Episode #4

People > Profit: CFO Guide to Talent

Erik Nakamura, CFO at Orange Comet, joins us to discuss the continually evolving business environment and why CFOs should prioritize company culture more than ever. During this episode, he will provide insights into the most recent developments in talent management, including how to attract and retain high-quality personnel and nurture and engage employees. Additionally, he will describe how he prioritized corporate culture within his finance team.

"Our retention is extremely high. We have low turnover. We're creating value. People are working harder, more smarter, better, more efficiently, because they care about their jobs. They have an impact. They have a voice. Look at the innovation and the products we've built. And so that data, is so key in telling the story at the end of the day".

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. Today we’ll be talking with Eric Nakamura, CFO, at Orange Comet, as he shares his thoughts on Profit the CFO’s Guide to Talent. and why it’s important for CFOs to rebalance the emotional intelligence of the IQ inside the organization. Eric, welcome to CFO Trends.

(00:00:39) Erik: Thanks for having me, Chris. Excited to be on the show and talk about Talent, people, profit, and all things that CFO should have at the top of their minds for sure.

(00:00:47) Chris: When we see the changing landscape like when it comes to talent and it comes to people, particularly in the office of the CFO, I feel like that has gone in a couple of waves, right? There’s been a lot of traditional CFOs and modern CFOs that have, met this challenge of what that talent means in the future, right?

(00:01:03) Chris: Because that’s how we win. That’s how we level jumping right into it. My first question what do you see as some of the biggest challenges that CFOs encounter around attracting and retaining talent?

(00:01:15) Erik: That’s a great question. I think you probably know, and if folks don’t on the podcast retention is better than talent acquisition. Because talent acquisition just takes time, it takes money, it’s opportunity costs and there’s a huge investment there and there’s a lot of quotes and numbers around, turnover costs versus hiring costs, right?

(00:01:33) Erik: So I think that’s one thing that finance folks should have top of mind, obviously, because of numbers. Vibe with them. They understand that, and they’re concrete. I think the challenge that we face from a finance perspective is really understanding how to attract the right talent, get them in, measure them, and understand that, and I think I’ve talked to you about this before.

(00:01:58) Erik: I, I work in a blockchain web three gaming industry, so very nascent, very disruptive, innovative. And I’ve generally leaned more toward companies that had that in my past. And so, I’ve always challenged my companies to say, if we want to innovate, we have to go attract talent that is diverse, that has different perspectives, that have different experiences.

(00:02:20) Erik: If we hire the same people with the same experiences that we have, we probably will get the same results. And you will get a lot of yes people at the end of the day. I’ve been in cultures where, The CEO or leaders, entrepreneur they’ll ask questions and they say they want, diverse responses, but they keep on asking questions until they get the answer they want to hear, right?

(00:02:39) Erik: At the end of the day. And sometimes you have to listen to all the different responses so that way you can say, oh, that’s a really great idea. That perspective from Chris Ortega is different than Eric’s perspective. But if we take both those ideas together, those things can innovate and change and disrupt who we are.

(00:02:57) Erik: And so, I think the biggest challenge we have, is actually going out and sourcing diverse talent, minorities, women, people of color doing different things. And I and not, and the best talent should always win. The best person for the best job should always win. But if we are actually going out and sourcing that talent proactively, not letting them come to us.

(00:03:18) Erik: A lot of people say they’re not coming to us. Let’s look at the makeup of our executive team and our board. For me, being a male, minority, Asian, i. If I look at two different companies and the board and the executive team is made up of, Caucasian males over the age of 50, or if I see another board and executive team that’s made up of diverse people of color and women and all things being equal, the job, I love both a lot of things about it.

(00:03:42) Erik: Which place do I think I’m going to have a better impact and have a voice, right? So if I see that, I need to make sure that. If my board and my executive team look like that, I need to go out and actually put strategies and tactics behind talent acquisition to go source those people and go get them.

(00:03:58) Erik: Don’t let them come to us. We got to go find them because they’re already discouraged from the start. They’re not encouraged to come see us because of our makeup and what we see. And so I think that’s one of the biggest challenges to convince executive teams and talent acquisition. This is actually a metric or a proactive strategy in supporting tactics that we have to execute.

(00:04:17) Erik: on.

