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Your First 100 Days as a Virtual CFO

Published by Summit Marketing Team on Jul 22, 2022 6:00:00 AM

The Modern CPA Success Show: Episode 69


If you're ever wondering what working as a Virtual CFO looks like, in this special episode, Jamie Nau, our host and Director of Accounting, sits with Adam Hale, Partner at Anders CPAs + Advisors, and Greg Wallis, our Virtual CFO, to talk about all that and more. They will discuss the impact of culture, professional experience, technology, and onboarding in Greg's first 100 days as a Virtual CFO. Greg will also share tips on surviving in the role and share his personal experience about how the role has enabled him to develop better relationships with his clients and see the difference his role can make in his clients' business.



Jamie Nau: Welcome to another podcast. Today, we are bringing our Greg Wallace back, and we are going to talk about his experiences as a Virtual CFO. So we thought this is a great topic. Greg has been with us for about nine months now. So we want to talk about those first nine months, probably more specifically those first hundred days and kind of what they feel like, what they are like adding new clients, kind of the rush of all that stuff. 

So hopefully go into all of these topics, but, Greg, prior to going down that path, do you mind giving us just a little bit of your background prior to coming to Summit? So we can understand where you're coming from.

Greg Wallis: Sure. Thanks, Jamie. Appreciate that. I'm Greg Wallis, and I joined Summit in the beginning of July last year. I had taken some time off, about 18 months, during the pandemic to focus on volunteer work. But prior to that, I was the top financial person at a couple of different age groups, a CFO with a couple of college organizations, higher ed, and then got into a publishing company for about 18 months as well.

And then prior to that, I'd been in public accounting for 10 years. And so, I started as a staff person on the audit side. I moved forward in my career, became a manager, ended up in some contract financial accounting services, sort of an outsource CFO practice.

And I had the opportunity after somebody reached out to me, a recruiter reached out to me about the opportunity at Summit to be back in an accounting role and really being back in front of clients. And so what I was really interested in doing was getting back into working with clients again and being in a senior financial leadership role.

And so it was really bringing the blend of my experiences together. And it's been a great experience.

Jamie Nau: Great. So we also have, as always, Adam Hale here. So Adam after Greg kind of describes his experience, do you want to spend a little bit of time– again, I know we've talked about this before, but I think it's important for our listeners to understand like what we look for in a CFO and kind of the backgrounds that come in and what we're expecting when they are interviewed?

Adam Hale: Yeah, that's all over the board. I think that as you were kind of explaining, Greg, what you had in terms of the background and what we do here, I guess I've been a little bit jaded in this instance. I used to always think everybody had to be like that shoe box accountant and come from public accounting.

You know, people with government background, no offense to anybody with government background, they always kind of scared me just because of the pace of the position. Even higher ed, it's just a slower paced kind of a job. And there's usually a lot of people surrounding you; they usually have a lot more resources.

And then in corporate, you're used to digging a mile deep, which is what we want you to do here, but can you also juggle 14 different relationships and of course, people in corporate accounting would say I'm used to doing all kinds of multitasking all day long.

And it's like, yeah, that's not what I quite mean. Whenever you're dealing with completely different siloed relationships, it's different. But then whenever you go and you find somebody in public accounting, they're like, yeah, I'm used to dealing with a hundred relationships, 15 sounds like a dream, but whenever they figure out how deep they have to go in those relationships, then they're usually like, no, I usually don't go that far with it.

And it's like, well, of course you don't; that's why you have a hundred relationships. So, I guess whenever  I hear somebody's background, of course I always look for if you've done anything on your own. Greg was saying he's been in those relationships where he had to be that virtual or that fractional CFO and just kind of learn.

You're also looking for a wide breadth of things because in this industry, although you're going to have your niches, you have a tendency to have a little bit of an agnostic book where you have all kinds of different industries, and you don't want people to be afraid of that and lean too much into their past, in particular, not always the case but most of the time. 

And so you want people to be a little bit more well-rounded; you're just looking for somebody that's got confidence. Somebody that has a wide variety of background and skills and really open-minded to learning because it's not just about learning what we do and how we do it, but it's about learning what the client does and how they do it.

