Welcome to ‘My key KPI’, a new weekly content series where we ask CFOs and FDs what metrics and measures they use to drive their businesses forward.
The aim is to understand how different finance professionals, across a broad array of industries and sectors, use data to inform their decision making.
In this week’s edition, we speak to Karen Kerrigan, the head of finance for Seedrs, a leading equity crowd funding platform.
My key KPI: Contribution per employee and cost to serve
Seedrs, according to Karen Kerrigan, can’t afford the brute force approach. “If we were running our operations in the same way as a Barclays or a NatWest where we improve customer service by increasing headcount those numbers would be going in the wrong direction.”
The equity investment market is a big opportunity and the company is running at a loss so it can scale and seize the advantage. But running at a loss doesn’t mean profligacy. The finance function’s job is to ensure this growth is sustainable.
Kerrigan monitors an array of KPIs and metrics to achieve this. Foremost among them are contribution per employee and cost to serve. These two metrics cover two key facets: employee productivity and profitability of customer accounts.
“Over the course of this year, we're focussing on those two numbers to make sure we're scalable,” said Kerrigan. “If we can increase our investment numbers and our commission numbers at a much higher rate than we are increasing our headcount numbers then we're doing a good job.
“In terms of the democratisation of finance, making this service at a low cost online to a multitude of people, which has never been done before, you absolutely need scalability. The KPIs we've spoken about all matter.
“When our business development team's thinking about going out and getting more business or commission structure. When our marketing team is thinking about whether print advertising will work. Our finance team is involved in all those conversations to make sure we're building this business in the way we started out. There are too many companies that start out with a grand vision and don't look at the reality”.
About Francois Badenhorst
I'm AccountingWEB's business editor. Feel free to get in touch with comments, tips, scoops or irreverent banter.