(00:04:17) Chris: Yeah. And I think that’s so important, man. You talked about it right at the top, man. Me being a minority in finance as well being, having that diversity, having that inclusion, having that at all different levels, right? In the finance organization. And I think, I think diversity goes beyond than just like skin color and background, right?

(00:04:34) Chris: Like one of the unique things that a lot of CFOs are starting implement with their teams is bringing people over from different diverse, functional areas, right? I know CFOs that have got some tremendous FP&A talent and they got them from like solutions architects or from like data scientists.

(00:04:50) Chris: And these are great people that never had an accounting finance, FP&A background, but they’ve brought such other skill sets to it and I love Eric, your analogy of looking at two different companies, company A and company B. And company B has more diversity. Company B is more invested in its community.

(00:05:09) Chris: They’re a, they’re adding more to that profile of what that talent is looking because let’s be honest, 10 years ago, if you had, Hey, we got beer in the fridge and we got office snacks that was like, what got you talented people? now in the world of remote work and like impact, nobody cares about if you have like alcohol in the, or free snacks or things like that.

(00:05:31) Chris: Like you have to start thinking about. How we well-rounded our value proposition that we’re bringing to that talent because the landscape has changed, what is now talented high potential high performer finance people are looking for is completely different than five years ago, right? And CFOs need to make sure that we’re making sure we’re keeping in tune with that like one aspect that I think is hugely important.

(00:05:55) Chris: When you talked about a talent perspective is like how are you giving even the talent people that you have right now, that seat at the table and that diversity of work, right? Because like you may have that superstar accounting person and they may be in that role two or three years and they’re like, Hey, I want to try something different.

(00:06:12) Chris: So, when you look at CFOs and you talked about it like retaining that talent, right? What are some strategies that CFOs can take right now that they can go back through and talk to their high potential, high performing? Finance team now.

(00:06:24) Erik: Let me address that in a second. I think something I want to get back to you that you said that just resonates with me that we’ve talked about in the past is When you look at your teams you look at the performers and the people and all those things obviously. But I think when you look at people that have high EQ and have growth mindsets, that’s super important at the end of the day, right?

(00:06:45) Erik: So, I think, that’s the talent you want to acquire and attract. And you were talking about diverse. Experiences and backgrounds and cross-functional stuff. I think I’ve seen even my teams, because I’ve coached them and I want them to get in the business and create value, I actually had somebody say, Hey, can I have my, your FP&A or your accounting or FP&A person, can they come and work in product with me?

(00:07:05) Erik: Because they understand process data, information execution, and those types of things I think that is super important and I can’t stress enough that. The old ways that you said 10 years ago, 20 years ago, nice office, free meals, beer, whatever. Good. Good career, P, all that stuff. That’s just table stakes.

(00:07:27) Erik: Now, the stickiness that keeps people there is. Is my company, do they have ESG impact, D I E D E I initiatives? Are they doing something for the community? Are they doing something for the environment? Are they really looking at eco, economic, social backgrounds, diversity, those types of things?

(00:07:45) Erik: They’re like, if my company has that, a lot of the talent now is I want these other things, right? I want the free snack. If they are in the office or I need to work from home or hybrid, but also my company actually donates and lets me go volunteer. One week a year to go help build houses or for the environment, or I can go to recruiting things and to, to maybe HSBCs or something.

(00:08:06) Erik: And so that I think is the stickiness that is that extra step. That’s like my company actually is putting the money where their mouth is and understands the impact of E S G D E I diversity and why it’s important to our company. And so they’re going to put initiatives and tactics behind it to go and do that.

(00:08:22) Erik: I think I, I don’t remember what you

(00:08:23) Chris: Yeah, it that’s definitely I agree. And my question was more around, and thank you for providing that. I think it’s great feedback for people to go through you got to start with the tactics, And to just to expand on that and we’ll get to that question I asked earlier.

(00:08:34) Chris: This is what reshaun as CFOs man, like when you talk about people that can set the vision, the strategy, the tactics, the metric, the milestones, the plans, that’s what we do. But I think the challenge is we’re doing that when it comes it’s like a lot of the outputs, a lot of the outcomes, a lot of the results of everything that you talked about.