And so if you find somebody that's really eager to learn and excited about helping and  trying to be a business advisor for leveraging their financial background, that's the kind of people we’re looking for. 

Jamie Nau: I think to Adam's point, I've interviewed for a lot of jobs in my career and really looked to fill different roles. And I think the CFO has been one of the hardest to fill because I think it's one of those roles where, while a candidate look perfect on a resume and application, oftentimes it's really hard to peg what the perfect candidate is. 

And I would say in almost any other role I’ve hired for, I at least had a 75% of an idea of what that perfect candidate looked like. And that's what I was looking for. But here, I get surprised a lot with whether that candidate is great or that candidate is not nearly what I thought, and it's just based on their experience. So I think that's a really good point. 

And I know Adam and I've been through that experience together over the last seven years, so I understand where we were both coming from. So,Greg, let's turn around. Let's talk about when you first started at Summit; we handled you with kid gloves a little bit. So you want to talk about those first 90 days or 120 days where you were asking us for work, and we were like, don't worry, it'll come. So let's talk about those first couple months. 

Greg Wallis: It was the summer month.s I hadn't really been doing much work over the previous 18 months. And so I was really eager to get started and the ramp up time and the learning curve of getting to understand the Summit way of doing things.

And more importantly, for an older dog like me, some of the technologies I have been used to working with in an office environment where everything was set up, if I had a problem, somebody could come in and show me what to do. Here, I had to be a little bit more entrepreneurial and figure things out.

I think Summit did a great job of getting me geared up with things and tools, but learning how to work in a virtual environment, that was probably the first and steepest climb for me–having come out of a traditional office environment and learning to navigate the virtual world and learning the tools and some of the virtual office type things.

And then going through a lot of the training, I spent probably the first 45 days really immersing myself and understanding the philosophy, how we approach clients, how we look at things and then correlating that to the tool sets that Summit has developed over the years that they've been in business.

Summit was so far ahead of most companies when the pandemic hit, and they've been virtual and fully distributed for years. And. Just onboarding with that process and getting familiar was the first thing, and then, the clients began to come. At first it was a couple of existing clients that were from the CFO who left, so I picked up an existing client or two. 

What was great was just being able to, as Adam was talking about, be curious about a new client. I'm not shy about asking questions and really getting to understand the client's business.

That's the fun part. And then working with the existing team, the senior accountant to the data analyst, people who'd been working with the client and trying to tap from them what goes on with the client. What are the key points for them?

But then, just having that open ability to talk to clients and be a fresh face and a fresh set of questions coming from my experience, saying, “what are those things that keep you up at night?” So I think the relationship process for me comes a little bit more naturally than perhaps some others.

And that really is where I sort of spent my time as I began to go through some monthly close processes, begin to dig into the numbers, begin to understand the drivers of the business. I think that's really key, and I've not always been focused on what's the cash, where's the cash forecast.

At the end of the day, our owners are most concerned about, where are they from a cash flow perspective? How does that fit into their objectives? 

Whether it's paying their taxes or making future investments, beginning to understand that, and then, as Jamie was saying, I was starting to ask, I'd like to be more billable. I'd like to have more time, be more proactive on clients. 

All of a sudden, there were a couple of new clients that came to Summit and began to go through the onboarding process. And that was really great because that's really where I was able to, from day one, see how those tools worked and how we build those tools out for a new client.

I wasn't trying to figure out all the past, but rather,figure out the present. That's really where I think it all came together and started to gel for me. And from the theoretical type of instructional videos that I was going through to the practical reality of here's how this forecasting process applies to this particular client.

As Jamie has said, now I've got 10 clients and I think really the experience, again, back to Adam's comment is, I talk to every client every week. When I was in public accounting, there were timeframes for audits and work that we did. And I wasn't talking to every client once a week. But, here I talked to every client at least once a week and sometimes many more times than that.

I think the skill set is just being able to navigate and have that ability to change gears pretty quickly, and be able to switch and say, “okay, where did you last leave off with this client? What are they focused on? What do we need to deliver for them this week, next week?”

Jamie Nau: Yeah. The way we look at our onboarding at Summit is really kind of like four legs, right? There's four parts of it. So one, and I think Greg mentioned all of these, which is good, but I think the first is, we do have a pretty detailed online video training session. Right? So it's part of our course, but also some supplemental things as part of the course.

