The Bottom Line: EQ over IQ for CFOs

The Bottom Line: EQ over IQ for CFOs


Welcome to the 15th edition of the Bottom Line! If you're digging it, I'd love it if you'd pass it on to a friend. Use this link. You can also share it on Twitter or LinkedIn.

On to today's content. We've got a piece about essential skills for CFOs, and 3 ways for your company to reduce spend.

Let's get to it.

- Mike

Skillset of a successful CFO

Skilling Up: The Robust CFO

Truth of the day: leaders have to be mentally resilient. Especially the CFO.

Here's an example of what I mean. Richard Rose is the CFO of Premier Oil, which is an oil company in the UK. If you don't keep up with your UK companies, Premier Oil has had a pretty rough two-year patch. They were burdened with about £2bn of debt.

Rose has started to put his company back on the right track. They're not fully fixed yet, but his number one piece of advice if you're in this situation?

"Have a thick skin and be resilient and be willing to bang on the table. You've got to stand up and believe this is what we're going to do, and this is how we're going to move forward."

Words to live by.

But, that's not all you need. FinancialDirector decided to ask a few other CFO's about the skills you'll need to keep your head above water in the uncertain future.

A common answer? Emotional Intelligence. IQ isn't enough anymore. You also need EQ, or emotional intelligence.

CFOs job-functions are increasing laterally. Meaning that you're not just overseeing finance but probably a few other departments too. As a result, emotional intelligence is needed to lead these different functions.

Take, for example, data-driven decisions. As a finance leader, you're used to dealing with data to make decisions. But, when you make decisions based on data that affect non-finance departments, you could come across as cold and tough. Not a great look for a leader. That's where emotional intelligence comes into play.

Need more on this topic? You know what to do...


3 key ways to reduce spend

Analyzing Data From 1,000 Companies: 3 Key Ways to Reduce Spend

Two things to love in that title: a large data set and reducing spend.

AppZen is the company behind this data and blog post. They aggregated a ton of data from various sources to find the best ways to reduce spend at your company. Here's their top three:

1) Clearly define your travel and expense policy
(Oh hey, we've got a webinar on this exact topic coming up this Wednesday.)

You truly need to set a clearly defined travel and expense policy. It will help your employees understand exactly what they can and cannot submit on expense reports.

Setting limits on hotels, food, and airfare is pretty straightforward, but what about alcohol? Are your employees allowed to buy a beer with dinner when they're traveling?

2) Use AI to gain visibility into your expenses
On average, accounting departments at large companies process 4,374 expense reports per quarter. Yikes. Your company just doesn't have time to manually sort through each one of those reports and verify every purchase.

That's where AI tools can fit in. They'll help you find spending that's out of line with your policy.

3) Identify non-compliant or wasteful spend
AI tools help here too. Have you ever seen an expense report with K-Kel, Inc. on it? No idea what that is, but do you really have time to dig into it? The employee said it was necessary so it must've been.

Well, AppZen discovered that line item to actually be from a strip club. That's definitely not company approved. AI catches that, humans might not.

I covered almost all of this post, but if you want to read the rest, here's the link:


The Hit List

What else am I reading this week?

1) Snap's CFO is leaving after only 8 months. Shocking? Not really. has the story.

2) Ever wonder what factors determine the IRS mileage rate? Abacus digs into some surprising things that factor into it.

3) Not to be pessimistic, but this government shutdown could get worse for businesses. Bloomberg with the scoop.

Pick of the Week

This quote from Hubspot's CFO, Kate Bueker, caught my attention. What do you think?

"Traditionally, the finance function is about control, but this doesn't work in an environment of employee autonomy where we solve for the customer."

Tweet this quote

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.