Late Stage Financing CFO Roundtable

Kranz & Associates was proud to co-host two productive CFO Roundtables to discuss “Late Stage Financing and Exit: Trends in the Current Marketplace” with our partners KPMG, Morgan Stanley Whitfield Group, and Heffernan Insurance. A special thank you to our expert panelists: Mihir Jobalia, Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking, KPMG; Suzy Taherian, CFO, Kinetic Systems; Jeff Klemens, Partner, Sageview Capital; Bernard Huger, CFO, OneLogin; Roman Glukhovsky, Partner, Andra Global.

Event Summary: “Late Stage Financing CFO Roundtable” Discussion- June 18th and 20th, 2019.  Sponsored by Kranz & Associates, KPMG, Heffernan Insurance, and Morgan Stanley Whitfield Group

Market Environment

  •  Interest rates very low, strong M&A market, record deals in tech… average size $158M.
  •  $1 trillion dry powder on the sidelines.
  •  3,600 deals last year, $35B venture capital investment.
  •  P.E. firms competitive and outbidding strategics.
  •  Strategics paying more for good assets.
  • 70% of acquisitions are for add-on P.E.
  •  Record strong M&A capital raise market and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
  •  Shareholders are saying that if you don’t invest, give it back.
  •  Fundraise NOW, don’t wait until next year.
  •  Consolidation, market compression, plenty of financing options.

What investors are looking for in companies they invest in?

  • What are underlying unit cost of your business?
  • What are your metrics for customer acquisition?
  • What drives your sales revenue?
  • Have a compelling story… Know your competitors and your challenges in the market
  • What are you selling, what is great about your company?
  • Management team is more important when it is earlier stage, need track record of management team
  • Present company through the lens of investor or banker, EASY to understand!
  • Keep the story simple, easy understand, like talking to a toddler
  • They can understand what you do in 15 minutes or less.
  • Don’t fudge the numbers, don’t lose credibility.
  • Team presentation (not just the CFO and CEO talking). Well-coordinated team!

Know your options for financing

  • Options: Shareholder loan, sale lease back, asset sales, convertible notes.
  • Know the different bankers and lenders out there: venture debt, bank, capital providers, alternative investors.
  • Everyone wants to give you money.
  • Startup financing criteria: profit, asset, guaranty.

M&A versus IPO

  • IPO harder; requires factors of execution; are you able to scale so that the public market is excited about it.
  • Preparing for M&A: clean up the books, look at reducing the corporate cost structure, change the culture, hire/train folks, etc. Bring in Heffernan Insurance to do risk assessment to help manage risk and potentially realize insurance savings.
  • Acquisition usually comes from competition, partner, portfolio company from the same investor.
  • Get to know and build relationship with your potential acquirers early, pre-seed strategic direction.
  • Get more than one term sheet.
  • Get your financials straight, show ramp/growth trajectory, get business in a good place.
  • Live out of the data room and decide on challenges to immediately tackle in advance.
  • Operate as if you are getting ready to go public, 12-18 months before going public.
  • Process – cast a wide net for at least 5 – 10 interested buyers, get name out, get to know investment bankers.

Which stage is most challenging for capital raise?

  • If overcapitalized early on and you burn all of your cash and them come back for more down the road. This is when it is most difficult.
  • Post-merger integration and execution after the deal.

What are factors that companies are not ready for when they go for financing?

  •  Not getting their books in order, revenue recognition.
  •  Under-staffed finance team.
  •  Building product but no plans to scale.
  •  IP is an after thought.
  •  Security – does not pass the test.

Characteristics of how to be the “Best CFOs”

  • Revenue and A/R lumpy, unpredictable… Need consistent cashflow and standardization, ROI, track numbers.
  • Reputable, scalable offer that translate from customer-to-customer.
  • Have plan and strategy that you are going to execute on, understand what’s working and what’s not.
  • Best CFOs figure out on the fly and use outside resources to guide you and get up to speed.
  • Have great relationship and provide transparency to CEOs and Investors.
  • Hire the right people… get yourself an awesome controller.
  • Have conviction of your viewpoint and numbers.
  • Be proactive and report monthly to management team and board members.
  • Stay focused and say “NO” to large customers when you know your team can’t handle it.

How to find the right investor

  • Are they a good fit? Are they people that you’d want on your board?
  • What kind of network and support environment do they provide for their portfolio company?
  • Are they aligned with your strategy?
  • Can they stomach losing money for a while?