Those first couple of weeks, if you're just sitting around and have nothing to do, just fire up a video. So we want to make sure people have access to that. The second is some shadowing. Having Greg be on the phone with a client and another CFO and just watching. The camera doesn't have to be on, but just sit there and listening to how Adam handles a client, how Adam handles questions, how his meeting cadences is. So that's the  second leg. 

The third leg is really just having conversations. I think that's a lot of where Adam and I come in. I just had a meeting with a client about this. Let's talk about this, Greg. A lot of these conversations are the exact same things the videos are saying. But they're just a little more detailed and a little more interactive and a chance to ask questions as we go through it, and understand, as Greg put it, the Summit way and the way we deliver. So that's kind of the third leg. 

And then fourth leg, which usually comes last, but depending on how crazy we are and how busy we are, it could come on day one, but it's really those onboarding new clients.

That's the best way to learn is just get your hands dirty. But it's really hard to do that without those other three legs of at least understanding what we do and how we do. And where we do it and why we do it. 

So those first three legs are really important to do. I think that's why, to Greg's credit and to a lot of new CFO's credits, we get a lot of that about that 90-day mark saying, I'm ready to get my hands a little dirtier than they are already because we're spending so much in those first three lags, depending on how busy we are. 

Adam, anything to expand on that. And your thoughts on our onboarding process? 

Adam Hale: It just makes me nervous as hell. It's one of those things we hear this all the time and like you said, it's no matter what we do, Greg, and I'd love to hear your input on this.

As many things as we show you during that first 90 days. Let's be real. It doesn't really matter until you do it. Cause I can't tell you how many times I've met with a CFO whenever they pick up a client, and they're like, “oh, I never heard this. I never heard this. I never heard this.” 

It's like, yeah, you probably did. But it was like a 30-second blurb that didn't resonate with you. You know what I mean? So I'm sure we covered that. It just didn't make any sense. So then, once you go through those real life examples with them, and you would love to be able to do that just with your own client, but just like anything else, the reality is, it's like you're listening, but you're not like owning that task.

So until it's saddled with you having to be the one to deliver that to the client all by your lonesome, you don't really put the brain power and everything behind it. And then, the other thing that trips people up that Greg mentioned, I think a lot of times, which makes me a little uneasy, I get it–we have a lot of technology. 

We have a lot of tools, but at the end of the day, you're a smart person, Greg, all I need you to do is close your eyes, write it down on a piece of paper. I have people on the team that can put it into dashboards, do this, do that. I need you to architect what you want it to look like.

I have people that can build it for you. So don't get hung up with that. And I think sometimes in our first 90 days team members, senior accountants, and CFOs get overwhelmed with all the tools and learning what the Summit way is. And it's like, what I really need you to do is be a relationship manager; fake it until you make it, exude confidence, really dive deep into the client relationship first.

And then, we can take all those other conversations offline about how to build it, how to put it together, but I need you to intuitively understand. That's why I was saying, curiosity for me is what that is. So what scares the hell out of me, is Greg saying “give me, give me, give me.” And I'm like, “okay, cool. But as soon as I do, you're on your own, bud.” 

You know what I mean? And this client I just sold, I told them, “Hey, we’re going to do this, this, this, and we're going to solve this, this and this for you.”

 And then if Greg comes in, he goes, well, I'm new. I'm trying to figure out the “Summit way.” You know, then the client's like, “what's that got to do with me? I just need you to figure me out.” 

And so it's one of those things where, you always have to kind of behind the scenes, be like, “Hey, be confident upfront, and then we'll figure it out on the backend; you have plenty of support.” 

So, anyway, I don't know if you felt like that, even though you felt like you were really adequately trained “up front,” it was still a totally different ball game, wasn't it? Whenever you had to take on your first client?

Greg Wallis: Yeah. It was, and again to your point, to those existing clients that I came on to, I didn't know how the sausage was made. I didn't know how the forecast was developed. I wasn't knee deep in the non-financial metrics that helped drive that necessarily, and that's a little harder to uncover once it's built. 

