The Power of the Tech Finance Community
I recently sat down with Noah Barr, CFO of TrueAccord, and Amanda Kattan, Finance & Strategy Leader at 4th & King, to talk about the vibrant finance and operations community in Silicon Valley. Our conversation reminded me that we can come together in this difficult time to help each other navigate the pandemic.
Here are some highlights of our conversation:
Noah started by sharing his perspective on community:
Our management team and our investors have to adjust as things change very rapidly. So, it's nice to have a community both to answer specific questions and to also learn from other people’s experiences. The SaaS finance community groups I am part of are excellent and very purpose driven. Maybe you’re facing something that you haven’t dealt with before, so you go to your group. Suddenly someone in the group who’s been in your shoes reaches out and gives you the input you need. I try and give back just as much, sharing how to make improvements or avoid pitfalls.
It's clear that he values his community, especially as he moves through his career:
It’s nice when you’re in a relatively insular role in finance or operations. Being part of a community gives you the chance to stop for a second and realize that you're not the only one going through this stuff. When I joined TrueAccord eight months ago, budgets were in development. As a company goes from an early stage to a mid-stage company, budgets get complex. When I was trying to decide on a system, I turned to the community. There was definitely a consensus, and I saved myself a lot of time and a lot of a hassle.
Amanda has a depth of experience in start-ups and contributes that experience to her community. At the same time, the group is a “force multiplier” when she faces new challenges:
To add on to what Noah said, operations people see such a breadth of different issues and are often approaching them for the first and last time. Being able to quickly leverage the experiences of others in these situations is incredibly valuable. In the startup community, one day feels like a year in a larger business, so you need to find extra resources creatively. Being part of a group where there’s a significant level of trust, and people are willing to be very open and honest about their experiences becomes an extension of your team. One challenge I brought to the community involved opening an office in India. The community shared their lessons learned, recommended contacts, and key steps for success. I leveraged the combined wisdom of 300 people to make an informed decision and didn’t need to become an expert.
As we wrapped-up, Amanda made a great point on how to find the right group for you:
I think Noah summed it up really well: “. . .Once you recognize that you're not alone, I think it's finding a group of folks that you respect and you can ask questions; maybe you know someone in the group or a couple people have similar jobs in another SaaS company.”
If you’re looking for a SaaS finance group to help you through the challenges of COVID-19, reach out- we engage with most of the SaaS finance community groups across the US and Canada. Add a comment here with your suggestions, too. Let’s crowdsource this and find more ways to help each other in this volatile time.
Sign-up for our virtual Modern SaaS Finance Summit for expert guidance on managing finance and operations. Our first session, Forecasting the Future of Cash to Navigate Uncertainty had over 500 attendees. We have eight sessions running through April 28, 2020. Register for the Summit here.
David Appel is the Head of Software & SaaS at Sage Intacct, and is passionate about creating great B2B SAAS companies. Over time he has developed a series of SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise customer-lifecycle playbooks that focus on creating value for customers, increasing return for shareholders, and building great teams, that have generated over $1.1B in market capitalization for his clients.
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