The Data-Driven Leaders of Finance
The function of finance has evolved as the pace of change has accelerated due to new business models, shifts in consumer behavior, and economic uncertainty. While 2020 made us ponder what our "new normal" may be, 2021 and 2022 have solidified the reality that we are (and will likely remain) in a never-normal state.
Finance leaders have become more important than ever in steering the organization in this new environment. Finance teams have swiftly transformed from bookkeepers to strategic advisors who actively interact with operating functions to move the business forward.
The new financial world revolves around data-driven judgments.
Do you know anyone in Finance who is interested in being less data-driven? Is there someone in your department pushing for judgments based on gut instincts and wild speculation?
Most likely not. We all want to make the most of the data we have to help the company become more profitable. The issue is not with the intention, but with the execution.
Changing a Finance department to a forward-thinking, data-crunching, forecasting engine can be difficult. That’s especially true when trying to get other departments to share their data, too.
Nonetheless, it's a worthwhile challenge, and the roadblocks to a properly data-driven Finance department can be surmounted.
Want proof? These financial role models can help inspire you.
Data-Driven Finance Role Models
1. Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Through almost 17 years as the Executive Director of Finance Thought Leadership at Oracle and leadership within the American Institute of CPAs and Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), Kimberly has integrated her work in finance with strategic technology to make the most out of the data in front of her.
2. Denise Feece
Denise has proven herself to be a whip-smart finance leader with over two decades in numerous finance responsibilities. Her data expertise has gotten her executive attention in every position she's held.
With her ability to transform numbers into meaningful insights, she has noted: “The CEO would walk down the hall with a question, and I would sometimes be able to answer it on the spot.”
Denise is the perfect role model of a career Finance leader. She demonstrates how a winning combination of intelligence, guts, and the proper technology can be achieved.
3. Judy Romano
Judy is the VP and Chief Financial Officer, Commercial & Technology at International Hotels Group. She's dedicated to increasing diversity in Finance, both in terms of addressing skills gaps and encouraging diverse recruiting practices.
Judy is also pushing her employees to adopt a forward-thinking attitude, which includes automating low-value tasks and focusing on a more advisory role.
4. Sezaneh (Suzy) Taherian
Sezaneh is the CFO of Wrightspeed, a Silicon Valley powertrain company. She believes that meaningful data should be used to inform board decision-making.
She is a lecturer at UC Davis and a Forbes contributor, in addition to her work as a CFO and board member, and she is sharing her experience to help the next generation of financial executives.
Must Read: Breaking the Mold of the Board of Directors
5. Jennifer Lee Wilson
Jennifer, as a Partner and Co-Founder of ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, consistently connects women in finance and accounting and provides professional development opportunities. She has spent over 20 years mentoring the next generation of finance executives, motivating and teaching her peers and the profession.
Jennifer was chosen by CPA Practice Advisor as one of the most powerful women in accounting in 2019.
As we seek to bring more diverse voices into Finance, Jennifer is an irreplaceable ally.
Must Read: Jennifer Lee Wilson Interview