(00:08:52) Chris: It’s qualitative, right? It’s super qualitative. And when you’re stretching a CFO that is so used to be quantitatively driven, we’re so ROI, we’re so number bottom line focused that, they may push back and say, help me quantify the tangible impact of, making sure we have diversity, equity, inclusion, or give that one week for somebody to have a mental health day to offer people, stipends around, their mental and physical wellbeing.

(00:09:19) Chris: Quantify that. It’s like sometimes that ROI is not going to be there, it’s just the right thing to do, It’s the right thing to invest in people. So I loved your point about that, and specifically to the question of retaining, right? One of the tools that I’ve always used in building my high-performance teams is like a lot of teams, like they wait for the employee, that high potential, that high performer, they wait till they leave before they have a conversation with them, right?

(00:09:45) Chris: I think one tool that a lot of CFOs can take away right now, is go have, stay interviews, go ask your team right now. What is keeping you here? What makes you motivated every day to be part of our finance organization? What opportunities that you it highlights what you talked about earlier, like that proactive impact like, Don’t wait till they gave you their resignation letter before you start asking the

(00:10:08) Erik: foot out the

(00:10:08) Erik: door.

(00:10:09) Chris: Yeah. It’s so many times CFOs this day like, oh man, we just lost a person. If you would’ve had these proactive conversations before you could have identified something you could have worked through like professional development, you could have had all opportunities to salvage that talent. But a lot of CFOs just don’t take that proactive approach when it comes to retainment.

(00:10:28) Erik: I think that your point is so spot on. I think if you understand your teams and you engage them and you manage them, I. You understand what they want to do with their careers. I always ask when I interview folks, like I, I, if, a lot of times people are like, oh, we’ve got to do a test for them and all these things.

(00:10:45) Erik: I’m like if you’re doing that, then you don’t trust them that they can do their job, then why are they interviewing with you in the first place? They shouldn’t have to prove to you that they can do their job if they’re FP&A, right? I ask more questions around qualitative aspects and understanding who they are, and so I, who do you want to be when you grow up?

(00:11:02) Erik: What’s your goal? What do you want? And personally, or professionally. And that way when you manage them, you can proactively understand what their wants and needs are, how you communicate to them, and how they want to be communicated to, and what drives them. At the end of the day. I always hear this saying all the time is, talk to people how you want to be talked to or communicated with.

(00:11:22) Erik: And I was like that’s not really true. You speak to people about how they want to be

(00:11:26) Erik: Because I’m very direct. I want to be very honest. You come with me very transparently. I love it. For other people that are passive-aggressive, it doesn’t work. If you come with me. Passive aggressiveness, I don’t like that.

(00:11:35) Erik: I’m like, that’s really soft, right? At the end of the day, I’m like, just, let’s be honest. Let’s have that open on convo. But if we have enough rapport, that we’ve built. We can have honest conversations and we can drive change, or we can challenge each other, and you need to challenge each other. And that’s how you get better at the end of the day.

(00:11:50) Erik: And so, I think retaining the talent, being proactive, understanding who they want to be, what’s important to them professionally and personally, because let’s be honest we don’t work to live, right? Or we work to live. We don’t live to work right at the end of the day. And that’s so important, understanding what people’s situations are because.

(00:12:08) Erik: That affects how, what, how, what drives them. And for me, I’ve been very lucky to work with great people and my teams that I work for, I want to let them know I’m there for them at the end of the day. I work for you, right? I praise you. I’ll take all the blame; you get all the praise. You guys are the ones that build the teams and do the things that I, the strategies that I put in place.

(00:12:28) Erik: You guys are executing that, and I want to support you in any way. And I’m okay if you make mistakes. I want you to make mistakes. Let’s fail fast and correct. That’s part of life, right? You make, if you lived your life perfectly, you’re probably a God. You’re not a human being, right? What are you doing here?

(00:12:42) Erik: And if you did your job perfectly, you probably should have my job or another job. You shouldn’t be, you shouldn’t. You will make mistakes and let’s figure that out. But let’s create an environment where it’s okay to communicate those, understand those, and correct them and take ownership of them, right?

(00:12:57) Erik: If you create an environment where it’s. Huge penalties and it’s very dogmatic and it’s very negative. People, they’ll try to hide the mistakes, right? They’ll try to get around and that’s not trust, right? You want work with people you trust and respect. So, you build that trust, you build that, like you build that respect with those teams, and you communicate with to them and motivate them in a way.

