October 6, 2022

How Keith Masuda of Modern Treasury is managing spend during the downturn


Modern Treasury’s VP of Finance Keith Masuda joins Alex Song on Recession-Proof this week to share how to build the financial team of a high growth SaaS business during a downturn. Keith has extensive experience from 18 years in finance positions at companies such as Sqreen, Segment, Palo Alto Networks, and Host Analytics.

They discuss:

  • How Modern Treasury is prioritizing investment
  • The different types of A players
  • Building a first-class finance team

Key takeaways

  • Empowering, not just the finance department, but the whole business to understand financial metrics, is a worthwhile investment.

    “There's some level of education you need to do with the employee base so that they know what is going on in the business. For example, every single month or once a month, I present the financial metrics. But I try to dive into a topic or two about the metrics”
  • SaaS is a complex industry in an ever changing world. Layer a recession on top of this and new investments must be made under increased scrutiny to match the future uncertainty.

    “What we are thinking about now is making sure we are hiring carefully. And we are still investing, but in the right ways, closing down investments when they don't make sense anymore and investing in new areas where we think there's some promise. We are more cognizant of the spending and hiring now that we're in the mid to late 2022.”
  • Keith shares that as a software company, typically you will experience less margin pressure, and therefore can discount. But with hardware, you have to ensure healthy gross margins.

    “We are more careful about headcount and where we are spending our cash. We are also trying to look a little bit more at efficiency metrics and make sure that whatever investments we make will return either on improving the product, maintaining the product, or driving revenue growth.”
  • When building a best-in-class finance team, start by evaluating what support you need as a company and who you can bring to fill those roles. Look for the best possible people for your stage of company: A players are different for different types and stages of a businesses.

    “I try to look for the best possible people for the company. Everybody is always trying to find the best people or the A players. No one wants to hire a C player. And there are many A players who are perfect for an early stage and some who are perfect for a large public company. So I try to find A players who are good for my company and my stage.”

Learn more about Keith:


Check out the full transcript here.

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