But you know, being part of the building process for those new onboarded clients has really shown me, I get it now. I understand how our payroll grid is constructed and how that then translates into our forecasting product.

I've learned a lot from our technology team, just to your point, sort of getting in and doing it at least to understand what it can do. And now I'm much more comfortable saying, “okay, tech team, data analysts, this is what I need you to build out. And I need it to do these things.” 

I'm trying to model your perspective, which is, draw it out on a piece of paper and have them build it and then come back, review it, tweak it. So that, again, I can stay focused on the pressing needs of the client and answering their business and strategy questions, rather than just ‘is this debit and credit going to the right account.’

Jamie Nau: And I think that's one thing that we've found in hiring, getting back to that, is finding people that are willing to get their hands dirty. When we describe this job to people, we're describing what Adam just said. Your main job is to be that consultant and to be that person that's their partner in there to really help them and guide them through their financial statement process, but there are times we really need to get your hands dirty. 

And I know you did a lot of that early on, Greg, and I think you learned a lot from having to get your hands dirty. So a lot of times, we'll hire someone and we'll hire someone with so much experience and so much like, ‘oh, I've got a team of 20 accountants and three administrative assistants. I didn't even know how to do an expense report cause I've been doing this for, so for the last 15 years. And so we'll, we'll hire those people that are like, no, I'm not going to go in and book a journal entry.’

So I think that's the other thing we find. Greg, you want to talk about some of those experiences where you really had to get your hands dirty and kind of how that helped you understand, like you said, how the sausage was made? 

Greg Wallis: Sure. I think we're a business of people. Right? There's been some turnover; like all businesses, everybody's experiencing a little bit of that. And so, as a CFO left or maybe a senior accountant, as we're staffing things back up, all of a sudden, I might have three weeks on a client and then I'm the senior person, the most tenured person.

You really have to dig it because now, you're showing the next new person how to get it done. At the end of the day the accounting and the finance function, I've had years of experience and I've had, back to Jamie's point, a lot of different clients and a lot of different industries.

These client businesses aren't so complex; we just have to make sure we understand what those key drivers are, and then make sure that the story that you understand about the business is coming out in the financial reporting process. And so, we've got a lot of great tools, in addition to just straight up financial statements.

We've got a lot of data and benchmarking that we do for our digital agencies that we work with. And that's really where the power of some of the information is in that analytics and saying, how do we then apply those analytics and how does a client take that to improve their business. 

And when do we see warning signs? When profitability starts to wane? Is our client overstaffed? We have to be those people that are willing to have the tough conversations with clients.

I've had a couple of those, saying, ‘ you really have too many people’ in some instances. ‘You're going to have to let some people go or else here's what you're going to see six, 12 months from now in terms of your profitability and ultimately your cash.’

We just need honest folks that will have that tough conversation and not avoid it. The earlier we can have that conversation with the client, the more that they’ll appreciate it. 

Adam Hale: I think the big difference too is, and this is the hardest thing for us to kind of talk through because a lot of (obviously the VCFOs that come here have a lot of financial knowledge) now to Jamie's point, sometimes it's not one of those things where somebody is super technical anymore. 

You know, I used to wear it like a badge of honor, like give me two senior accountants. I can do their job. And another senior accountant. Now? Not so much. I couldn't do that. I'm not a half of a senior accountant anymore.

So, we all kind of progressed in our careers. There is a little bit of that trust, but verify, I need you to be technical. I need you to help train the senior accountant to look at stuff the way you look at stuff and do those kinds of things. I think that's a learning lesson sometimes for a new person. 

Greg, you come in and you're like, ‘oh cool, this senior accountant’s been on this account for two years. So they know everything.’ 

Bad assumption. You know what I mean? Make sure you review the balance sheet, make sure you review the income statement every month with them, train them on how you look at stuff. It's a great opportunity for them as well.

But the other thing is that, probably a little bit mission critical, the difference between approaching situations as a business advisor, as opposed to a financial person, like of course our get-out-of-jail free card (and I say it all the time), whenever you overstep your bounds, all you have to say is ‘financially speaking.’

And then, they're never going to really go toe to toe with you on that one. Then you can poke your nose into something operational that you have no business poking your nose into. Cause then they'll respect it and say, ‘no, you just don't understand, Adam. It's actually this and this.’ 

