If you think managing your finances is stressful, try doing it for a whole company! CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) have a hard job. My interview with John DeRudder helped me understand what a CFO is and why it's important for your company to have a good one.
Sky: Just what does a Chief Financial Officer do?
John: It might be easier to explain what a CFO doesn't do. I am responsible for all the things related to the fiscal aspects of a company. I also have oversight to our HR department.
Sky: Can you describe a day in the life of a CFO?
John: Dollars touch everything in every company, so a day in the life is kind of like always monitoring the pulse of an organization mostly relating to the monetary decisions that you have to make. At LevelTen, the CFO is involved in proposals, in sales we get involved because I need to know what our future revenues are going to be. The one thing that I don’t do is obtain capital. So dealing with investments and capital acquisitions.
Sky: What were some unexpected things about your career?
John: I graduated with a degree in Corporate Finance and then became a Stockbroker, which actually got pretty mundane. I then got a job where I started to do more of the corporate side of the job. I never thought that I would work 18 years for a company that did cosmetics and skin care. I actually hired LevelTen to help us with an ad campaign in New York. I had a fondness for technology so it seemed pretty appealing to me to get involved at a financial level with this company.
Sky: What advice would you give someone who wanted to be a CFO?
John: Here’s one that comes to mind. One size does not fit all. I tried to apply some of the things that I learned in college to my first job. And you realize that there are a lot of things that they teach you that are theoretical or only work if you are so big. If I’m going to teach a young soccer player, you don’t want to teach them the way you would coach a high school or college player. CFOs sometimes gravitate to using tools that are geared to a fortune 500 company while implementing those tools for a smaller company might not work.
Sky: What is some recommended reading for those seeking to be a CFO?
John: I am in the middle of about four books. One of them is CAPM, and it’s kind of geeky in a finance way. It’s very interesting.
Sky: If you could be anything else, what would you be?
John: If I was independently wealthy I would just go to school and learn. I’m particularly interested in science and astronomy. I am an advocate of the Discovery Channel and the About The Universe shows. I would learn in all different areas, but I do have a fascination with the more geeky side of science and astronomy.
Sky: What is your caffeinated beverage of choice?
John: No doubt, a cup of coffee. And I like it black, usually.