(00:13:16) Erik: What they want right at the end of the day. So, I understand Hey, you want to be a CFO someday, or you want to be a coo or, look you just, you like your job. This is a job for you. You have a family that you need to be. So, I understand the motivation, so I know how to communicate and motivate them in a certain ways.

(00:13:33) Erik: Like someone that wants to be a CFO, I’m like Why don’t you come and sit in on this panel with me, come to this conference, and just watch what I say. Watch what Chris says. Listen to the messaging. Listen to what leaders are talking about. Understand that. I want you to, I know we have to have a lot of work to be done.

(00:13:47) Erik: We can still work and have fun, but I want you to come hear that because that will be educational for you to understand. What CFOs are thinking, how to become a CFO, how, and what are they looking at? Those types of things are very important. Or if you’re a nine to fiver and you’re a process person, you’re like, I just need a, I need this job cause I need to support my family.

(00:14:04) Erik: Okay. That’s great. You don’t need to come to that, but let’s go to some process things that help you improve your job. What is. Let’s not have you be the process. Let’s have you manage the process, right? At the end of the day, let’s put technology systems and process in place for you to be smarter, better, and work more efficiently so you can spend more time with your family so you can be more efficient.

(00:14:22) Erik: And then you can say, oh look, if that happens, you get a day off here. You got to spend time with your family. You’re motivating those two people in very different ways with different Reward, shall we say, positive outcome thinking of what they can do to make their lives better and they can, put more checks, boxes on their resume.

(00:14:39) Erik: They can also say, I built this process, or I learn more about the CFO conference. This, those are things that keep people sticky and wanting to stay as Eric cares about me as a person.

(00:14:48) Chris: Boom.

(00:14:49) Erik: Not his employee, right? He cares about my life not, he cares about my family. He cares about what’s going on in my life.

(00:14:55) Erik: He just doesn’t look at me as another number that just pumps out payroll or does a forecast or does a close. I, and also I want those teams to say we are a finance organization or a finance, hr, legal facilities, all that. You know it. The other facilities I’ve done. I want us to be value added.

(00:15:11) Erik: We are a support function, but let’s get out there. Let’s be business partners to the organization. Understanding each of those businesses and giving them data metrics, information recommendations, process recommendations, and efficiency help them in their jobs to make their jobs better. So you’re seen as a go-to consigliere, shall we say, in the organization.

(00:15:33) Erik: Like I want to go to Chris because man, he knows process systems. He’s great at Excel. He could probably help me look at this process, improve my life, make me more efficient, get better output, get KPIs and metrics in place to measure real-time so I can know what leverage the pull. Because he’s a smart guy and he’s in finance and I’m in operations or I’m in sales or I’m in marketing.

(00:15:54) Erik: But Chris is so good at what he does, I’m going to reach out to him and finance a value-added organization. And that is when you get this great synergy and funding in organizations where you’re seeing. As a value-added piece of what people do. But it’s all building this from that qualitative and quantitative, but mo qualitative piece where I look at high EQ.

(00:16:17) Erik: High IQ, that’s winner, right? High EQ, low EQ. Okay. We can teach you that. If you’re not technically that good, we can probably teach you that. High EQ, low EQ. If you’re just not a great person, that’s hard to change, right? So I don’t, I generally don’t work with that. I would rather high EQ, low EQ, or High EQ.

(00:16:32) Erik: And high IQ, if that

(00:16:33) Chris: Yeah, dude. I love it, man. And the common things I was able to take away from that, is that CFOs need to know. When it comes down to, this talent and how that drives value and profit to the bottom line, right? Is like we have to meet talent where they are, right? Like you, I love your analogy where you’re like, Hey, like you want to be a CFO, let’s sit in these conversations.

(00:16:52) Chris: Or the same example that you mentioned of a process person, right? I think too many times like. And sometimes I find myself in this situation, even with clients that I work with, right? It is like you have to sit back and listen, not listen to provide solutions. But listen to provide and how you can better serve that person.

(00:17:11) Chris: You are very, like when I think of you as a CFO, Eric, the first thing I think about this is truly a servant leader. Like truly a servant leader, right? And I think when you take that aspect of it, and I love your second point of EQ over IQ, right? Like getting back to what we talked about earlier, I think so many CFOs, right?

