Starting any new job can be a tough and anxiety-producing experience–even more so when it’s a complex leadership position. With the right planning and forethought, however, your first 100 days as CFO can set the foundation for an effectively and profitably run SaaS accounting department.
In this article, we’ll help you get a firm grasp on your “100 days plan” template. What should you prioritize, and how should you get things done? Do you know how to optimize your company’s relationship to its SaaS metrics? Do you know what employers are looking for in a CFO these days? We’ll clue you in.
How to approach the job search for CFO opportunities
If you’ve already landed a role as CFO for a SaaS company, that’s awesome. Congratulations. If not, here are a few quick tips on setting yourself apart from the crowd at your next interview and how to approach your job search.
It’s essential to present yourself in interviews as someone who can assist the company with more than just number crunching. Accounting and finance are no longer seen as passive roles within a company but as vital strategic components in achieving long-term profits.
Cloud-based accounting software has become so powerful that it handles the actual “dollars and cents” computations and reports much more effectively than a human could. So rather than just reporting on your metrics, you’ll be expected to use them to generate revenue.
A few concrete instances of this could include:
- Making important pricing decisions and setting up discount campaigns.
- Deciding which SaaS metrics and KPIs to prioritize.
- Establish strategies to deal with voluntary and involuntary churn.
During your first 100 days as CFO and even afterward, you’ll be expected to handle important strategic initiatives like these.
CFO “first 100 days plan” template
It’s a common question in the SaaS finance community: “What should a CFO do in the first 100 days on the job?”
While different people will invariably have somewhat different answers, you can reliably find some common themes. SaaS companies have similar needs, characteristics, and problems, after all.
Five of the most important steps you can take during your first 100 days as CFO include:
1. Automating every process you can.
Simply put, you should eliminate manual accounting processes wherever you find them. From billing and invoicing to reporting and forecasting, leave no stone unturned. Consider it your responsibility to make sure that manual financial processes don’t keep your company from becoming all that it could be.
2. Making sure you have risk management squared away.
Getting internal controls in place should be your next step. If the company has been lax about its control architecture in the past, correct that as soon as possible. Failing to do so leaves your company open to potentially serious compliance risks, which brings us to the third step in your CFO first 100 days plan template.
3. Double-checking for compliance issues.
Automated accounting software can solve all your compliance worries in one fell swoop. Cloud-based audit trails allow you to record and permanently store essential data about each transaction. Audits only have to be a source of anxiety if you’re unprepared for them.
4. Getting up to speed on current projects.
After you’ve got those three preliminaries dealt with, you should devote more time to the company’s day-to-day projects. It might be monitoring the financial results of a new product rollout, examining the long-term ramifications of pricing strategies to prepare for an upcoming pivot, or something else entirely. But whatever it is, prove yourself to be a team-oriented asset to the company during your first 100 days as CFO.
5. Building relationships and creating trust.
Make sure you go out of your way to earn the trust of the people you’re working with. In any leadership role, you’re only as effective as your ability to get people to believe in your guidance and want to follow your direction. Apart from leveraging your metrics and KPIs, the way to do that is by valuing people’s contributions, giving credit where it’s due, and creating a workplace where people feel free to share their thoughts and ideas.
If you do all this during your first 100 days as CFO, you’ll significantly improve your chances of thriving at your new job.
Automation can optimize your first 100 days as CFO (and beyond)
Starting any new position requires overcoming a large learning curve, especially for a leadership role in SaaS finance. Automation can take large amounts of work off your plate, giving you the gift of time and focus.
And be sure to check out our ebook for CFOs to capitalize on the latest trends in robotic process automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.