Episode #5

CFOs Guide to Finance Business Partnership

Melissa Hurrington, CFO & VP of Operations at Premier Claims, talks with us about the CFO Guide to Finance Business Partnership. Covering what it is, how to do it, and the benefits of partnering with finance.

“Partnership is everything and I think a lot of it is about being willing to admit what you don't know and letting other people be experts at what they're designed to be experts at. Do you have to know your accounting system or ERP or CRM? Yes. Do you have to know your account's payable process a thousand percent?”

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.

Chris Ortega (00:16):

What’s up everybody? This is Chris Ortega. I’m really excited today to be joined by Melissa Hurrington, CFO and senior VP of Operations at Premier Claims as she shares her thoughts on the CFO’s Guide to Finance Business Partnership. In this conversation, she shares how it’s important for CFOs to be great business partners across the finance organization as well as inside the business. Melissa, welcome to CFO TRENDS.

Melissa Hurrington (00:44):

Thank you so much for having me today.

Chris Ortega (00:46):

Awesome, awesome. Hey, so one of the most important things for CFOs right now is this idea of finance business partnership, right? You see it all across, different definitions of it, different impacts of what it has, different meanings of the value it brings to organization. So in today’s topic, we’re going to be talking about the CFO’s Guide to Finance Business Partnership. And one of my first questions that I just want to lead off the conversation with is that because there’s so much of that conversation in the community, in the finance space, when you think about finance business partnership, what does that mean to you?

Melissa Hurrington (01:22):

For me, it’s twofold. It’s internal and external. So when I’m looking at that, how can the finance team be a partner to the rest of the internal department? And then what partners are out there that are experts at what they do that you can outsource, or bring into your finances as a plugin or anything else that brings that value into the company. So you could really go any direction with that.


But at the end of the day, business results in the financials, it results in the finance side of it. We are all here for cashflow for the most part, unless you’re a nonprofit and even then you need cashflow to make your mission happen, and that falls on the finance plate. So making sure that you’re managing that cash appropriately, that you’re spotting any trends and that you have a real game plan together and are partnering with anyone that brings that value.

Chris Ortega (02:27):

Yeah, I’d love that aspect of it being both internal and external. I think to me, so much of what we do in the CFO of the future, I call them the fresh CFOs, it’s not just about the impact and the partnership that we have with our marketing, our sales, our operations. It’s going to be the impact that we have with our external communities too like the bankers, the auditors, the tax people, the lawyers, all the different people that we help serve and support, and making sure that we can have that same level of partnership across the internal and external dynamics.


And you talked about that, you went to finance business partner, and the first thing you talked about was the partnership. And that’s so to me, when looking back over my finance career, that has always been out of finance, business partnership, the partnership side of it has been the most important, right? Because the finances are typically where most people want to lead. They want to lead with the finance and then they want to learn the business. But to me, I think starting at the end of that, with that partnership and building that. So what would be some of your best practices for those listeners, for those CFOs, those VPs of finance, those finance professionals, about how they can go build that partnership element in being a great finance business partner?

Melissa Hurrington (03:44):

The partnership is everything. And I think a lot of it is about being willing to admit what you don’t know and letting other people be experts at what they’re designed to be experts at. Do you have to know your accounting system or ERP or C R M? Yes. Do you have to know your accounts payable process? A thousand percent. Do you have to know your business operations? You do. Do you have to understand how the banking works, how your lending works, all of that? But there is somebody else that is an expert at all of those things. So build those partnerships on that solid foundation and then let them be experts at what they are experts at and be willing to go to them and ask questions and lean on them and leverage their knowledge. Because you cannot in any company, no matter how brilliant you are, know all the things better than anyone else. So build those partnerships and then just become the connector of those and bring the information in.

Chris Ortega (04:47):

Melissa, that is fire right there. And I love that point so much is because I think too many times traditional CFOs, and I see this with clients sometimes that I work with where it’s just this common misconception that people think CFOs know everything in finance. We know everything. And I’m like, that’s not the case, man. And your point of empowering, and get the right person with the right expertise, empower them, enable them and then the most important thing that you just talked about, get out of their way and let them be great. Literally let them do their thing. Let them just go do that. And when I look back over leading finance organization of high growth businesses, that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to find people that were like, you’re a domain expertise, whether it’s in tax or whether it’s in controllership or in credit control and go be great.