(00:17:30) Chris: Like when you look at the responsibilities of what you expect out of something like. We expect all those people to check the boxes from an IQ perspective, right? They know month-end close. I’m not saying that those things aren’t important. But when you think about the more ROI that you have in a person, right?

(00:17:45) Chris: Like getting that e emotional intelligence inside the finance organization is a huge flex for us. Like it’s a big opportunity, right? When you traditionally look at the CFO, we’re traditionally like high on IQ and low on EQ, right? So, we’re like, you are one of those few CFOs that we’re trying to marshal that new legacy no.

(00:18:06) Chris: We need to be as much in tune with the pulse and the pace of our people, of our processes, of our organizations, as equally as we need to have that same IQ when it comes to finance expertise. Yeah. We got to level up the organization with that. And one of the key things you just talked about is like that IQ EQ.

(00:18:26) Chris: And I want to expand on that because I think this is a very important topic for CFOs to know, right? Like, when you’re looking with that CFO working in that organization that maybe has like that CFO’s yeah, I know. We’re low on emotional intelligence inside of our business. We got great financial acumen.

(00:18:44) Chris: We know us we know IFRS we have command of the IQ side of our business. But I know as a CFO personally like I can get be, I need to get better in having and increasing that emotional intelligence as a leader, and I need to also empower, enable, and equip my team to level up their emotional intelligence.

(00:19:04) Chris: So, expanding on that, how can CFOs, how can finance professionals, if they’re self aware, to know I need to get better at my EQ? What are some strategies and tactics that you would recommend for them to level up their emotional intelligence?

(00:19:19) Erik: Yeah, definitely. And I want to touch on something you said real quick too, and I’m not, and I may, I don’t want to say that the IQ piece obviously. I think the way I look at it is the IQ piece is table stakes. That’s part of our job. We have to have the. That if you don’t have that, then you’re not you can’t do your job right?

(00:19:37) Erik: And in the day, like I, I think I told you before, like no one in the organization, anywhere you go, ever says, hey, that was a great audit. What a great close you That was a fantastic tax return. You know that, that budget was amazing. You just, oh my God, now no. No one ever says that. That’s not because that payroll, you killed that you knocked it out of the park.

(00:19:56) Erik: No one ever says that because. It’s expected to just work. That’s table stakes, that’s supposed to be there. And if somebody’s talking about the payroll, the audit, the budget, the close, the tax return, something’s probably wrong. Like your IQ is not the process of information, all the those things aren’t working efficiently.

(00:20:16) Erik: So that has to ha be in place. You have to make sure that the house is solid, the foundation is great. Pillars are built. It just moves because you have to rely on that and you create efficiency there. But that I want, I don’t want to discount that. I think what we’re talking about is the other side of the house.

(00:20:33) Erik: That EQ piece is something that we have not focused on historically as folks. Like you said, it’s been a, let me focus on this IQ piece and the process and sit which that is super important for sure. This other value-added piece, which I really see is. The evolution of the office of the CFO or the finance organization is getting out there.

(00:20:53) Erik: Business partnering, knowing how to influence others. Being a leader, standing in front of a room. Communication and communication are so cliche, but people think communication is talking at people. Communication’s not tough. Communication’s a two-way street. Communication is absorbing information. And responding with information that’s relevant to that conversation based on what was given to you.

(00:21:16) Erik: And a lot of people think community, like I’m communicating, I’m talking I tell you. But you’re talking at people. When you talk to people, they generally don’t respond well or they will after a period of time, they’re just going to put a wallet and this guy’s just talking at me. You need to talk with people and understand what they’re doing and communicate to them in a way that you can influence them to have an outcome that’s positive and value-added to the company.

(00:21:39) Erik: And I think that is to your question is how do you do that? I and I recommend for finance leaders, CFOs, and any finance organization, is to really understand that and really lean into that, and whether that’s getting a coach. An EQ coach taking classes online, looking, reading seminars, and listening. Chris Ortega, Fresh FPA, and a podcast, super educational.

(00:22:04) Erik: Going to conferences, meeting people, having a mentor, right? I’m part of the mentorship program at the CFO Leadership Council and mentor other finance folks, and these are things that I talk to. They’re like, this is really refreshing. Like I, people don’t talk about this. I’m like, this is key to create value with an organization.

