With 30 years of experience, Kelly Battles believes CFOs need to find the balance between being a champion and a firewall. Pulling that off requires streamlined data and human communication.
After spending more than three decades in finance, Kelly Battles has come to appreciate that the budget isn’t the only balancing act CFOs have to master. The finance team needs to support the growth of the company, while also knowing when to implement limits.
Kelly learned that lesson in her first operational finance role, at internet security company IronPort. Under Kelly’s six-year watch, IronPort’s worth grew from $2 million to $250 million. The company was eventually bought by Cisco for $830 million in 2007.
To achieve that balance between growth and restriction, Kelly emphasizes a streamlined approach to data and robust company-wide communication.
Data collection and utilization must be as simple, accessible, and connected as possible; this way, different parts of the business will be focused on the same information. As for the human element, Kelly says there are two levels of culture — culture with a “capital C” and culture with a “lowercase C” — both of which are crucial.
On this episode of The CFO Playbook, Kelly explains why creating a positive workplace culture is more important than many people think, how to be a cross-functional business partner and how to build a technology infrastructure that best serves the company.
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