SaaS Finance in fast-growing startups


Amit Sharma, a Chartered Accountant by nature, has built and scaled the Finance function at Whatfix during its hyper-growth phase. He has put the right things in place in an unsettled environment- setting up the path for the company to grow much larger!

Key Takeaways

  • Advice to Founders: When the company is trying to grow from the nascent stage to the growth stage, hiring somebody in the mid-range who wants to grow up to be a CFO is better than hiring a CFO.
  • Accounting is the core bedrock for all analysis. If that‚Äôs not stable, you are not going to get the right picture of any analysis you do.¬†
  • Outsourcing accounting is a regular practice. But you also need to have somebody in-house to ensure that the outsourcing firm does not miss out on anything.¬†
  • Advice to Finance Execs: Automate your systems and start hiring from Day 1.

SaaS Finance for Fast-growing startups

First Finance Hire: Key Traits

  • Somebody who can get his/her hands dirty¬†
  • Who can step our the comfort zone¬†
  • A Mid-level person who wants to become a CFO

First things the First Finance Hire needs to do

  • Understand the core business¬†
  • Understand what numbers the Core people (CS Head, Sales Head, Partnership Head, CEO) are talking.¬†
  • Stabilize accounting and compliances¬†
  • Formalize the numbers of ARR¬†

Key things the First Finance Hire needs to own up

  • Automation¬†
  • Reports for Management¬†
  • Fundraises¬†
  • Hiring¬†

Software that can help you automate: 

  • A good ERP¬†
  • ARR Automation software¬†
  • Accounts Receivable software¬†

Structuring your MIS

  • Breaking ARR into core segments (Enterprises Vs SMBs) is a good way to start.
  • Breaking core numbers Geo-wise¬†
  • Track Customer acquisition cost (CAC)¬†
  • Track Accounts Receivable¬†

Things to be ensured by Finance Exec during Fundraising 

  • Always have your data room ready¬†
  • Apart from outsourcing, have somebody in house to monitor books of accounts
  • Always have your data room ready
  • If not confident with your data room, do mock due diligence (financial & legal)
  • Train your next level to handle queries
  • Ensure your systems are up to date & you know to tackle your cornerstone cases
  • Select a good legal counsel

Rapid Fire with Amit 

When do you start and end your workday?
No start time. No end time. 

Podcast/Book suggestion for people joining fast-growing startups
Anything from your core favorite topic. 

Apart from core finance skills, what is the additional skill that a Finance Member can learn which will help them during the early fast-growing startup phase?
Communication skills 

Something that you would do differently or take a different call during your personal or professional life if given a magical wish?
Automate all of my systems. And start hiring from day 1.

Subscribe to view future episodes