500: The Push to Drive Profitability | Katherine Edenbach, CFO, Certify

Listen to the Episode Below (00:31:50)

Years from now, when Katherine Edenbach looks back on her CFO career, 2019 might be remembered as a pendulum year–or a year when her priorities as a finance leader swung from growth to profitability.

“Smaller companies are much more focused on revenue and revenue growth, which is very important, but we need to drive a lot more reporting around our profitability, and more understanding on that side,” explains Edenbach, whose finance team appears poised to administer a dose of investigative medicine to Certify’s expanding organization.

“We want to drive more robust reporting to focus on different areas of the company and dig into product profitability to get a better feel for different profitability levels,” she explains.

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Guest: Katherine Edenbach

Company: Certify

Headquarters: Portland, ME

Connect: www.certify.com

CFOTL: What comes to mind when we ask for a finance strategic moment?

Edenbach: A number of years ago, I was working at a large company that was also very acquisitive. At this company, they didn’t put a lot of effort into integrating new acquisitions. They essentially just slapped them on, utilizing manual or one-off processes to consolidate. No real effort was made to streamline or drive consistency across the entities. They would just add an acquisition and then move on to the next one and repeat. There ended up being a lack of consistency in structure and in the accounting setups.

Did it work? Yes. But then we got a new CEO who wanted to view the company in a different manner, and we did not have the ability to slice and dice the data or roll up the reporting in the manner in which she wanted to see it. So not taking the time and effort up front caused significant headaches later on and created a massive overhaul of the data. It would’ve been so much easier if there had been more forethought as to the ways in which we might want to look at the company in the future.

So I decided that in a company where I was responsible for this type of activity, I would make sure that we were always looking forward, being consistent, and putting in the extra effort up front, which would pay off later. And here at Certify, I have really tried to live according to that. We’ve moved all of our acquisitions onto a common ERP platform. We have a common chart of accounts and departments, and we’ve made sure that the overall reporting is consistent. It’s a lot more work up front, but there is a much, much bigger payoff in the end. jb