’ve done and interpret it and we don’t have to spend so much time trying to make sense of what it is. So about a decade ago, I started to put together training curriculum where I said, this is going to address what these problems are and if people start to follow these standards, protocols, and.

(00:27:32) Carl: Good practices. This is going to take out a lot of the frustration that people are having of, I don’t understand what these other people are doing, or they’re lazy or they’re taking shortcuts. So my FP&A development programs, that’s largely what that has been. It is eight key modules that make the biggest amount of difference in the shortest amount of time.

(00:27:51) Carl: If somebody goes into it and they said, I had no idea that this even existed, that this was possible, and if I had known how to do this technique, it probably could have shaved off three months of my prior year. That’s what I want these people to do, is to say, I want to spend my time and use my brain in the most effective way, not in the one way that I know how.

(00:28:10) Carl: So the programs I’ve put together address, FP and a. They also address people who are right out of school who are trying to sharpen their teeth and sharpen the saw and get really good at being those soldiers and those doers, but also to equip people with the mentality of understanding how to think. The best training, in my opinion, is not teaching people just how to do, it’s teaching people how to think so that when they encounter a problem in their work, exactly as you just said, Chris, as they say, I know what to do.

(00:28:43) Carl: I know what to apply from this arsenal of tools and skills that I have in my brain. It’s now, again, not just knowledge and reciting fact, it’s. I’ve come to a challenge of all of the tools and techniques that are in my arsenal, which is the best of the five that I know how to do now, to be able to use and employ and equip the other people in my team to be able to support that too.

(00:29:10) Carl: And then finally, in terms of the CFO skills and development, as I had mentioned, a lot of CFOs are not doing a lot of the technical work anymore. They need to understand it, but they need to be able to say, this is what’s important to me. I need to explain, communicate to my managers and to my staff.

(00:29:29) Carl: Not just what’s important to me, but why it’s important and equip and position them to deliver those critical outputs. It’s not just about, Hey, here’s a report or a summary or an analysis, yes, that has to be done. It’s how do we need to get this positioned in front of the end users that need to rely upon it with a high degree of confidence and a reasonable level of risk.

(00:29:54) Chris: Awesome. Awesome. And to all those accounting finance, FP&A CFO professionals, I highly recommend checking out Carls and Simon Financials, FP&A development. And CFO courses, like you said it, when you are looking at that knowledge, a lot of times people are like, I don’t know where to go to. That is, I think, one of those authoritative sources that if you’re looking to upskill and upgrade your skillset, your mindset and your ability to make that impact.

(00:30:21) Chris: From a lot of the conversations that we’ve had today, highly endorsed, highly recommend. Make sure you check out Carl and his team and the pro the development that they have. So Carl, thank you so much for sharing that, brother. Hey, so one last topic, man. I know we talked a lot about technology, we talked a lot about the human element when it comes to technology.

(00:30:38) Chris: One question that I always like to end with every guest is, what is your number one hot finance trend and why?

(00:30:48) Carl: Oh I think that one area that continues to come back to me over the last couple of years is the importance of basic communication. And I think the reason why I bring this up and this seems like the most simple, trend is we always focus so much on technical skills and ability to analyze and be able to recall all this information.

(00:31:15) Carl: But I’m sure that you can attest to this, Chris and I certainly can too, as you often have very smart people who do great work, but they cannot frame what they have done in a way that makes sense to people who are not them. And that involves understanding the language and the personalities and the insecurities of other people who are not you.

(00:31:39) Carl: Some of these people are, very type A. Some of these people are very reserved. Some of these people are big picture. Some of these people are very detail oriented and you cannot go into conversations and just say, I am who I am. I’m going to deliver how I’m going to deliver. It’s understanding who you’re talking to, what their style is, how you need to position to them, and the way to engage them.

(00:32:03) Carl: This is not the, buzzy. Business or financial storytelling. This is really understanding how you resonate and connect with other people.

(00:32:12) Chris: I love it, Carl. I think we need a, and tying this all together, right? Finance, CFO professionals. We need to be less calculators and we need to be better communicators. I think you, you’ve tied that up really well, man. Hey, Carl, one last thing. If people want to find out, learn more about you, more about the offerings that you have at fi Simon Financial, they want to connect with you.

(00:32:33) Chris: Where can people find you? Where could they learn more? What’s your website? How can people know more and connect more with you? Carl?

(00:32:40) Carl: Yeah, I would say the two best places to go would be my website, which is seidmanfinancial.com, that has a listing of all of the professional development advisory services and everything else that we do. And then also, as you had mentioned, Chris, pretty active on LinkedIn. I would encourage you to connect with or follow me there.

(00:32:58) Carl: I share pretty much daily insights, not just about FP&A and finance, but the future of work, the use of technology, CFO skills, and ways to build yourself and your profession.

(00:33:10) Chris: Yeah. Thanks for those resources and Carl to give you your roses, man, like you have been somebody and anytime I get the opportunity to talk with you. I always learn, I always have great insights. So to all those finance, accounting, FP&A CFO leaders I think one of the most beautiful things that I get from you every day is like tangible takeaways, right?

(00:33:28) Chris: It’s not a lot of noise, it’s not a lot of business jargon. It’s not a lot of ChatGPT, which is, there’s a lot of that going on. There’s a lot of that going on. It is like tangible. It is authentic. You speak from a place of expertise and authenticity, and you speak from a place of really leading the movement, man.

(00:33:45) Chris: So as to all those listeners out there, make sure to connect with Carl. Make sure to follow him. Look at all the great things you’re doing, man, and I love it. I wish you nothing but continued success, man. And thank you so much for everybody listening. Carl, thank you so much for being on CFO Trends.

(00:33:59) Carl: Thank you so much, Chris. Love being with you.

(00:34:01) Chris: Thank you for listening in. Join us for our next episode where I’ll be talking with Joy Mbanugo, CFO at Service Rocket, about building on legacy the new finance organization.

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