And if you need anything from me, you’re empowered, you’re enabled. And I’ll give you all the, you’re equipped with all the skills, knowledge and experience that you need. Go do that. Go execute. So enable, empower, equip, and execute for partnerships. And that’s so important. And I think too many times it gets down to this perfectionist aspect of it where it’s like, CFO, we want to be perfect. We want to get that number down to the penny. And sometimes you just got to just say, you know what? At the end of the day, go be great at what you want to be great at.

Melissa Hurrington (06:11):

Yeah. I think the traditional CFO, for the most part, the first thing you were really outsourcing was your taxes to your CPA. Most people aren’t doing that in-house, right? We were so comfortable saying, you’re a CPA, you can handle our taxes. But technology especially is evolving way quicker than I can keep up with so why aren’t we leveraging those partnerships, those relationships just as heavy?


I cannot be an expert on the latest and greatest thing that is out there, but I can go up there and they’re experts, they’ve done the research, they’ve done the time, and now come in and integrate it into my day to day. And so viewing that the same way that your traditional CFO views, that CPA relationship of, okay, they’re going to handle my taxes because they are up-to-date on the latest regulations, the latest compliance issues, they know all of those things and they’re going to take care of me. And typically you just don’t want to do it. Do the same thing for all of the other things that are out there. If you wanted to do taxes, you’d work for a public accounting firm. That’s just a reality.

Chris Ortega (07:24):

Definitely. Now, I love that. I’m getting this image in my head and to all the listeners it’s like when you get those updates on your computer, you’re just like, man, I’ve got all these updates, all this update in tax, all this updating IFRS8, whatever new IRFS or US GAAP change is happening. And you’re just like, you’ve got one computer and you’re trying to update every single aspect of it versus just saying, hey, you know what? I’ve got a horsepower like tax. I got a horsepower accounting, I got a horsepower credit control, I got a horsepower treasury management. Let them have their own source system, let them have their own computer. Those updates install there and I’ll just have it here. That’s awesome. Which leads to my next question, and you talked about this. What role do you think technology has played in that CFO’s Guide to Finance Business Partnership?

Melissa Hurrington (08:13):

Well, if it’s not playing a significant role, then I don’t know what to tell you. The world is evolving quicker than any of us can keep up with. So it has to play a significant role in it. And then the reality is you’ve got to learn to leverage it and you’ve got to embrace it even if there’s some people, it’s overwhelming to them. I will openly say the AI that’s out there right now that’s coming out just so hot, so fast is overwhelming to me. But you’ve got to embrace it. It is here, it is now it is happening. Don’t be left in the dust. And the biggest thing, instead of looking at it as like, oh, here we go, yet another change because man, has it been a couple of years of change. Every time you turn around, the world’s flipped upside down for us.


But needing to look at that and implement it into your playbook and see it as a value add that now I have this thing, incredible opportunity to take my current staff and find a way to remove the things off of their plate that frankly they don’t want to be doing either. And then they have new challenges, they can take on new things. They can tap into that analysis side of their brain rather than spending a ton of time in the mundane administrative things and taking that technology and embracing it.


The hardest part of it is just deciphering through which of the 400,000 new things that got released yesterday is a good application to my business. And that can be hard and that can feel like a mountain, but you just got to start somewhere and see that as a value add, of I can take something off their plate so they can go do something even better so they can bring more value to the company as a whole. So the tech piece of it’s here. We’re not going back to the green general ledgers anytime soon. Get rid of your pencils. You don’t need them. So it is here, embrace it otherwise you’re just going to truly be left in the dust.

