The young Finance team at Plooto often hears me say: we have to practice what we preach. After all, Finance teams are Plooto’s customers, and if we owe them fast and easy handling of all things cash, then we have to be their role models. Not only do we use Plooto for our own accounts payable and accounts receivable workflows, but also are always on the lookout to invest in our tech stack, so we stay ahead of the curve as a finance organization.
Yet, if only it is just about tooling. It’s always about people first. This is why in 2021, we decided to build an All-star Finance team that’s more titled towards being in-house; one that is a key contributor to business growth and a strategic partner to other teams.
In fact, what makes working in Finance at Plooto very exciting is that it is a highly strategic function: as a payments company, we currently process $6B worth of annual volume, and the structuring, governance, reconciliation, optimization and reporting of payment flows and their corresponding costs sits with the team, close to Engineering (who build and maintain the engine) and Data (who talk to the engine in its language).
We started by designing the organizational chart and pinpointing the immediate positions we needed to fill alongside their key roles and responsibilities. Building the case for hiring was not as challenging as deciding on the level of experience needed to fulfill each role. We hire owners and to be an owner you need to have some level of experience.
Therefore, we opted for hiring top-down: start with managers who are willing to roll up their sleeves and learn from the ground up and then get them to build their teams. At Plooto, we experimented with several approaches but have so far seen that this one works best with most teams, given our stage.
Hire A-players because they, in turn, will attract and hire more A-players. At Plooto, we have a culture of meritocracy, and Plootonians who approach their jobs as equity owners - as truly they are - with a Championship Mindset tend to excel the most. But to hire A players, you need leverage, patience, zero compromises on quality, and, of course, time.
And there are never enough of those at a startup. It wasn’t easy: as I was trying to hire our Head of Strategic Finance, we were aided by accelerated growth and a fresh Series A round. Still, it took us months. But once we hired Layton, it started snowballing after that. We then closed our Head of Accounting, Narmine, in a matter of weeks. Then we added a Senior Accountant, Franco, to work with Narmine at even greater velocity. Remember: A Players Attract other A Players.
The Near Future
As the team worked on their objectives in Q3 (and continued to do so in Q4), we got busy planning for 2022. For example, we are now ready to double down on our Strategic Finance team and by hiring an FP&A Associate and a Strategy and Market Insights Lead. The Associate will allow Layton to move on and focus on bigger things (we take career velocity very seriously at Plooto). The hiring of a Strategy lead is a testament to our belief in single-threaded focus. We all keep an eye on Market trends but do not have an owner for that today. Someone who takes the soundbites from the market and distills what’s important across the org. The position is ripe enough to hire for.
Lastly, I believe that no Finance team can truly flourish without working very closely with a top-performing Data team. That’s one of the reasons why we are also doubling down on our twin team and all its sub-functions: engineering, analytics, science, etc. After all, decisions around cash and payment flow optimization, forecasting, pricing, and root-causing KPI performance are largely data-driven.