The Bottom Line: Closing the leadership gap

The Bottom Line: Closing the leadership gap

I just did the math...this is the 26th edition of the Bottom Line. I'm proud of that, but I definitely could not do it without the help of the rest of the Lola team. I'm going to start working in more of their thoughts into future Bottom Line editions. Stay tuned.

– Mike

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finance leadership gap

3 Keys to Closing the Leadership Gap in Finance, According to Female CFOs

Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that there were very few female CFOs in unicorn companies? It's a bad stat, and it gets even worse when you look at Fortune 500 companies. Only 64 of the F500 companies have female CFOs. That's 12.5%. Yikes.

In an effort to close this leadership gap, Teampay asked a number of female CFOs about how they think the gap can be closed. Their answers came down to three things:

1. Increased access to sponsorship from senior executives

2. Company cultures and policies that promote work-life balance

3. Transparent hiring and promotion practices

Let's dig into some of these things...

Sarah Friar, the current CEO of Nextdoor (and former CFO at Square) credits some of her success to a great mentor she had earlier in her career. But, like most things, getting a quality mentor is easier said than done. What makes it more difficult is that only 58% of companies have any sort of formal mentorship program.

Work-life balance is another area that needs improvement in many companies. The CFO at Unity Technologies, Kim Jabal, says that setting clear boundaries for your work-life and home-life is a must. But, that's something that might be more difficult for lower level employees. It's might take serious organizational change for your lower level employees to feel comfortable ignoring work on the weekends.

If you're serious about closing the leadership gap, you probably need to read this post...



Align Finance and HR for a Smarter Workforce Strategy

Alignment is something I haven't written about enough. Pretty much all business units in a company need to align with each other, but finance and HR is one of the most important alignments.

Oracle recently asked 1,510 finance and HR pros what they can do to better align themselves. It came down to two main challenges:

Challenge #1: Skills Gaps
The skills gaps cited in the survey were mostly data-related skills. Respondents said that they didn't fully know how to act on the data and analytics they had to solve problems. As a result, when HR and finance are working together they might come up with two separate conclusions about the same data.

To help solve this one, get rid of the spreadsheets. Use standardized cloud-based analytics tools to help you understand what your data is saying to you. These tools can improve your data quality and understanding.

Challenge #2: Misaligned Perceptions and Priorities
This one isn't so much a misalignment between finance and HR but a misalignment between those two groups and the rest of the company. For example, let's say HR and finance come up with a new way to manage the company's talent pipeline. If the rest of the company isn't aligned and bought in, this great new system might totally fail.

The solution to Challenge #2 isn't as straightforward, but educating the rest of your company's leadership on your goals can be step in the right direction.

As always, I left plenty for you all to read from this one. Dive in...


The Hit List

It's been a great week for interesting content. Here are a few other things I've been reading this week...

1) From the WSJ: Tesla's new CFO is moving to rebuild the company's finance team.

2) If you're looking for something to download, Concur has a great whitepaper about the tools CFOs need to succeed.

3) NYT has come out with some great pieces on productivity lately. I like this one about attention management.

4) Disney is using nostalgia to sell $4,500 purses to adults. It's working for them. Fast Company has the scoop about this shift.

5) Scott Galloway is pretty skeptical of Lyft's IPO price. He thinks it's going to go way, way down in the next 12 months.

Pick of the Week

Things are going well for Airbnb (you probably knew that already), but how well are they going? According to Recode, their 2018 revenue surpassed Hilton's:

US consumer lodging sales

About the Author: Mike Volpe
Mike is the CEO of and an active member of the startup community as a board member at Validity and Privy, and as an angel investor in more than 40 startups. Before Lola he held executive positions at HubSpot and Cybereason.