Challenges of managing the finances of a growth stage company

As CFO of a growth stage, venture capital-backed company, there are many facets and challenges to my job.  First and foremost is preaching the message that “cash AND cash flow are king.”  Like many companies that have transitioned from an early stage to a growth stage, we’ve added people that aren’t necessarily familiar with the early days of the company and how much cash matters.  The message tends to get diluted over time.  However, when more cash goes out than comes in every month, every little bit counts.  Even though RemitDATA is growing and doing well, being cash flow positive will make everyone feel better – the founders, our employees, and our investors.  Fortunately, we’re well on our way there.

The second challenge is forecasting revenue.  When a company is experimenting with different channels and developing new products, predicting success in terms of revenue – both in timing and magnitude – is extremely challenging.  We have exciting products in the works that we believe will enlighten and transform the physician’s office.  However, predicting “how soon” and “how much” are difficult.

The final challenge (but certainly not the last) is finding the metrics that help you manage the business through the growth stage of company.  I believe the most important metric to focus on in any growing SaaS (software as a service) company is customer acquisition cost.  Throughout any phase of a company, if the cost of acquiring a customer (e.g., sales compensation, marketing costs, etc.) is not significantly less than the long-term value of that customer, then changes need to be made.  Making that determination is very important and something that I’m always focused on.

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Joel Wood – CFO