Michael DiFilippo, Chief Financial Officer at Invoca shares his journey to becoming a B2B SaaS CFO and how the role has evolved over the last ten years, During this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, Michael and I discussed the following items:
How the B2B SaaS CFO role has evolved over the last few years
How Michael uses Performance Metrics to manage the business
How the B2B SaaS CFO role will evolve over the next few years
Michael started his journey to becoming a SaaS CFO in accounting, treasury, internal audit, and ultimately FP&A roles in the industry goods and then consumer food industry. In 2008, Michael secured his first CFO role in a B2B SaaS company with MuleSoft - ultimately acquired by Salesforce. This cross-functional foundation was so valuable to Michael that he continues to try and provide members in his organization the same opportunities.
Michael credits DuPont with his broad orientation to finance through their rotational program, and ultimately he landed in a division producing LED screens. Then, when his former boss went to Symbol Technologies, he was recruited to join him and that was the start of his finance experience in a technology company.
We pivoted to how the B2B SaaS role has evolved since Michael first became a SaaS CFO in 2008. First, he has seen the role evolve to a more strategic, growth partner in an advisory role to the executive team, and sees the same "strategic" focus of CFOs from executive recruiters. Michael says part of the evolution to a strategic CFO role is partially based upon his base of experience, and being invited into those discussions. In parallel, Michael has seen the scope of the CFO role expand into including other functions like Legal, Human Resources, IT, and even operations in some companies. Bottom line - the modern SaaS CFO is no longer primarily focused on the accounting side of the equation.
Another key focus is how Finance ensures they have access to all of the operational data required to have better insights into how the business, especially the leading indicators is performing. At Invoca, The FP&A team is the primary liaison to the Sales operations team to ensure the data from the CRM system is flowing efficiently into the financial reporting process.
Michael next focused on the primary measurements and metrics he uses to help manage the operational side of the business, its primary forward-looking metrics like pipeline performance trends, Sales Development meetings, and top opportunities trending. As Michael said, ARR growth is the #1 metric using a metaphor of book more and churn less!
At the board level, the operational metrics include top-level metrics including Rule of 40, Gross Retention, Net Revenue Retention, Total Sales and Marketing Efficiency, CAC Payback Period, Actual versus Plan, New ARR booked, and New Customers which will then expand into the leading indicator trends that will impact those outcome metrics in the future quarter(s).
Michael shared his vision for the future evolution of the B2B SaaS CFO which he agreed with our host will become one of the more common paths for Chief Executive Officers in the future!
If you are in Finance and/or have a goal to become a B2B SaaS CFO - this conversation with Michael DiFilippo is a must listen!!!