The Bottom Line: Data for days
The title gave away the first feature in this week's Bottom Line, but if data isn't your thing, I've also got a great piece about leadership from HBR. You won't want to miss that one.
Rather than writing a lengthy intro, I'll just jump right into it...
3 Ways CFOs Are Leveraging Data From Advanced Technologies
I write about data a lot in the Bottom Line for one reason: it's really useful. But, there is a big downside to data collection: with so much data available, it can be hard to figure out what to track and what to do with that tracked data.
Good news for us, Forbes asked a handful of finance pros how they're using data. I've got some takeaways from that article below. And as always, there's a link to the full article from Forbes at the end of this section.
1) Improve Profitability. Jonathan Byrnes (lecturer from MIT) says that, about one-third of every company's business is unprofitable. That means you should focus on improving profitability where possible. Data collection AI tools can help you get a snapshot of your business's profitability, and work out the inefficiencies from there.
2) Managing Bias. AI is really good at checking and correcting biases. For example, let's say you have a manager who always overbudgets. That manager doesn't do it on purpose, it's just their nature. AI can help you find those anomalies.
3) Demanding (And Getting) Improved Audits. Getting ready to do an audit? There's a tool for that. New audit technologies can help you lay out a strong audit procedure. From there, you'll be able to perform an audit much more quickly.
There's more to this article, but I'll leave you with a quote from Eddie DeSalvio, the Director of Finance for Jet.com, "In the future, finance executives are going to be partly data scientists, knowing what's happening with all the data and being able to make inferences from it."
As Your Team Gets Bigger, Your Leadership Style Has to Adapt
This article might be written by a design leader, but it's still a great piece for leaders of all business units at growing companies.
The author, Julie Zhuo, is the Vice President of Design at Facebook so she knows a thing or two about managing during growth periods. It's not surprising that she recommends adapting your leadership style as your team grows. What is surprising is what she recommends you adapt about your leadership.
Here are a few of her adaptation suggestions...
1) Learning to trust. As your team grows, you just can't be involved in every decision. It would be a total time-suck. Instead, get good at hiring people who are great at their jobs and then let them make their own decisions.
2) People Treat You Differently. The more layers there are between you and lower-level employees, the more likely those lower employees will be uncomfortable pushing back. On a small team, everyone might voice their opinion. On a larger team, employees might take your suggestions as orders. To get around this, it helps to emphasize that you welcome dissenting opinions and reward those who express them.
3) People-Centric Skills Matter Most. The actual skills that got you to a leadership position are probably going to be less used as your team grows. Instead, you'll spend more time managing people. That means you need to actively develop your people-managing skills.
I've barely covered any of this article here. Read the full thing from Harvard Business Review...
The Hit List
Here's a few things I've been reading this week...
1) Episode 3 of our podcast is live! Lola.com's Sales VP, Ryan L. Ball, sat down with the CEO of Agio to talk about bad hires, how to measure your goals, and how to bring a growth mindset to your goals.
2) Oracle says that finance pros need to expand their skill-set into strategy and data-science.
3) More companies are moving to recurring revenue models. This isn’t really surprising, considering the benefits, but CFO.com has the full scoop.
4) AppZen has a piece about which AI technologies CFO’s are investing in.
5) Does your company have frequent traveler benefits? Should you?
Pick of the Week
How about a quote from the Director of Finance for Jet.com, Eddie DeSalvio?
"In the future, finance executives are going to be partly data scientists, knowing what’s happening with all the data and being able to make inferences from it."