Chris Ortega (10:17):

Yeah, and I love that point, Melissa, because I think when you look back at it, if you break down a business and you look at the different functional areas of a business and you relate that to AI and all these new tools, looking back over my experience, sales and marketing in terms of technology adoption and impact it had at their business, they were always at the the early of that curve. They were those early adopters, right? They were the ones that soon as something comes out, you got your sales and marketing people that are testing it, using it, leveraging it, right? And then when you get to the traditional finance organization in terms of that spectrum of technology adoption, sales and marketing being earlier in the curve, so they’re more technology adopters. We were always traditionally the technology laggers. We wanted to make sure it was audit compliant.


We had all the checklists of things that we wanted to check off before we leveraged the technology. I’m not saying that, and I’m not recommending, that CFOs go be that early adopter, but where the use cases make sense because there’s ChatGPT, there’s Bard, there’s all these different solutions that have practical applications.


I was using it with one of my clients where we were doing some process documentation and one of the key things we were working on through with their accounting partner was making sure we had clear process documentation. We were looking at this and it was this big task of being able to do it. And I was like, Hey, why don’t we leverage ChatGPT, and we can type in and say, write us a bad debt expense policy for a retail company that’s X amount of dollars that’s been around in the US. And literally, and my point to all those CFOs is that it didn’t give everything that we needed, but it was a great first start. It got us to that 60% yard line and we were able to go through and redefine it. So it’s a way like you mentioned, to upskill, it’s a way to get you out of that low value, that routine that’s really not increasing that business partnership.

Melissa Hurrington (12:19):

Yeah, I love that you said that. I have no shame in raising my hand and admitting I’m very conservative. I’m very careful. I’m a little bit skeptical of some of the things that come out there and frankly, end to end automation overwhelms me. Something that’s going to happen directly in the background that my eyes aren’t on it. I can’t see it myself, it just scares me. Out of sight, out of mind, how many expenses, ongoing expenses are going to be happening and you just don’t even realize it because you’re not having to manually go in and post it. I’m not that far off the rails, but it overwhelms me to an extent. So I like to see the automation, the technology, everything else. I call it the rough draft. Spit me out a rough draft and then I can have my eyes on it and I can go through and implement it or I can…


So something like that, the process documentation, put together the rough a draft for me and then what a value add that is to me. But then I guess you could just label it what it is, control freak tendencies can still have my eyes and my hands on it and give that final stamp of approval. So leveraging it in that capacity. I think a lot of people look at it and see, okay, but everything’s just going to be happening and who’s going to know if there’s a mistake or how quickly are we going to be able to catch things? And so for me, that’s really how I see it until my level of comfortability with anything new that we implement gets to a certain threshold is give me the rough draft and then let me sign off on it.

Chris Ortega (13:49):

And when you think about that in terms of partnership, that exact scenario, sitting across from a marketing person or sitting across from an operations or sitting across from somebody in client success or sales and you’re able to get that rough draft, you’re able to work together. Now you are able to have a baseline of saying, of all the responsibilities that I have on my plate, here’s something that we can get to that is a quick, hey, let’s connect on this together and we can fill in what makes sense for the business. And exactly, it talks to your point that you mentioned earlier, it’s leveling you up. Think about all the energy and effort you would’ve spent if you were working on that process. You’re working with sales and you’re trying to look at a credit control policy and you’re starting direct from scratch.


You’re having to do a Google Search or you’re thinking back to the other businesses that work there. You’re like, what do we do there? This could be really… And now you get to right in that conversation where you’re not talking about, well what’s our… It’s like you get to direct now, you’re able to get that conversation to exactly where you need to be in that partnership. I think that’s a use case for all those CFOs, VPs and finance professionals that are listening to this is get it to that rough draft and then partner with your business partners to fill in what makes sense for your business and what impact did it get. That’s such a valid point.

Melissa Hurrington (15:09):


Chris Ortega (15:10):

Next question. We talked about technology a lot. We talked to the external aspect of it. When I think of finance business partnership, technology’s obviously important, the people side of it too. I think another one that is really, really critical is this element of performance. At the end of the day, you talked about this earlier, we got to drive performance. And a lot of that is sometimes finance being the project manager. Sometimes that’s us being in the front, in the driver’s seat helping guide the business. So when you think of high performance as it relates to finance business partnership, how do CFOs help drive that high performance inside of organizations?

