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Your First 90 Days for Startup Finance Leaders.

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04

Day 61 to day 90: Create steps to success

Goals
  • Assess accounting and operations
  • Hire for key finance roles
Congratulations, you made it to the third month! At this point, you know:
  • How the business works and both near-term and long-term growth expectations.
  • How each department delivers value and their plans to scale operations.
  • The current state of the finance and accounting operations and the functions you need to build out to handle future growth.
  • The current state of the finance and accounting operations and the functions you need to buildout to handle future growth.
It’s time to create the action plan.
Work out the details of your plan at this stage: new tools, processes, roles, and milestones you need to hit over the next quarter or two.
Nadia recommends dividing the plan into accounting operations and finance.
  • Operations and accounting: Payments, payroll, AP, vendors, reimbursements, credit cards, and more accounting-heavy blocks like the close process, Chart of Accounts, general accounting methods (can vary depending on how complex the business is), and regulatory compliance. Treasury, while small, can sit in operations.
  • Finance: Plan for the annual planning process, work with business partners on the budget and revenue growth metrics. You also need to develop the strategic story you need to tell the board of directors and future investors.
Assess accounting and operations
Accounting and accounting-related operations can create huge problems for businesses if they’re not streamlined, especially as transaction volumes increase. Most people think about hiring more people as a solution to operations and accounting problems, but Nadia recommends exploring software solutions that can scale as the company grows. This is especially important in a startup environment where G&A may not get a lot of headcount.

“Creating automated processes with software is an approach that’s undervalued by a lot of early stage companies,” she says. “Many finance leaders focus on the business and finance side of the function and ignore these transaction-related pieces until they’re constantly fighting fires. I’d start thinking about scalable processes first. You don’t want people on your team doing a lot of manual work. Every process in the company should be supported by software if possible. This makes operations and accounting a whole lot more efficient.”

You still need people to use the software, of course. Nadia that recommends hiring for accounts payable and accounting as soon as you can. You need:
  1. An AP manager to help with operations — payroll, AP and treasury.
  2. An in-house accountant to help with the monthly close, audit requirements, and keeping up with regulations.
There’s always a specialized skill you’ll want to hire for, but it’s important to make sure that you address basic operations and accounting needs before you hire for growth, especially in a SaaS business where transaction volumes increase in exponents.
Hire for key finance roles
“Finance is critical in a high-growth startup,” Nadia says, “because you can’t launch new lines of revenue without understanding potential risks and rewards.”

In particular, Nadia recommends focusing on:
  • Forecasting: Critical to tracking the right metrics and understanding revenue growth.
  • Regulation: So that when the growth happens, you’re prepared for it.
“If you need to hire,” she says, “bring in someone who can help you build budgets, drive the business model, and adjust it to revenue demands.”

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Your First 90 Days for Startup Finance Leaders.

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04

Day 61 to day 90: Create steps to success

Goals
  • Assess accounting and operations
  • Hire for key finance roles
Congratulations, you made it to the third month! At this point, you know:
  • How the business works and both near-term and long-term growth expectations.
  • How each department delivers value and their plans to scale operations.
  • The current state of the finance and accounting operations and the functions you need to build out to handle future growth.
  • The current state of the finance and accounting operations and the functions you need to buildout to handle future growth.
It’s time to create the action plan.
Work out the details of your plan at this stage: new tools, processes, roles, and milestones you need to hit over the next quarter or two.
Nadia recommends dividing the plan into accounting operations and finance.
  • Operations and accounting: Payments, payroll, AP, vendors, reimbursements, credit cards, and more accounting-heavy blocks like the close process, Chart of Accounts, general accounting methods (can vary depending on how complex the business is), and regulatory compliance. Treasury, while small, can sit in operations.
  • Finance: Plan for the annual planning process, work with business partners on the budget and revenue growth metrics. You also need to develop the strategic story you need to tell the board of directors and future investors.
Assess accounting and operations
Accounting and accounting-related operations can create huge problems for businesses if they’re not streamlined, especially as transaction volumes increase. Most people think about hiring more people as a solution to operations and accounting problems, but Nadia recommends exploring software solutions that can scale as the company grows. This is especially important in a startup environment where G&A may not get a lot of headcount.

“Creating automated processes with software is an approach that’s undervalued by a lot of early stage companies,” she says. “Many finance leaders focus on the business and finance side of the function and ignore these transaction-related pieces until they’re constantly fighting fires. I’d start thinking about scalable processes first. You don’t want people on your team doing a lot of manual work. Every process in the company should be supported by software if possible. This makes operations and accounting a whole lot more efficient.”

You still need people to use the software, of course. Nadia that recommends hiring for accounts payable and accounting as soon as you can. You need:
  1. An AP manager to help with operations — payroll, AP and treasury.
  2. An in-house accountant to help with the monthly close, audit requirements, and keeping up with regulations.
There’s always a specialized skill you’ll want to hire for, but it’s important to make sure that you address basic operations and accounting needs before you hire for growth, especially in a SaaS business where transaction volumes increase in exponents.
Hire for key finance roles
“Finance is critical in a high-growth startup,” Nadia says, “because you can’t launch new lines of revenue without understanding potential risks and rewards.”

In particular, Nadia recommends focusing on:
  • Forecasting: Critical to tracking the right metrics and understanding revenue growth.
  • Regulation: So that when the growth happens, you’re prepared for it.
“If you need to hire,” she says, “bring in someone who can help you build budgets, drive the business model, and adjust it to revenue demands.”

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