(00:22:20) Erik: I think once you learn. How to speak with people and influence others. You’re going to be so much more effective because as a finance leader, you know what the outcomes of the organization need to be. You know what revenue we need to hit, and what kind of marketing expenses we need to invest in to create ROI for revenue, right?

(00:22:38) Erik: What’s this infrastructure we need to have and what kind of scale do we need to build with creative tech, whatever it may be, right? You know what, those are black and white and numbers Bly, so how do you go to those organizations? And make sure and help them to execute along those lines and be a leader to provide support, recommendations, advice, so that way they can execute to that.

(00:22:57) Erik: Because generally ours, as sales is that revenue number’s too high. I can’t make that Mario, I can’t, that spend is too low. I can’t get that revenue with, it’s a lot of, I can’t I was turn around, I was like, that’s great. That’s a lot of my cans. What can we do? What are solutions like let’s think positive outcome?

(00:23:12) Erik: Thinking of positively what can you do? Where can we invest in areas that create the ROI to get there? And let’s put a discount factor. Let’s put a risk factor on that and let’s understand it together so we can understand the qualitative aspects and the quantitative aspect. And we can work together as a team.

(00:23:28) Erik: They’re like, Eric, that’s really smart. Let’s do that. So let’s have that conversation. And then what happens? They come back to you again. And you help them with their business. And so I think as finance leaders, it’s building that partnership, building that data, that information that influences others.

(00:23:44) Erik: And at the end of the day, understanding how they want to be talked to. CEOs are very entrepreneurial, they are very strategic up in the clouds, very visionary. This is who we want to be. And then, underneath this you’re like, yeah, of course that’s what we want to be in like two to three years, but today we got a lot of issues we need to get to before that.

(00:24:02) Erik: So you have to. Speak with them in a certain way. And I say this all the time, it’s speaking with them to make it think, make them think it’s their idea. the seeds right A little bit here, a little bit there. Maybe a text. And then plant seeds to make it think it’s their idea. Then they’ll come back and say, Hey Eric, we should do this.

(00:24:19) Erik: CEO, I think that’s a great idea. We should do that. You’re so smart. I think, that’s, and they like getting built up. They like filming well. They feel like, they’re being a leader. So, you plan and you’re like, I have no pride author. I don’t care if it’s me that gets credit or anybody else. I want to do what’s best for the organization. Like finance should be Switzerland, should always be, do what’s right for the organization and make recommendations, what’s right for the organization, and influence others to make those executions toward that. And I think understanding how to talk to a very visionary CEO, plant those ideas.

(00:24:50) Erik: Make them think it’s their own ideas and really get them to have ownership of that and engage that and push that because that is key. What’s best for the organization? When you have organizations that are very egotistical, it’s my idea. I want credit for this. I want to look good, hear me talk, I just want to talk because I’m up here because it’s just, I want everybody to hear what I have to say and I’m tack talking at everybody.

(00:25:10) Erik: Generally, those are the cultures that you’re like, okay, we need to change this, right? We need to all have a voice. We need to work together, and we need to do what’s best for the organization. Not one individual, not for one department, not because you get up there, squeaky wheel gets the oil. Let’s work on what’s the best for the organization and how do we execute toward our plan and really create value for us shareholders, investors.

(00:25:31) Erik: Employees, customers. That is the true goal at the end of the day, is how do we create that value across organization? And I think we have, we’re on such a good seat as finance leaders that we can influence the organization in many different ways. And I really see that EQ piece that’s partnering what I’ve been talking about, that inserts it with the stakes piece as well.

(00:25:50) Chris: Facts. Yeah. And the thing I love about it, Eric, as it relates to talent, right? Like I think traditionally when your business partners, when people are walking in, like when we walked into finance and accounting, FP&A, and it was completely different, right? It was built on finance being viewed traditionally as a support function.

(00:26:09) Chris: We were the quantitative people, we were, yeah, we were is

(00:26:12) Erik: I say

(00:26:13) Chris: we were isolated in our finance organization, and we focused mainly on outputs. That was the value prop and everything you just talked about shifting towards that future and what that talent. What talent want to be a part of.