Melissa Hurrington (15:50):

I think there’s nobody better suited to spot trends than your finance professionals. We analyze trends with Dell all day long. So when it comes to that high performance, you think even your vehicle, which I know not to think about my vehicle, but I have a dashboard with lights on it that’s going to tell me when there’s a trend happening that I should be aware of because I’m not somebody who can tell by the feel of how the car is driving that something’s going on with X, Y, and Z. I don’t even know the parts of it. So it’s that spotting those trends, analyzing that data. We can be the little lights on the dashboard that are the flashing signs of something’s going on here. Doesn’t mean that there’s a critical malfunction, but we got something going on here and you can really drive that high performance within the company.


It’s looking at things from an ROI perspective. I know there’s this traditional idea that a CFO is the quickest person to go to if you like hearing the word no, but for me it’s not that. It’s always a pushback of a question of is that the best way to spend this money? Money makes money, make no doubt. You could pour as much money as you wanted to in marketing and it is going to produce results. But are those the best results that you can get with the money that you spent? So if somebody comes in with the $50,000, ask, my pushback it’s not going to be a no for me, my pushback is going to be, is this the best way to spend this $50,000 or whatever it is? Is this the best use of that cashflow that’s going to give us the greatest returns? Have you thought about the other ways that you might potentially spend this money and you’ve really determined that this is the best way to do it?


And I think that drives performance, making sure that you’re spending the money the right way. Are your people taken care of? Is your technology stack where it needs to be in 2023? Is something going on in sales? There’s a trend in the worst way happening and you can kind of spot it out ahead to make sure that we are still maintaining that peak performance. Or I always say the other way around, sometimes when sales go up, that’s great for the business and a nightmare for everybody that then has to execute on that. Is my staffing in a good place for the way that sales are trending right now? Do I have a game plan for this? What other things are going to fall as a result of those sales increasing? So just kind of being the person that has your hands on all the levers to make sure that we are maintaining that peak performance.

Chris Ortega (18:39):

That’s perfect. And I think you highlight two important points out of that. The first one is that traditional mindset of CFOs and I work with so many different founders, CEOs and business owners, and the first thing that they work with me are, they’re just like, we never worked with finance CFOs like you before. And so much of that stereotype where it’s just the business has this concern and it’s just instantly the CFO’s like, no. Working with a CFO, I would tell mine no five times and if they came back the sixth time, I knew that they really needed it and I would say yes. And I was like, that seems like why all those different iterations, why would you have the business go through that? What we talked about was it’s not about saying no, it’s about saying having given that critical thinking to it, is this the actual best use or what have you got out of it? Or how do you see this shaping out the next six to eight, 12 months.


Help these partners think about that span strategically and what are the pros and cons, the opportunity costs. Okay, we do this, like your example, we take that $50,000 marketing investment, okay, what after that? What does that look there? What kind of business results do we expect to see? What are the lateral outputs around that?


And being, not that ninja to the business, but that curiosity person to say, “Hey, have you thought about things?” In terms of partnership, that’s the best lens, right? Because the cool thing about us as CFOs, we’re going to see every in the business and every decision makes, we ultimately see that bottom line result it’s going to have. Either it’s an invoice, we have to pay revenue that we’re getting commissions that we’re paying, we see the end of the story around it, and when we can partner with our business partners to help them see that from the beginning to the end, that’s huge value.

Melissa Hurrington (20:33):

It’s kind of taking almost a coaching approach. You’re not supposed to give an answer, you’re just supposed to ask a question. I have really challenged myself in the last year to, obviously some things need a straight-up stamp of approval from me, but taking a look at it of I don’t want to be the person that says yes or no. I am not the person that can tell the marketing department or our sales team yes or no. They know. So pushing back on things like the question, if somebody comes in, can I have X amount of dollars for this reason? Well, is that the best use? Do you think this is going to produce the best results and getting them to give me a yes or no? And it is interesting to see how often they’ve cut out their own projects, own ideas, or come back and been like, well, damn let me go back.


