Future finance leaders (and really all G&A for this matter) will think of themselves as product managers. The key mindset shift is they’re responsible for a portfolio of products and services that they provide to the business (i.e. budgeting, headcount, spending, analysis, etc.).

Like a PM, they’ll serve as the CEO of their products. They’ll own setting the vision, aligning on strategy, and driving the roadmap. They’ll shape their offerings based on customer, stakeholder, and data insights. And, most importantly, they’ll ship high-quality services that their customers love.

Imagine an environment where business leaders applaud their collaboration with finance. Decision-makers highly adopt solutions that keep them informed and in compliance. And, finance is seen as cutting edge in their systems and analytics. People will be more aligned, work will be more efficient, and improved decision-making will translate into better business results. 

I was careful to start this message with “finance leaders” instead of “CFO” because a future leader can come from anywhere. If you’re more junior, begin with a single service you can take ownership of. As you progress, you can start thinking about the portfolio across your function.

Here are a few tips for making this transition: 

  • Hire people with a PM mindset (an owner, collaborative, empathetic, data-driven, process-oriented, strong communicator, etc.).
  • Align the team’s mission, vision, and values to be more service-oriented.
  • Set OKRs that align with desired outcomes (i.e. high-user NPS, process adoption, etc.)
  • Form habits around conducting feedback sessions, sending surveys, etc. 
  • Adopt Finance Service Management tools

Thanks to Evan LeBon, Sam Harris, Jake Friedman, and Preston Graham for sharing and discussing this perspective with me. The team at Abnormal is fortunate to have some incredibly thoughtful people building their G&A functions.