And it's like, ‘oh, okay, cool. I was coming at it from this angle.’

I think what clients look for us to do in this role is be very proactive with the information. So they're not looking for a dissertation. They're not looking for a history lesson on what they did last month. They already lived it. These business owners don't need that. What they need to know is ‘what does it mean going forward?’

And then prompting them and asking them questions. What I get time and time again from small business owners is, ‘I don't know what I don't know.’ 

That's different from roles that you've had in the past. Usually, you're the question and answer guy; somebody asks you a question, you give them an answer. Now, you're expected to think of the question and then provide an answer. Do you find that challenging at least at first? Or how did you acclimate to that?

Greg Wallis: For me that comes a little bit more naturally because, again, I think I am a curious person, so I'm wanting to understand, and I'm trying to always put myself in the shoes of the owner. One specific situation is, I was working with a new client for Summit. He was complaining about how his cash balance was quite low.

He was successful. He had good client relationships, and it turns out, he was billing in rears, if you will. He was incurring the time in one month and then billing it the next month. He had very small retainers that he was billing, even though he might be doing four X the work.

And so, with a couple of simple shifts and I was asking him, ‘why did you pick that number? Why did you pick X?’ And he said, ‘well, that's what we started with. And we've just never adjusted.’ 

And I said, ‘well, with the client already making up that payment the next month, you're paying for that payroll in the current month, and you're waiting to bill it. Then, you have to wait for them to pay it.

So, you're 45 days out from when you paid that payroll. So you're financing their business. He went back, had conversations with the clients, moved up all the retainer amounts to a normalized regular monthly amount. Now he's reconciling quarterly. And his cash, he's got three X the cash in the bank as of today.

And that was a 90- to 120-day change. Those are the kind of quick wins that come with a little bit of experience, because again, he didn't know. He set that retainer and that was that, the annual retainer. And I said, ‘go have a conversation’ and sort of pressed him to do that.

That was sort of a quick win, but some of the other insights take a little bit more digging into sort of understanding of the business. But, those are the things that I think bring real value. The other thing that this client doesn't have is a line of credit, so he doesn't have access.

Just getting back to a little bit of the Summit philosophy and saying, have it available; what you're paying on the end-use portion is minuscule. But if you run into a problem, it’s good to have, so we're making some really good strides with this particular client and it’s been fun because you've got somebody who's really looking to you for advice and taking it and acting out it. 

Jamie Nau: What I like about your example there, I think this is key because Adam talks about being curious, I think a lot of people think curious is just asking questions. Right?

Anybody can print a list of questions from the web and sit there and ask questions. But I think what you described was really listening to the answers. And I think that's the key to being curious as, okay, ‘I'm going to ask this question and whatever they bring back to me is either going to lead me to a tip to give them, or lead me to three or four more questions so I can give them that next piece of advice.’ 

I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion because I imagine it took several questions to get there. And then, once you figured out the way they're billing and how their cash worked, it was a real back and forth conversation.

And I think, oftentimes, like I said, some people look at curiosity as ‘I'll ask the questions all day long.’ But, no, you really want to listen to their questions and react to their answers. You know, I think that's the key to being curious. 

Adam Hale: That's really good, Jamie. I always say, make sure you have intent behind the questions that you're asking and be ready to explain why you asked them. Sometimes, I will go completely in a different direction than what I originally intended, and sometimes, I'm going in the wrong direction, and that's okay. You know, cause I'm asking.

I kind of follow the five ‘Y’ kind of philosophy to where you're just like, ‘why, why, why’ to be able to get to the root cause of something. So I'm always kind of digging deeper and deeper and deeper. But then, whenever you feel like you're losing the client or the client's getting frustrated, why you keep pushing on certain subjects, it's a really easy to say, ‘Hey, the reason why I'm asking these questions is because I thought you do this, this and this and that results in this, this and this. But what I heard you just say is you actually do it this way, which is fine, but I think maybe we can do some stuff over here that'll make it make more sense.’ 

And I probably do that in a conversation a week all the time. And then, they're like, ‘yep, that's exactly what I do.’Or, ‘nope, you're wrong. I do it this way, and here's why.’ 