(00:26:25) Chris: What they want to the ability to be able to write the story in, right? They want to be people that are value-added, as you mentioned, right? We have to have CFOs be shifting more towards the qualitative aspects of our organization and we have to be more in collaborative inside the organization and not necessarily focus so much on the outputs, but the impact that we’re making, right?

(00:26:47) Chris: The core competencies of the value that the CFOs bring into the organization is the same thing that are these talent finance professionals that we want part of our team, that’s what they’re looking for, right? They’re like, I want to have a seat at the table and be supportive, right? I want to make sure that we’re focused on impact and my work matters and it has an impact, right?

(00:27:07) Chris: And I want to bring that emotional intelligence side, right? So like you can look at it ying for yang, right? Like traditionally supportive. The new horizon. We want to be value-added, as you mentioned, right? Traditionally, we were e IQ-focused. Now we want the CFO to be EQ-focused, right? And I think like those four criteria from a talent perspective, that’s how it all comes together, right?

(00:27:30) Chris: And if you bring talented accounting finance, FP&A controller, what have you, whatever role. Into that kind of organization. To me, it gets upon like the maximum ROI, the maximum impact that you as a leader are going to be able to make and you as the and the team’s going to be able to provide. And I think like you, you give anybody, I loved your first, how you teed it off company A and company B. Company B is doing all the things that we talked about. They have the ability to work with a great CFO like you that. Has a high emotional intelligence focus on impact, wants to collaborate inside the business, right?

(00:28:07) Chris: Or company A, that is like IQ-focused. You’re output driven, you’re isolated. That talent’s going to look at both of ’em and say, man, I’m going to flourish and I know I’m going to bring more value. I know I’m going to have more impact in my career and I’m going to learn their most in company B. So it’s actually, you’re actually as a CFO creating a great competitive advantage when you build that kind of organizations, build that kind of partnership element.

(00:28:33) Chris: And focus on that EQ aspect of it. So yeah, I hundred percent agree I love that insight and how you were able to break it down into those key boxes from traditional versus this new, what I like to call, Fresh CFO approach. So thank you for that, man.

(00:28:48) Erik: You got to trademark

(00:28:49) Chris: Yeah. It’s in the works bro. It’s in the works, but hey man. One last question I’d like to ask every guest before we end, is, What’s your number one hot finance trend and why?

(00:29:02) Erik: Ooh, that’s a great question. With the ever-changing macroeconomic environment that we’ve been living in for the past, so many years, it’s just, it’s been a rollercoaster. Volatility let’s say. You know what I mean? It’s been crazy. You’ve had the ups, you’ve had the downs, you have the sideways and you don’t know what’s coming.

(00:29:20) Erik: Between all the, FTX, SVB, you have all the, it is just been war, inflation, rising interest rates, and then covid. You are just it’s a really unique time to be a CFO or to be in business. And I think. One of the things that have been maybe a solid trend through that is data.

(00:29:42) Chris: Ooh,

(00:29:42) Erik: right?

(00:29:43) Erik: And I think data as a mote is something and not just financial data, but data, operational data KPIs, metrics, what, like creating that culture that you said this EQ culture within the company is so key. But what’s the data behind? What’s the retention? What are you, how does it equate to some kind of value-added measurement that we can show?

(00:30:05) Erik: So if you’re showing value for a company, Going to investors, we have all these things. That’s very soft skill stuff but look at the value that actually our retention is extremely high. We have a low turnover. We’re creating value, people are working harder, smarter, better, more efficiently, because they care about their jobs.

(00:30:22) Erik: They have an impact; they have a voice. Look at the innovation and the products we’ve built and so that data and fact pattern is so key in telling the story. At the end of the day, that’s the support backbone to the story. And I say, I. And I always say fact pattern because sometimes I don’t like to say storytelling because storytelling insinuates that it’s fictional,

(00:30:40) Chris: Yeah.

(00:30:41) Erik: that we’re making it up, right?

(00:30:42) Erik: I say fact pattern because it’s non-fictional. It’s actual facts and data and information that tell a great story of the value-added company. So I think the trend that I’ve seen in, if I look at what we do or what any companies do, it’s like. What is the data? What is the characteristic and data of your consumers, and your customers?

(00:31:02) Erik: How do you market to them to get, you get them in the pipeline? How do you get them to convert a very high-rate different marketing metrics, right? And understanding like where the investments are, how does that equate to return and ROI and revenue? How do we invest in those areas? How what are the, what’s the revenue per headcount?

