May 25, 2024
Must-have tools modern CFOs need in growth-stage startups | TechCrunch

Having spent several years heading Silicon Valley Bank’s fintech sector and now as Liquidity Group’s North America CEO, I’ve often encountered some tools that growth-stage startups should embrace to get the job done. The role of CFOs in growth-stage startups extends beyond traditional financial management. The pressure is to be precise and effective and build a workflow that reduces company workload without compromising quality. In fact, for many industries, fintech included, modernizing the CFO’s tech stack has become a prerequisite for success.

The smart, modern CFO’s tech stack should include tried-and-true methods and embrace innovative tools. These tools should streamline financial tasks and support data-driven decision-making. This stack includes advanced solutions for financial planning and risk management, spend management, and capital table management.

Out with the old

As businesses grow and mature, their financial infrastructure becomes more complex and requires advanced tools to manage financial operations efficiently.

“A good sign you need to update your CFO’s stack is when your team is doing manual tasks repeatedly or if more of the time is spent on gathering data rather than driving insights,” said Rose Punkunus, CEO of Sudozi and a former CFO for Uber.

Remember that many common technologies we all loved a few years — or decades — ago are no longer useful today. You should avoid:

  • Manual data entry: With the rise of optical character recognition (OCR), voice, and even AI-based content ingestion, manual data entry is a relic of the past. Stamp it out when you see it.
  • Legacy systems: Older financial software that doesn’t support API integrations can hinder growth and scalability. Do an audit of your current systems and ‌find ‌stuff that doesn’t work anymore.
  • Paper-based invoicing: Not only is it environmentally unfriendly, but it could also be more efficient and prone to errors. If there is paper anywhere in your compliance chain, remove it.
  • Isolated financial tools: Tools that do not offer cross-software integration can create data silos, making combined financial reporting a challenge.

[A CFO’s tech stack should include] advanced solutions for financial planning and risk management, spend management, and capital table management.

“Say we’re talking about the procurement process. If the finance team is routing requests to different people for approvers, it’s probably time to get some workflow automation instead of having your finance team re-route emails,” said Punkunus. “In a data-gathering situation, if you’re constantly downloading the data from one place and creating new pivot tables in Excel, see if there’s an FP&A tool that can help consolidate the data sources so the team is spending more time deriving insights or re-forecasting.”

Financial planning and analysis

A crucial element in the CFO’s tech stack is financial planning and analysis (FP&A) software. Solutions like Adaptive Planning lead the way by enabling CFOs to generate accurate financial forecasts, analyze cash flows, and make strategic decisions based on real-time data. These tools help identify trends, anticipate risks, and provide financial stability by supplying actionable insights.

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