When companies intend to grow even as the macroeconomic environment is taking a downturn, there is a lot of work to be done.
Royce joined the company in July, having been North America CFO at IT services and consulting firm Cognizant and holding senior analyst and investor relations roles at several other companies.
Before adding Royce as CFO, ZenBusiness, a platform that helps entrepreneurs launch, run and grow their businesses, completed a $200 million Series C funding round last November.
Now, Royce is tasked with helping the company position itself for the next step, including building out its in-house expertise and providing guidance on how it can expand its role as a public benefit corporation.
“A lot of longer-range planning around how to manage cash flow has been a focal point,” Royce told PYMNTS.
Working on Scenario Planning
Interviewed for the PYMNTS series “A Day in the Life of a Digital-First CFO,” she said that during her three months with the company, much of her attention has been focused on liquidity planning, cash conservation and scenario analysis.
“When you enter an uncertain macroeconomic environment,” Royce said, “I found that I was trying to think a little bit more around the scenario planning and trying to put in a level of forecasting accuracy and predictability and thinking about the top line, and then the fallout of that in terms of cash flow, probably a little bit more than what I otherwise would have at a company at this stage in size.”
Having completed that funding round, ZenBusiness has a solid balance sheet, so the goal now is to preserve that and keep it that way, Royce said.
The company has made acquisitions, and Royce also aims to build a capital structure, balance sheet and cash position that allows it to continue to do so in order to build out the company and its platform.
Optimizing Data and Systems Connectivity
Also on the agenda is automation and connectivity of data and systems.
Among the pain points for CFOs are issues around data, systems connectivity and a lack of tools, Royce said. The finance world is still balancing the traditional desire to have time to go through data and think about analysis, and the present demand to have answers available in real time at the click of a button.
Many finance teams are still using Excel for financial analysis, which does not lend itself to the speed, efficiency and scale many want today.
“Finance needs to understand pretty deeply how data and information comes into the company, where it’s housed, how it flows into systems and really — if we need to access or change or get new reporting — where that source dataset is and how to work from that source to get what we need,” Royce said. “That is still, I think, a pain point in a lot of organizations.”
Preparing to Go Public
Among the other functions at the company, invoicing and payments are seamless and automated, with customers doing their checkout on the website and doing credit card payments. ZenBusiness handles this at high volume, with the company bringing in 10,000 to 15,000 new customers a month via its website and app.
Payroll is the company’s largest expense. Here, finance partners with human resources by putting in place wage bands and other data and by budgeting pools of capital for wage increases, promotions and hiring.
ZenBusiness also has ambitions to go public — an aim that will benefit from Royce’s experience in investor relations.
This goal also requires an investment by the company in not only systems, control and reporting, but also a different level of audits than those required of a startup. So, Royce and her team have been working on building the sort of management discussion and analysis (MD&A) that is required in a public company filing.
“That, to me, is a very powerful way to get the business sort of on board with controls, reporting and things like that,” Royce said. “It’s been kind of a fun exercise to watch the teams go through that.”