Brian Helwig’s title at startup Netwrix Corp. is vice president of operations, but he’s also the de facto head of finance. Unlike the common path of CFOs who came up through the accounting track and took on more diverse functional responsibilities as their careers flourished, Helwig was always in operations and, finally, added financial leadership to his plate.
As he founded and sold two companies by the time he was 28, Helwig says he’s comfortable “in the low-level world of debits and credits.” Much of his background is in technology, which is a good fit at Netwrix, a maker of IT-audit software that detects and reports who made what changes, when and where, within an organization’s IT infrastructure.
Strong knowledge of IT, software in particular, gives an up-and-coming executive a leg up today, Helwig suggests. “Having an understanding of how all the intricate parts of a business work at the software level means you also have to understand how they work at a process level,” he says.
Overseeing payables, receivables, and the order-to-cash cycle comprises the nuts and bolts of his finance role. He also hired a controller. But what engages Helwig most is risk management. “I like being able to determine and mitigate risks based on data analytics,” he says. “It’s great to come to the table as an adviser to our founders and challenge conventional ideas, and unconventional ones as well, and watch that dialogue develop. That’s one of the things I’m most passionate about.”
Play the video to hear about Helwig’s interesting career and multifaceted role at Netwrix.