May 5, 2022

How Joe Garafalo is reimagining today’s finance tech stack

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Joe Garafalo’s unique background contributes to his unorthodox views regarding finance team operations.  He is co-founder of Mosaic, a real-time analytics and planning platform, and a former CFO who describes himself as a “finance guy at heart.” Joe understands, probably more than your average co-founder, the day to day challenges finance teams face. In this episode, he talks about his transition from finance to running sales and marketing at Mosaic and the competitive edge that transition provides in understanding prospects and customers. As he points out, “nobody in finance wants to get on the line with an [account executive] who doesn't really truly understand the pain of what goes into calculating ARR, how to produce the board slides, or the nuances of building a model.”   

Joe also discusses how he’s leveraging technology to improve some of his most important processes. For example, he describes the days of living and dying by spreadsheets in his previous finance role, and now promises that while he’s not trying to eliminate spreadsheets completely, he is taking a close look at how their functionality can be optimized with the help of software.  

We’ve condensed some of the major themes from our recent conversation with Joe on the FinOps Today podcast and summarized them below. But to get a full picture of Joe’s story at Mosaic, be sure to check out episode 11, available on all major podcast streaming platforms. Here’s some of what you’ll hear about in this episode: 

How Joe has made the transition from a strictly finance role, to running sales and marketing at Mosaic

“So I've transitioned from the pure play VP of finance / CFO to leading our sales and marketing team. So that's a whole other conversation of, are finance people well suited for sales? I think actually we can be quite effective there. Internally at Mosaic, everyone at the company has access to the product. And what that does is allows people to see the numbers and also allows the relevant teams to make the right decisions based on the data. We have a great internal accounting team. “

Joe’s take on spreadsheets in the modern finance toolkit

“We've all been there before where we have 50 versions of the financial model and we don't know actually which one is the right one and if we made the changes in the right places and building those switches that toggle the high case versus the low case. So explaining that, 'Hey, we're not ripping spreadsheets away from you, but we're augmenting them,' is a common objection that we get. And more and more, the software is actually adapting to have familiar spreadsheet-like qualities, like the ability to write custom formulas and the ability to tweak metrics. So getting people comfortable that they'll still be there as the crutch if you need them, but there's a better way.”

Why a controller should be your first finance hire

“I think a controller is a really important first hire. I think you always want to have the books closed in three to five days. I think that's world class. And I think there's a world where a lot of companies can actually meet that goal. Even if you can't, seven days is also perfectly fine, but you want to be able to get into that rhythm and record transactions and also think about the hierarchy of how those transactions are recorded, how things are coded so that you can later do in really great in analysis, which is the next great hire that I think would be a director of FP&A.”

Check out the full transcript here.

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