Discussions by Domain: Transform Your Business Through Finance
“What does good look like? You can make better business decisions when you know what is actually happening.”
Robert Bufano is the Financial Controller here at Domain Computer Services. He oversees the accounting and finance activities of the company, working with the executive team on day to day operations and implementation on continued growth strategies.
Bringing on a new CFO or Controller.
Robert: “Don’t expect someone to be a number cruncher. Where’s the business going? You want someone to come in who can actually be a part of your leadership team and understand strategy. Bring someone in so you can rely on that person to help you guide your organization.”
Moving the needle right away.
Robert: “Understand what’s going on. Cash flow, so your accounts payable, and accounts receivable. Those are the biggest functions right away in terms of leveraging your working capital.”
Robert: “In those first 180 days, get good data. With good data, you can start measuring things. You can get an idea hopefully of your gross margin and where you want to be. Is that where you want to be or do you want to be at a certain level? Then you can start digging deeper into what other areas you can affect in the business.”
Robert: “Once you get the idea of the numbers and the KPIs, you start talking to operations, sales and marketing, to see how can we move the needle.”
Robert: “Everyone expects the CFO or controller role to be just the old time way of doesn’t want to talk to people, stays in office. I think fortunately, in a good way, the role has changed. Talk to owners, talk to private equity firms, talk to investment firms. You need to talk to people, so you need to get out there. You’ve got to be personable.”
Robert: “It improves your skills like public speaking. All of that is a necessity. Building relationships. That’s why networking, just having conversations with people is so imperative.”
Understand your company’s mindset.
Robert: “We’ve talked about we want Domain to be best in class. How am I going to do that? It can’t be just putting numbers on a spreadsheet and then presenting to people. It has to be getting a full understanding of operations, of sales and marketing, and really talking to the people.”
Robert: “You have to understand their mindset. What are the issues, what does good look like? Then we can understand what is happening day to day? That makes the CFO controller role even more imperative because you can make better business decisions when you know what is actually happening.”
Invest in the right people.
Robert: “Invest in the right finance people. You want to make sure you get people who can actually leverage financially. It doesn’t have to be a seasoned person. It can be someone straight out of college, but they’re very hungry. Leverage them, let them have an understanding.”
Robert: “Give them the guidance and make sure that role is not overlooked because I’ll be honest, the finance role is not a sexy role. That being said, I think it’s a very imperative role to fill.”
“If you want to know what your reputation is, and if you want to improve it, you’ve got to listen to other people.”
“We want to have a transparent culture that is focused on results and performance, but at the same time focused on the people.”
“There are some stories that if you spend some time to develop them, they’ll be useful to you over and over and over again.”