CFO Says High Growth and Data Transparency Are Inseparable

Schellman, Andy Goldstein, CFOs, data transparency

While leading a fast-growing company has its own set of requirements, the need for better data to help drive decision making is among the most important.  

“It’s using your systems in a digital age to allow key stakeholders to get better data and make better decisions — that’s what we do in a best-in-class financial organization,” Schellman CFO Andy Goldstein said in a recent interview with PYMNTS, noting the challenges involved in serving different stakeholders, such as the company and clients of key constituents.  

For its part, Schellman is a provider of attestation, compliance and certification services and, with the guidance of its new CFO, is entering its next phase of growth, including new initiatives around mergers and acquisitions (M&A), international expansion and automation. 

Goldstein joined the company in September, bringing 22 years of experience in financial management, the technology industry and high-growth companies. 

Interviewed for the PYMNTS series “A Day in the Life of a Digital-First CFO,” Goldstein said that Schellman went from being a founder-run company to a private equity-sponsored portfolio company in 2021. 

With his background as a seven-time CFO for private equity-sponsored portfolio companies, Goldstein was brought in to create best-in-class financial operations. 

“When you’re in a high-growth organization like Schellman, there’s just a lot of initiatives that are going on at any given time, and I need to make sure that we harness some of those efforts and make sure that they all get to completion in a timely manner and they lead to what’s in the best interest of the company, the clients and the key constituents — all at the same time,” Goldstein said. 

Performing a 90-Day Assessment 

When he arrives at a new company, Goldstein does a 90-day assessment of people, systems and workflows. Then he’s ready to rebuild or modify any of those three areas. 

In the case of Schellman, he found the company has a great accounting team that had been expanded just before he arrived, a best-in-class general ledger (GL) system and accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) functionality that was in good shape and mostly automated. 

For the procure-to-pay process, for example, the company has a robust GL system together with an approach to managing and approving expenses that aims to have the correct thresholds so that people’s time isn’t wasted. 

“So, the good news for me is, we were able to check favorable boxes on all of that at Schellman,” Goldstein said. 

Working Remotely 

Both Goldstein and Schellman are experienced with remote work. The company has an office in Tampa where it is headquartered, but as a professional services business that has most of its service delivery people out with clients, most don’t need to report to an office. 

Goldstein works remotely and finds using Zoom and Teams to be efficient. Since he and the team are constantly building analyses and key performance indicators (KPIs), they can best communicate with screen shares. 

He goes to the office once or twice a month to get together with others and to build the company culture. 

“I was there all last week and it was really funny — when we were in one of our normal weekly meetings and we were all sitting across from each other, we were laughing whether we should use our laptops or not,” Goldstein said. 

Pursuing Opportunities for Growth 

As a provider of IT and security compliance, Schellman’s clients require the audits it provides for their own clients, so customers need these services even during unfavorable economic conditions. The bulk of its service lines are provided on a reoccurring fixed fee basis. 

“So, while I wouldn’t say we’re recession-proof by any means, we’re in a good spot considering just the ever-increasing IT and cybersecurity compliance requirements of our customer base,” Goldstein said. 

While Schellman is already growing at a high rate, the professional services firm sees further opportunities in capitalizing on inbound leads that are currently coming in, increasing the number of leads that are coming in and making acquisitions both domestically and abroad. 

The company is in growth mode, so it continues to spend. The finance team at Schellman is putting in place a new forecasting acumen for the company and will develop some contingencies on the cost side in case they’re needed. 

“We’ll be careful should some headwinds start, but we haven’t seen any yet,” Goldstein said.