(00:31:18) Erik: What are these types of data information pieces that you can say? We’re getting more efficient. We’re creating scale, we’re leveraging, we’re getting smarter and better. It’s creating value for the company. But I think data around all parts of organization that may be great marketers I’ve worked with, they’re very data-driven.

(00:31:34) Erik: Great operational people, very data-driven salespeople, even very data Some salespeople that are great, they just, the old salespeople that are used car salespeople. I can do this; I can sell you this. I can sell any, I can sell, I can sell water to a fish, right? But if you use that information, Almost the product will sell itself.

(00:31:52) Erik: You don’t have this slimy, like I’m the sales guy. You have to look at this data. HR data, D E I E S G. Finance has a ton of data, right? Do you think it? Legal you like. Legal has data. Legal has data, right? We should have legal. A lot of great legal folks I’ve worked with, understand modeling in the business really well because it impacts how they create contracts at the end of the day.

(00:32:12) Erik: What’s in the contract? What’s the return? What’s the cancellation? What are all these different types of things? It’s so important and you’re like, really? It? A lot of data. What who’s, what kind of fishing is happening? What’s our defense on that? We have SOC2 documentation, all these different types of things, and facilities.

(00:32:27) Erik: Okay. What is our lease per square foot? When is that going up? What’s our headcount per square foot? Like these types of things. Just data that we can be more efficient. Just asking the questions, understanding what your metrics are and your measurements of success. That tells a fact pattern to show value.

(00:32:44) Erik: Is so key, and that pierces all the way through the organization tells a great story, and everybody can understand data and can’t argue data because data numbers don’t lie. I think as a CFO, that’s what you have to do, you drop the mic, you walk away, Hey, that’s what it is, bro. You know what I

(00:33:01) Chris: Yeah, I love it, man. To all those CFOs, VPs of finance, and finance professionals. You heard it here first from Eric, right? We need to move away from data to insights. And turn that data to value-added impact, so that, that is you, man. I love it. Hey Eric, I really appreciate this conversation for other people that want to learn more about you, and connect with you, what are some resources on how they can find you, follow you, connect with you, or learn more about everything that you’re doing at Orange Comment.

(00:33:29) Erik: Yeah, definitely hit connect with me on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn page. I think you guys got that information. Happy to. I pretty much connect with everybody and I try to respond as much as possible. I know it’s a small world out there, and so I appreciate people reaching out. I had my own consulting business, so I understand that when people reach out, I try to take every call I can and as much as I can.

(00:33:46) Erik: I know it’s overwhelming, but I love networking and meeting great people. That’s the most important thing. It’s a small world and it’s not just for finance, it’s just for life, after I, I don’t want I think I told you when I die, I don’t want my tombstone to say CFO. I want to say, Great person, great human being, great father, great husband great brother, right?

(00:34:04) Erik: Whatever that is. That’s more important than what I did in my work career, but that’s building great relationships with people. So love having, reach out to me, and connect on LinkedIn. My, I think my email is on there as well, but happy to chat with anybody and really happy to mentor folks. I love it.

(00:34:18) Erik: I love speaking about these things. I’m very passionate

(00:34:20) Erik: about, as

(00:34:20) Chris: Definitely, and to all of those, I, Eric, I want to give you your roses, bro. You have been, One of the most tremendous finance CFO leaders that I’ve had the opportunity to meet, and to be around man. And for all those people listening highly recommend connect with Eric. He is a leading voice in driving this new value proposition, this new impact that the office of the CFO can make.

(00:34:43) Chris: And Eric, you’re writing a legacy for CFOs of the future for the next. Five to 10, 15 years, bro I highly recommend everybody connect with him and Eric. Man, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for all your energy and insights. I was sitting here taking notes and to all the listeners, thank you so much for listening.

(00:34:59) Chris: And Eric, thank you so much. And thank you for coming to CFO Trends.

(00:35:03) Erik: Thank you very much, Chris, for having me, and thanks to everybody for listening. I really appreciate it.

(00:35:06) Chris: Thank you for listening in. Join us for our next episode while I’ll be talking with Melissa Harrington, CFO at Premier Claims about the CFO’s Guide to Finance business partnership.

Continue Reading