CFO Likes Having Few Finance Staffers Who “Do Lots”

At software start-up Sprinklr, people are a big part of how the company keeps score and forecasts results.

I prefer to hire fewer people and pay them more. I want to hire only the best, highest-intellect, A+ players. Navy Seals, if you will.

Everybody wants those, and they’re in short supply. How will you attract them?
It’s about the opportunity at Sprinklr, growing as quickly as we are. At a company like ours, I talk about “dog years.” Every year is like seven years somewhere else. You get to experience so much, because we’re accomplishing so much in a relatively short period of time.

We’re in the U.K. right now, and at some point I’m sure we’re going to France and Germany and the Nordics, and Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Think about the opportunities that creates if you’re part of a very small team. We won’t have a huge finance organization. Instead, the folks that are on the team will do lots. They’ll all wear 17 different hats and get experience in far more areas than they would if they went to work for a much larger organization. The broad experience they will gain is like gold dust for a young, intelligent person coming into a finance career.

I understand that stock options are a component of pay for every Sprinklr employee.
It’s a wonderful philosophy. I want everyone here to share in the company’s success. It is hard work at a small, super-high-growth, start-up company, and people make a lot of sacrifices with their time and spending time with their families.

Everybody at Sprinklr could probably earn more cash compensation somewhere else. Here in New York, I could get significantly more if I worked for a financial institution. But it’s not about that. It’s about being part of something special, making decisions knowing that you are an owner of the company and being rewarded for its success. There is no market for our stock at the present time, but if it gets monetized in the future our people will share in that.

You helped orchestrate an IPO at your previous employer, BazaarVoice. Is it fair to say you’re at Sprinklr to do that again?
That’s not a specific target. We’re going to make sure every possible avenue is available to us. But a technology company growing at the rate we are can get a significant multiple in an IPO scenario. To the extent that’s a path we want to take, we’ll be ready for it.

Let’s come back to forecasting. Isn’t that a pretty dicey exercise, at best, for a company of Sprinklr’s size and maturity?
It varies with SaaS companies, but generally between 60 percent and 75 percent of costs are people-related, and those costs should be pretty darn easy to forecast. Well, maybe not “easy,” but it’s the least challenging of the forecast dimensions. I control when we hire. I control most elements of the variable compensation structure. We have third-party hosting costs, some outside professional fees and some marketing costs. Outside of that, it’s mostly people-related.

One thought on “CFO Likes Having Few Finance Staffers Who “Do Lots”

  1. While I see the focus is on improving efficiency, this CFO is more like a CHRO! If you do not employ some do your AP, someone somewhere still does it for you!

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