Welcome to the second episode of our series, The Rise of Revenue Heroes. Last episode we spoke with Rob Castaneda from ServiceRocket. We explored how automation and transparency can be helpful for customer experience. This episode we’ll be taking another view on how Revenue Heroes drive transformation in human work, from the vantage point of a multi-term finance leader, Rob Reznick.
JZ: Hi Rob, thanks so much for speaking with us. You have been bringing your lean optimization mindset to different companies, which include startups, growth tech, and large enterprises. Based on your experience, what traits would you say are important to the head of finance (HFO) role.
RR: The role of the HFO depends on the company and how the leadership is structured. At the end of the day, the HFO is someone who quarterbacks integral process decisions that ripple across the org. The way you use technology, while some think it falls under the role of CTO or COO, is critical to the HFO role. The HFO must be comfortable with and appreciate technology as a relevant part of building processes, but also understand that technology alone will not solve the world by itself.
JZ: So how did this understanding impact your view of process optimization in a company?
RR: Companies need to get progressively smarter to stay ahead, not just on how they use technology but also how they train employees. People and technology both need to work together early on and as the company evolves.
JZ: That’s a fascinating breakdown that really aligns with YayPay’s philosophy. So what does that mean then, in terms of automation?
RR: I’ve seen a push to automate as much as possible. Not with the intention of removing people, but so people can do their jobs smarter and more efficiently. I don’t think pure automation will ever happen but you will see the human in the loop continue to get smarter as automation continues to get better.
JZ: So does that make automation a nice to have or a must have?
RR: Honestly, automation isn’t even a nice to have at the beginning. At a certain point it becomes a nice to have, and very quickly--probably too quickly to even recognize it. By that point it’s an absolute requirement and you’re behind. That’s what’s tricky about it. It doesn’t even creep up on you. It smashes you in the face and tells you that you’re already behind.
JZ: Were you ever able to put automation into practice?
RR: Yes! I had the perfect opportunity to do so at a previous company. This was special because the company was a market leader in what it did technologically, and that innovative spirit rippled through to the finance function as well. I oversaw finance, accounting, and sales operations at a time where there were zero full-time employees focused on those roles. I had the opportunity to build from scratch, and I was cognizant from the beginning that both people and technology needed to be part of the solution. That’s the mindset I had when I found YayPay, and we adopted it early.
JZ: That’s right, you adopted our solution very early.
RR: Yes. In my experience, there were three key obstacles an organization faces when building processes. First of all, too many companies are willing to accept subpar processes because the team doesn’t have the bandwidth to evolve, only react. I didn’t like that. Secondly, companies often make process decisions without a long view of how to use the technology. We can’t just buy something without thinking about how it holistically contributes to and comes together with our existing tech/cloud stack. Finally, I wanted to move away from the familiar “solution” of hiring more people to “band-aid” solve problems. There were two levers to pull, people and technology, and we needed both.
JZ: I’m glad that led you to YayPay!
RR: It’s actually a funny story. I was reading an article about YayPay during my daily commute, and on that day I was fixated on finding a better structure to support cash management and streamline the team’s workflow. We had the stereotypical pain of using spreadsheets and scattered notes and I felt I was standing there naked without timely access to the information I needed to understand our cash flow. I saw YayPay featured in a TechCrunch article and thought to myself, if this article is even 10% right, I’m going to buy this.
JZ: [Laughs] Well, was it at least 10% right?
RR: [Laughs] You betcha. The value prop for the product is super intuitive. After I spoke with someone about the platform, I could see it being useful not just for me, but for the junior members on our team too. We were spending too much time on collections. YayPay’s value is role agnostic and delivered value to every single person on the team. It helped present more information accurately and quickly so that we could focus on actionable insights. I want us to present info that is reliable, but I also want us to spend time thinking about it and doing something about it.
JZ: That’s really great! Although YayPay was created as a collection solution, it’s great to know that we are you solution of choice when building the operations of the back office from scratch. Thank you so much for your time, Rob.