And then, I have a deeper understanding, so that if I do need to go back and use one of my resources, one of you two. ‘Hey, Greg, I don't know what to do for this client. If you ask me three or four questions, I can actually provide you with an answer. It doesn't mean I have them all, but I've got the situation pretty much mapped out and I just need some advice on how to do it.’

And then that leads to being able to use all the resources on the team a lot easier, but if you don't ask the questions, and you just come to me and you say, ‘well, here's the problem.’ And then I ask you five questions, and it's like talking to a wall, then it's like, ‘Well, Greg, you  didn't source the question enough.’

You know what I mean? You need to really dig deep, and I'm happy to help you. I give you my advice, for what that's worth, but you really need to make sure you fully understand the question and explain to the client why you ask. 

Jamie Nau: And I think you could also see that internally as well, right? This is kind of one of the ways that I evaluate how CFOs are doing because I meet with new CFOs. We have a new batch right now. I meet with them every day, every day for 30 minutes saying, ‘okay, what questions do you guys have for me?’ And, and I could tell by the questions they ask, are they doing just that?

Were they just asking questions because they don't want to sit in silence with me for half an hour, you know? So it's like, are they really asking questions that they want to know the answers to? Or are they just trying to kill this half hour? And so, I think with this new group of CFOs, every question they come to me with, I can see the intent behind it.

I know it came from this example that just happened. Let's really dig into it. And so I think that's a skillset that you can see internally as well, because sometimes, Adam and I say all the time, ‘Hey, our door's open.’ 

Come ask us a question. But sometimes people just come in because, ‘Oh, I haven't talked to Adam this week; I better go ask a question and especially when you're doing that to Adam, you have to come in with your ducks in a row because like Adam said, he'll ask the five whys. 

And if you haven't done your research, you’ll get caught in the second why and be like, ‘I don't know. I better go back and talk to them and ask them that question’ because it's definitely happened to me before. 

So, Greg, the other thing that I thought was pretty unique about you coming in, and we've seen this a couple of times, but I don't know if we've seen as much success with this, is you actually brought some clients to Summit. 

I know some were successful and some didn't work out, but I want you to talk a little bit about that experience and using your connections to bring in clients to Summit and how that worked and how that didn’t work.

Greg Wallis: I appreciate that. I've been pretty active in my networking, certainly as I was looking for a new position coming out of the pandemic. And, had a couple of clients that I had done some consulting work on as a sole proprietor. One came back to me and said, ‘what do you think, have you found something? We're looking for a new CFO?’

And I said, I've just joined Summit. We started to explore that, and it really looked like he needed a fractional CFO. He had a good controller but needed some higher-level strategic thinking. And so, we started working together, signed a statement of work, got into some of the discovery, and it turned out, they didn't have all their ducks in a row. Their house was not in order, or they had a controller that wasn't on board with that solution. It was really sort of sabotaging the entire relationship.

It was, as it turned out, going to be a difficult relationship to maintain. With sort of a little bit of fighting and some strife. I brought Jamie in. We had a conversation with the owner. He agreed, he was sensing that same sort of concern. 

After a few weeks of doing some discovery and trying to figure out how to work together and how this arrangement was going to work, we decided that it probably wasn't quite the right time for him. And so, we walked away. This goes back to an old Arthur Anderson philosophy “think straight, talk straight,” and just being very candid about the situation.

I think at the end of the day, we might come back and have a client at some point when they're ready. On the flip side, I had another group that I was consulting with and trying to help them acquire a business. They went sort of quiet on that during most of the pandemic.

And then came back roaring after the vaccinations were out there. I got a call one day and he said, ‘Hey, what are you up to? And we've just signed a letter of intent to acquire this business. And we're closing next week. Can you be our CFO?’ 

They were really looking for a fractional CFO relationship.The headquarters in Indianapolis and the school is in West Virginia. And so, we're working through that right now, and I think it's going to be a really successful relationship for them. 

So, it's just being open and the answering the call and when people say, ‘hey are you looking?’ Cause I still get a few of those calls. I say, ‘well, what are you looking for? Because I might have a solution for you from a fractional standpoint. 

