We interview CEOs and CFOs about growth and the infrastructures needed to support it. Today, we interview Jordi Pedrol, part-time CFO for several startups and companies.
Can you tell us about your experience?
I’ve been working in Finance for 30 years. I worked in the Tech industry in Silicon Valley in the late 90s’, during the first wave of the Internet.
I moved to Spain and I work as part-time Chief Financial Officer since 2008. I first did it as an independent consultant and now, I started my own part-time CFO and financial advisory company.
Why do companies want to work with you?
I get lots of requests from growing startups that need to get funds, investments and financial help. We usually work for companies and startups before their Series B funding. They don’t need a full-time CFO at that time, but need financial advisory. When they grow, find their product market-fit and start to generate revenues, they hire a full-time CFO.
Part-timing CFOs are really developed in the United States, but not that much in Spain because the ecosystem is not mature enough. Even if it’s a growing trend.
When a company hires you, what are you main missions?
It depends on the stage of the company. But, I can sum up my missions in two main categories:
- Financial planning, budgeting, cash-flow analysis, forecasting, Business planning and monitoring Business Model.
- And a more operational role that consists in implementing the right infrastructure and processes to support companies’ growth.
Startups also call me when they want to raise funds to prepare them and to make them investment-ready.
What are your main challenges?
Companies frequently call me in emergency situations, when they are running out of cash and need funding to keep living. I need to act quickly because the company’s survival depends on my actions.
The other main challenge is to support their growth by developing the right infrastructures. Which is far from being easy when there is everything that needs to be done.
How do you see the future for the CFO position?
I already see lots of changes since I started. At the beginning of my career as part-time CFO, when I went to propose my services to companies, they didn’t see the value I could give them.
Now it’s different, entrepreneurs come to find me for my help. Entrepreneurs have excellent technical skills but very few knowledge on finance. They tend to focus on their product and their market, rather than on finance. They want to delegate this time-consuming part of their business. They also have more pressure from investors, this is why they need external professionals to support them.
The ecosystem is maturing, becoming more professional with lots of new services for entrepreneurs and startups.
For the CFO position, it is really different whether you work for a startup or a traditional company. In the startup world, you are closer to the CEO, you are more involved in the company. Your role goes beyond your financial function and need to learn to work in a chaotic environment. You are like a business partner who needs to understand all the components of the company.