And some people are like, and someone said it to me the other day, “I can always count on you to ruin a good time.” I’m like, “I know, that’s fine. I’m comfortable with it. But hold on, let’s like replay the conversation in your head. I never said no, I just asked you a couple of questions and then you came to your own result.”


Because you don’t want to, again, viewing that almost like the partnership thing of I’m not here to tell my husband what to do or not to do. We’re here to have a conversation about what’s going to work well for our family. And so viewing that partnership level, it’s all relationships. I don’t want someone to come in and try to butter me up and convince me of something to get me to a yes or leave feeling like, dang, there goes Melissa rejecting me again. No, you are going to reject your own ideas or think through if there’s a better way to do something or something else. So I’m always kind of trying to take that coaching mindset and them to their own, yes or no and just kind of using me as in…

Chris Ortega (22:23):

Man, that is awesome, Melissa. That’s so transformative for CFOs and finance leaders to think about that, right? Don’t be the partner for your business partner be the coach for them. Right? And you heard it here from Melissa, getting the business to think through their own use case. And one of the greatest experiences and joys that I get out of my career and working with clients too is when they get that aha moment. It clicks and they’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re right. If we delayed here, or we pushed back at this particular point this is the impact that it can have.” And now you’ve empowered them not only with the decision making aspect of it, but you’ve actually helped them connect the dot. And now we’re in that next conversation. And now when they work with you they’re going to automatically have that mindset of thinking through, like Melissa’s point, is this the best use? Is this the best benefit that we’re going to get in the short or long term? Does this have the biggest impact?


They’re already thinking like an owner. They’re thinking exactly the questions we’re going to have and now they’re empowered and now they have their framework. And in terms of the partnership aspect of it, that’s leveling up the team, right? You’re getting the financial acumen, that financial discipline in other parts of the organization, in sales, in marketing, in client success, in operations, in HR. You’re able to get that kind of mindset and that mentality of, I’m not saying no, but I’m making sure that you’re critically thinking about is this the best use? And to follow up, if they come back and say, “Yep, I’m confident in it, here’s my plan, here’s what I went through, here’s the impact it’s going to have in a short and long term.” The final step is like, okay, what can I serve? Let’s go execute on this together. It’s like, let’s go forward with it now.

Melissa Hurrington (24:13):

Yes. And I think it leads to a lot less resentment is the only word that’s coming to my mind right now, which is a little bit aggressive. But it’s really kind of changed how it’ll view me, my seat within the company of it’s not this, did mom say yes or no type of a vibe. It’s way more of a partnership. I mean, that’s the word that I would use at the end of it is, I’m just as invested in the company being successful as each of you are. So is this the path forward to that success? There’s a million ways you can go. You’re going to get value you would hope out of most anything that you’re going to spend, but just making sure that we think it all the way through.

Chris Ortega (24:55):

Definitely. And I love your point on the partnership element and how so much personal life can translate over.

Melissa Hurrington (25:01):

Oh yeah.

Chris Ortega (25:01):

And to me, when I think of great finance business partnerships that I’ve had and just the cornerstones partnerships both personally and professionally, it’s built on two key pillars, trust and competency. We talk about that and typically a lot of traditional CFOs, a lot of traditional finance professionals, when they go about building that finance business partnership and that partnership element, like with competency, we want to show that we’re the smartest CFO and we know the up-to-date US GAAP and we greet partners with all this jargon that doesn’t matter.


It doesn’t mean anything versus building that trust. And the framework that you just laid out I would challenge all CFOs, all VPs of finance to take that framework. That’s a framework that you’re building trust. Now you’re building trust in a way that the business can see it from both sides. You’re going to see it from mine, and I’m going to see it from yours, and if we both come into the partnership and we agree and we trust each other that we can execute, let’s go execute.

Melissa Hurrington (26:02):


Chris Ortega (26:03):

Let’s go do this.

Melissa Hurrington (26:04):

Yeah, absolutely. I love that.

