CFO Corner: Financial Success as a Team Player with Gene Lynes
1. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it with financial leadership? In the last 12 months we’ve been focused on becoming a full-service energy management firm which included a number of strategic acquisitions and an expansion of our offerings to our customers. The financial team played a big role in vetting the possibilities – including mergers and acquisitions – to strategically guide the company toward sound changes and ultimately, help determine our company’s new direction. This challenge was overcome by a team effort across our executive leadership, with the financial component being a critical part of that success.
2. What has made your company stand out and be successful financially? Financial responsibility is best executed by working with the managers who are responsible for the success of the business. As the financial leader for Advantage IQ, my focus is to ensure there is financial accountability across all pillars within the company. To be successful, you must involve everyone beyond the executive leadership of your company so each person takes ownership of the processes, budgeting, forecasting and resulting actions needed to be financially successful.
3. What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your position? One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that you have to be a good business partner before you can be a good financial leader. You can’t expect the financial arm of the company to impact the business before you understand all of the various aspects of your business. As a financial leader, you must know how everything operates so you can determine the financial needs of your company and fully evaluate what will create actionable success.
4. What advice do you have for other CFOs? Never compromise yourself. One of the roles of the CFO is to ensure balance within the management team. If you find yourself in a situation that is out of balance, it’s your role to restore it. It can be easy to be derailed by the excitement of where your business is heading and to get caught up in the desire for success. If you find yourself in a place that forces you to compromise your self and what you know to be right or depends on you compromising your data, don’t fall into that trap. Others may be thinking about the short term pay off, but that could lead to a negative impact on the company, or your career, in the long term. Be true to yourself and never compromise.
Gene Lynes is the Executive Vice President & CFO of Advantage IQ, bringing over 29 years of financial experience in both technology and service-based companies. In this top financial role, Gene works with the Executive Leadership Team to ensure Advantage IQ’s overall business strategy guides the financial health of the company.