Tech CFOs reveal business success tips

Evan Goldberg
NetSuite
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Chief financial officers from NetSuite, Genesys and Anaplan shared tips for success and how to unlock potential at SuiteWorld this morning.

During a keynote session in San Jose, NetSuite founder Evan Goldberg introduced new tech customers ranging from startups to enterprise-level businesses.

Goldberg kicked off the company evolution session by focusing on successful startups.

To survive the early stages of being in business, he said startups should focus on:

  • Securing lending and then securing additional funding
  • Proving the model
  • Preparing to scale
  • Providing visibility to the past, present and future for investors
  • Establishing a system of record

Goldberg said at the startup stage it was important to establish a foundation to enable growth, and to establish a ‘north star’ early on. In the early days of NetSuite he explained his north star was to “build a system to run a business, start with accounting, and then go from there.”

Moving on to successful mid-market companies, NetSuite CFO Ron Gill took to the stage.

Gill said winning in the mid-market required agility, flexibility and ability to scale.

“Strike the right balance between control and innovation… the challenge is sustainable growth at scale,” he said.

Gill outlined the following pointers for success:

  • Go to market at scale
  • Prepare for global expansion
  • Secure additional funding
  • Prepare for IPO or exit
  • Visibility for investors and auditors
  • Establish controls but remain agile

At this stage Goldberg revealed one of many new partnerships announced at the conference, starting with predictive analytics platform Anaplan.

Anaplan CFO James Budge told attendees how the partnership would enable NetSuite customers to grow with new planning and modelling capabilities.

Going up the scale to up-market, Gill said: “successful up-market software companies need the capability to consistently scale globally.”

They need to embrace:

  • Business model innovation
  • Global business at scale
  • Acquisitions fuel growth
  • Public company stewardship
  • New external stakeholders
  • And maintain ability to pivot

Keith Krach, chief executive of DocuSign, was then introduced to the stage and said his company was in “hyper-growth mode”.

Krach’s tips for company success were: “Good management, great systems, verticalisation, strong partners and predictability”.

NetSuite revealed during the session that it would now re-sell DocuSign to all its customers and potential customers to help drive digital transformation.

Nick Gerostathos, chief accounting officer and interim CFO at customer experience platform Genesys, was next up on stage and explained how they had shifted all acquired companies on to NetSuite and then carried out consolidation and rollup.

To be a successful global enterprise a different set of skills are required.

Goldberg said getting to the global stage needed the following:

  • Business-wide innovation and nurturing a culture of innovation
  • Unlocking subsidiary growth
  • M&A is the norm
  • Governance, risk and compliance
  • Diverse external stakeholders
  • Ability to move like a startup

To demonstrate the top end of the market, Google director Albert Belman was last up on stage and explained how parent company Alphabet had chosen NetSuite “to minimise the IT burden for our startups” in its portfolio of companies.

Goldberg wrapped up the session by claiming NetSuite was “the first and last business system a tech company will ever need”.

About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist

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