You know, it can leverage that personal relationship that I might have with some previous business contacts and we can work together again. It won't be working with Wallis, LLC, Consulting Firm. You'll be working with Summit. And now Anders

Adam Hale: I think that's interesting because I think sometimes, what we see, especially in this space, Greg, what I think is pretty cool is that, a lot of times people will entertain, ‘maybe I just need to go back and be a full-time CFO again.’ Or sometimes even, ‘maybe I can just handle a couple of these on the side.’

The fact that you were so open anytime anybody reaches out to you, you're very quick to say, ‘Hey guys, I think this should be on our radar and we should do this.’ It’s just a testament to how good of a fit you are for what we do and how we do it.

It's really cool that you always think ‘Hey, I think this client would be a good fit for us.’ You’re always on the lookout for that kind of stuff. Obviously, we don't have traditional, like, ‘Hey, you need to bring a book of business or do any of that kind of stuff.’

I think it is cool that whenever you see those opportunities, you've been able to say, ‘Hey, yeah, I think this would be a good fit.’

Jamie Nau: What I've really appreciated about it is, I do think that you've really understood the services you provide and how that fits into different companies. 

Obviously I was on that one conversation with you, but I've heard you bring these into leadership calls and, I think you really do understand the value we provide and the service we provide.

And I know nine months seems like a long time, but to have that grasp already in that amount of time, I think is ahead of the curve. I think a lot of people who've worked for us for nine months, and I've had conversations with them. And talked to them in Adam's office. And like, ‘I'm not sure that that person really still understands what we do ask them.’

I think that the fact that you could sell it and that you can recognize pretty early on that this client is not exactly our core client, has been huge in that aspect. 

So we are right on time here. So let's do some closing thoughts. Greg let's just throw the one last question at you. So, first 90 days, what do you think? Any tips for our listeners that are either thinking about applying to Summit or thinking about doing their own thing? 

Greg Wallis: It's been great. I've really enjoyed it. The quality of the people and the quality of the technology has just made my ability to step up and be successful a whole lot easier. 

One of the things that I appreciate, having been a senior financial leader for a number of years, is there's still a great deal of autonomy. From the owners and the people I work with, including Jamie, Adam and Jody, the other owner, you know, they say ‘this is your book of business; go be successful; do your thing. Come to us when you have questions or if you want some thoughts or guidance.’ 

But you know, we're really very autonomous, in control of our schedules and control of our client meetings. We're in control of the client relationships. But, we always have Jamie, Adam, and Jody when we run into any challenges, any issues–if a client's upset about something or didn’t like the way something was handled–they do a great job of coming in over the top, talking through it with the client. So I've just appreciated the support and the ability to, again, control my own schedule.

I was just talking to Jamie prior to this and was able to have seven days out of town for some spring break activities. And then, one of the other great things is, we have a lake house that's probably seven and a half hours away. You can't just get away for the weekend.

You have to make it a few days. I put some technology in the car, set up a whole workstation down there. The beauty that I haven't had is the ability to work from work from the lake house, from my other positions. And so, it's gonna give me some personal freedom.

My wife's a teacher. So she's off all summer. So, we're really looking forward to that flexibility coming from this Summit relationship, and I can be just as present with all my clients and keep it rolling. 

Jamie Nau: So we'll do a special podcast about Greg’s spring break at some point; it'll be a wild one, but let's save that for another time, but, Adam, final thoughts from you.

Adam Hale: Outside of just the gratitude, Greg, for being on the team and really just diving in and kind of embracing everything, obviously, but outside of that, just knowing that no matter what your background is or your experience or anything like that, just know that whenever you dive into a relationship like this, it's going to be a little bit different, and that's okay.

You just have to have confidence in it, and just really focus and fall back on your curiosity about the business and thinking about it as if you owned the business. And then, again, leveraging those skills that you have from a technical standpoint, from a financial side, just to kind of push it though. All the rest of that stuff will work itself out in terms of the tools and the consulting and that kind of stuff.

Jamie Nau: Great. Well, thanks again, Greg. Thanks again, Adam. And thanks again for listening and I look forward to future episodes. And again, especially that spring break Greg episode, that's gonna be fun. 


How to Survive Your First 100 Days as a Virtual CFO with Greg Wallis


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