Chris Ortega (26:06):

I love it. Awesome point. One last and just a follow-up on the business partnership side, right? We covered on the P5, we talked a little bit about technology. We talked about that mindset and that coaching aspect, which I think is super transformative and innovative. When you also think of the finance business partnership and challenge, there’s a lot and adversity that CFOs are going through that maybe in right now and you’re coming off fine performances that aren’t necessarily the best. How can a CFO, what’s your number one tip for CFOs right now to increase this partnership during uncertainty, adversity and challenge.

Melissa Hurrington (26:45):

So you’re expecting, but my biggest tip in this level of uncertainty is to build that peer network. They are my safety net underneath me. Before that, I feel like covid, inflation, [inaudible 00:27:02] a banking crisis, just taking it to the chin again and again and again. I know you’re a guy and just taking the hit, getting back up and trying to make sure you still got legs. It feels a bit like that. And they’re my safety underneath me, that peer network, to be able to reach out peer to peer, I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know what to do with this challenge. Or being transparent enough and willing to say, “I’m scared.” Watching numbers go through the SVB crisis and the banking crisis from it and having to have conversations of how are you guys telling your staff that their paycheck’s not going to come on Friday?


I was so grateful that wasn’t me having to go through that and I wasn’t struggling with that specifically in our company. But having that peer network is just another leg of that partnership to be that safety net that you know no matter what, they’re going to be there. They’re going to catch you if you’re stumbling, if you’re falling and say, “Okay, Melissa, I got you. Here’s what you need to do next. Call this person, call this person, call this person phone. Let’s get your people paid. Here’s what I told my people. Here was our game plan. Have you thought about doing X, Y and Z?” Whatever else it may be.


It has been the biggest load off my shoulders knowing I have people that I can leverage who are in the trenches with me and are being directly impacted by the things that I’m impacting. So that is my number one thing. The moment I really developed out my CFO peer to peer network, I have felt on top of the world ever since then of. It was like, okay, I’m not doing this alone. I’m not doing this alone. I got it. I can take this next step. I can make this next move because I know I have people I can lean on.

Chris Ortega (29:03):

Man, I love the authenticity and the transparency and vulnerability there, Melissa, because it ties back to the first thing that we talked about in this entire conversation. I took a note on it where it’s just like, listen, we’re not going to have all the answers. I think so much about leadership and so much about it just what I’ve learned in my career and in building fresh FP&As, it’s okay to say that I’m afraid and I don’t have the answers. I think there’s power in that. And once you cut that down, and like you said, you have your network of mentors or advisors, people that you can go to and say, “Hey, I don’t have the answers and I’m seeking some understanding and some guidance and direction, can you help me?” That is powerful, right?


And CFO or finance professionals building that relationship, and you talked about the first point externally, right? Go build those relationships, find those people that have been there, done that, seen the mountaintops. I have plenty of those in my network in my career as well too, of just great people that I can just go to and say, “Hey man, I’m thinking about scaling this to go to market.” And we work together. You and the CRO there, how can we partner with the client and drive their go-to market strategies? I love that Melissa and I appreciate you being authentic and just sharing that vulnerability like, it’s okay as a CFO going through a challenged uncertainty that you don’t have all the answers. It’s okay.

Melissa Hurrington (30:35):

Yeah, absolutely. And I am authentic probably to a fault. My transparency is my biggest strength and potentially my biggest weakness depending on who is viewing it. But I believe so strongly in authenticity that I don’t have it in me to stand in front of any group of people and be like, I have the answers, when my knees are shaking. And I can stand in front of them and say, “I will lead you through this. We will together get through this crisis.” And know that and mean it from my heart, but I can’t stand there and say, “I have all the answers.” But there’s somebody out there that has an answer at least. And so being willing to admit that and see it, because I think people will also call BS on you. If you’re standing in front of the board or whatever external reporting pod and saying the [inaudible 00:31:34] very uncertain, and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next six months, but we’re good.


We’re good. Everything’s fine. They’re going to call BS on you right away. So being willing to say, it kind of goes back in the simplest way to when somebody asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, instead of just making up an answer or straight up lying saying, “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.” Getting back to them it builds that foundation of trust. And that’s easy to say when it’s a simple question, but when it does feel like, I don’t know the future of this company and what that looks like, it feels a bit riskier exposed, but being willing to say, “I don’t know, but we’re going to figure it out and we’re going to figure it out together and you’re going to get nothing but the truth from me” is to me, way more authentic and how I choose to lead.

