Finance leaders share insights in Fast Talk Finance webinars

Highlights from our Fast Talk Finance webinars

What are the skills every finance leader needs? What’s the best (or worst) professional advice you ever received? Which trends are emerging to replace the fading trends from years past?

Those were just a few of the questions discussed during our recent Fast Talk Finance webinar series — which brought together finance executives from HighRadius, NetSuite, Riveron, RSM, and Avalara for three 30-minute chats, each jam-packed with insights and advice.

Key themes

The power of technology and automation to streamline financial processes was a consistent theme across all sessions, naturally. Going deeper and getting more personal, however, panelists also talked about other key aspects and challenges of their roles — including employee retention, leadership skills, and the changing business landscape.

We’ve compiled some interesting and useful nuggets here, but be sure to check out the webinars yourself at the link below. They’re fast, full of great information, and free!

Fast Talk Finance: Top 5 Tools in the CFO Toolbelt, Best Advice We’ve Ever Received, and 2023 Trends for Finance Leaders to Take Note

Register and watch.

What are the most important skills for finance leaders?

The role of today’s CFOs and finance executives goes well beyond the numbers — these leaders are expected to be strategic, keep up with technology, and position their companies for success. What do they need to succeed?

  • Josh Kinsell, Chief Accounting Officer, HighRadius: “Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all,” Josh said, noting that one of the most important skills for a CFO is the ability to change within a changing landscape. “That’s where good CFOs become great CFOs.”
  • Manuel Cabral, NetSuite Industry Solution Advisor, Oracle NetSuite: Utilizing data analysis to develop long-term strategy is crucial, Manuel explained — the right budgeting and forecasting tools can help you improve decision-making and provide competitive advantages.
  • Dave Bataille, Vice President of Financial Operations, Avalara: Attracting the right talent for the right role — and understanding how to develop your people — will help you immensely, Dave noted. “Give them opportunities that marry their interests and your needs.”
  • Brent Fisher, Managing Director, Riveron: It’s important for leaders to recognize that technology enables, it doesn’t necessarily solve, Brent pointed out as the discussion turned to tech tools. Others agreed, noting that it’s about finding the right tools for the right jobs, freeing up capacity for people, and better leveraging data.

What’s the best — or worst — professional advice you ever received?

You can learn from good and bad advice alike, everyone in this session agreed — because what you don’t do can be just as important as what you actually do. So what advice would our panelists give (or not give) to other professionals?

  • Tom Kelly, Director, Product Marketing and Management, Oracle NetSuite: Tom shared some bad advice he once got from a manager who said, “You’re an accountant — act like one.” Going against that notion, and giving people an opportunity to do what they have a passion for rather than putting them into boxes, has been a big part of Tom’s philosophy ever since. “(When my manager said that), our organization was clamoring for something more,” he said. “It’s not a good way to manage a workforce and get the best out of people.”
  • Josh Kinsell, Chief Accounting Officer, HighRadius: Josh recommended spending time reflecting on what you like and don’t like about your bosses, then trying to emulate (or avoid) those behaviors. “I see too many times where people think, ‘Oh, I don’t like this or that about my boss,’ and then they’ll do that to their teams,” he said. “The things that you didn’t like … take note of those, and as you become more senior in the organization and you lead teams, you are leading with those things in mind.”
  • Dan Manning, SVP and Chief Accounting Officer, Avalara: “Your reputation really matters, and it’s going to follow you from role to role,” Dan said. He also noted that if he could go back 10 years and give himself advice, he would have emphasized the importance of really staying on top of technology — because “the pace of change continues to accelerate.”

Of course, having good advice to give is only part of the equation — you’ve also got to be good at giving advice. “Everybody is not the same. As a leader you need to understand what motivates individuals” and mold feedback to the person receiving it, Tom said in response to a viewer’s question.

What economic and tech trends are you seeing? And which ones are phasing out?

Things move faster these days, from tech advancements to seismic economic shifts. We asked our panelists to provide their insights on how they envision things changing over the coming months — and how to navigate the challenges.

  • Megan O’Brien, Business and Finance Editor, Oracle NetSuite: Rolling forecasting and keeping budgets dynamic aren’t necessarily new ideas, Megan stated, but the availability of real-time data — and the experience businesses had when COVID-19 hit and their static budgets suddenly didn’t make sense — has driven an increased interest in software that allows us to update budgets dynamically.
  • Josh Kinsell, Chief Accounting Officer, HighRadius: “These manual processes that take people all day every day, those are being automated more and more,” Josh said. That’s not only giving time back to the team, it’s reducing human error from those processes. Even better, it can help with talent acquisition and retention (a challenge that was raised frequently) because it gives people the opportunity to do more interesting things.
  • Austin Walsh, Strategy and Management Consultant, RSM: Austin noted that implementing technology can be a win-win — not only boosting efficiency, but keeping finance and accounting employees more engaged.
  • Liz Armbruester, EVP, Global Compliance Operations, Avalara: In addition to touching on static budgeting, Liz discussed the shift in mindset from “growth at all costs” to “profitable growth, efficiently.” This new mindset has led to greater scrutiny on where money is being spent, and it has accelerated the adoption of automation and other tools to enhance efficiency.

Want to hear more?

This blog includes just a taste of the insights shared by these leaders during our fast, free webinars — which are the perfect length for a quick break at lunch or even while on the treadmill or exercise bike.

Check them out at the link below and learn where you have tax obligations by trying Avalara on

Register and watch the webinar series.

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