Chris Ortega (32:30):

Definitely. And I think it gets back to that pillar of trust. When you can go there and there’s been some when I sat in front of an entire organism, I’m like, “Look, here are the facts of what I know. Here are the unknowns. Here’s what I don’t know. Here’s what I can speak confidently to and I want to make sure that I proactively communicate that to you. Here are the unknowns and these are the things I don’t know. However, once I have more clarity around it, I’m going to make sure that we proactively communicate that to you and you’re informed.” There’s so many leaders that are not to do that because it’s just this perfection of leaders, this common myth that every finance leader should have an answer to every question. You should always have a response. You’re a leader, you’re a CFO, you should have an answer to everything.


And it’s like, that’s not the case man. And I think they’re sore to having that vulnerability of saying, “Here’s what I can confidently speak to, here’s what I can’t confidently speak to, but when I can have more clarity and confidence to these unknowns, I’m going to make sure I proactively communicate it.” That’s it, right? And at the end of the day, that’s a lot more in building that trust aspect in that finance business partnership than going up there and faking it till you make it. That’s the worst thing that you can do with building trust is like fake it till you make it.

Melissa Hurrington (33:49):

And my face will communicate exactly how I’m feeling, the words are coming out of my mouth. That is a skill I haven’t mastered. So just embrace it because even if I’ve tried to say stuff I don’t believe my face is going to let everybody know.

Chris Ortega (34:05):

My emotions, you could just tell like, oh, nope, that ain’t going well with Chris. Melissa, one last question for you. One hot finance trend and why?

Melissa Hurrington (34:15):

It’s got to be AI right now. The power in it is wild. It feels like something as powerful as the internet coming out except it’s happening and I couldn’t even put a number around it, a million times faster than an internet rollout. And it is so transformative and I think that is the number one trend happening right now.


I’m currently trying to wrap my mind around it, wrap my hands around it to see what little bite-sized things I can implement. It scares me. It overwhelms me, but [inaudible 00:34:59] at once and just take little bits of it and implement it and integrate it into what we are doing. I just see it as such a great opportunity for my current staff to be able to do more, not with less, but with our current level of staffing our company grows. So it is out there, it is happening. It is so far outside of my comfort zone yet so exciting. And just making sure that I’m leveraging those partnerships to educate myself on it and see what works and make a couple of mistakes along the way, see what doesn’t work as well.

Chris Ortega (35:36):

Awesome. I love that. I [inaudible 00:35:39] as well too. I think it’s here to stay and to all those listeners out there, find a use case to play with it every day. You’ll get a lot more comfortable when you play around with it. I know me and my team, we use it a lot and just playing around with it and the applications of not only what it can do for [inaudible 00:35:53] for it and the best way is to just go out there, test it out, find some use cases, play around with it. Definitely agree.


Melissa, thank you so much for your time. In closing, if people want to learn more about you, where could they find you? Where can they connect with you? Where could they have the opportunity to hear more from you?

Melissa Hurrington (36:11):

Yeah, the best place would be my LinkedIn, Melissa Hurrington. It’s Hurrington with a U. H-U-R-R-I-N-G-T-O-N. You’ll see my face and I keep it pretty transparent on there as well. I have no problem shouting my mistakes from the rooftops and come on over, join the club for sure of all of us looking to take a different approach on the CFO world and leadership as a whole.

Chris Ortega (36:39):

Yeah, Melissa, I love every conversation I get to have with you. I would highly recommend all of those finance professionals, CFOs, VP, business owners, definitely connect with Melissa. She’s absolutely amazing. Melissa, thank you so much for your time and thank you for joining CFO TRENDS.

Melissa Hurrington (36:54):

Thank you.

Thank you for listening in. Join us for our next episode while I’ll be talking with Wendy Fraulo, managing owner at Abingdon Square Advisors about the new competitive advantage for CFOs empowered people.

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