SEC Pro Group Meeting

Lights, Camera, Action! Kranz is proud to co-sponsor the Silicon Valley SEC Pro Group Chapter. The Q2 In-person Meeting is at Netflix on May 29th. You can register directly on Eventbrite at We already have over 30 people registered and please feel free to share this event. The more the merrier! If you haven’t registered yet, please do so as we will need to get a registration list to our hosts for security check-in and headcount for breakfast. We have added the Roundtable to follow after viewing the webinar and we are offering 2 CPEs for the event. We have a strong representation of Controllers and SEC Professionals registered and we are looking forward to a productive Roundtable.

When: Wednesday, May 29th 8:30AM – 10:30AM

Where: Netflix, Los Gatos, CA

8:30 – 9:30 Webinar Month-End Close 1 CPE Credit
See below for course description and learning objectives

9:30 – 10:30 Roundtable Discussion: Success Stories and Challenges with Improving the Financial Close Process 1 CPE Credit
During our roundtable we will discuss success stories and challenges for improving the financial close process. Panelists will be subject matter experts, including controllers and financial reporting professionals. After the roundtable, attendees will be able to:
• Identify real-world solutions for improving the financial close process
• List technology solutions and methodologies to automate the financial close process
• Utilize cross-departmental teams to identify opportunities to create efficiencies for the financial close process
• Implement dashboards and metrics to facilitate communication and metrics to improve the financial close process
Details about the webinar:
The struggle to achieve both speed and accuracy in the financial close process can be challenging. Major stakeholders want the information as fast as possible, but they also need data they can trust. Those working on the close may feel as if they’re in a catch-22: pushed to work faster, but with no errors. During this meeting, members will share how they improved the efficiency and effectiveness of their close process by improving internal communications and leveraging technology.

After this meeting, attendees will be able to:
• Identify pain points in their financial close process
• Explain tactics or methods other members used to improve their financial close process
• Determine ways to leverage technology to simplify and expedite the financial close process
• Develop performance metrics to evaluate your close process


Trish Coughlin, Chief Accounting Officer, Cornerstone OnDemand
Eric Greene, Senior Manager of Technical Accounting and Financial Reporting, ZAGG
Alexander Hume, Corporate Controller, Zions Bancorporation
Jonathan Johnson, President, Medici Ventures, Inc.
Moderator: Steve Soter

“Scaling Your Startup” Panel Discussion

We are pleased to co-host “Scaling Your Startup” with Advantary, CBRE, Multi-Innovation, The Sourcery, and Lenovo. Please join us for a panel discussion on scaling your startup rapidly and cost-effectively in the Bay Area on Wednesday, May 29th at CBRE Corporate in Salesforce Tower at 415 Mission Street, San Francisco’s tallest office building. RSVP on Eventbrite at

This discussion will include the following panelists:

• Interim CxO Services – Stephen Kuhn, Advantary MODERATOR
• Recruiting – Jessica Stielau – The Sourcery
• IP and Patent Strategy – Shmuel Silverman – Multi-Innovation
• Venture Capital – John Majeski – Lenovo Ventures
• Real Estate – Lexi Russell – CBRE
• CFO/Finance – Rachel Fierberg – Kranz

Refreshments will be provided.

We hope to see you there!

You are Invited: Pre and Post Transaction Planning- Lunch & Learn

InvitationJoin us for the lunch and learn focused on Pre and Post Transaction Planning – “Optimizing Equity Compensation & Preserving and Growing Wealth”.

Who: For Entrepreneurs, Executives, Closely Held Business Owners

When: April 16th, 2019 at 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: MindSpace – 575 Market Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco

By: Kranz & Associates and The Whitfield Group at Morgan Stanley

Register at

Discussion Content:

 Optimizing Equity Compensation for Post Tax Cash Flow

 Founders Shares, Compensatory Stock Options, Qualified Small Business Stock;

 Compounding Post Transaction Wealth with Trust & Non-Trust Structures.

 Titling Assets with Revocable Trusts

 Freezing Asset Values with Intentionally Defective Trusts

 His & Her (Spousal) Intentionally Defective Trusts

 Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts

 Discounting Asset Values with Family Limited Partnerships

  •  Bringing all Together: Modeling the Economic Benefits of Planning v. No planning
  •  Illustration of post transaction wealth compounding with no planning
  •  Illustration of post transaction wealth compounding with planning

March CFO Roundtable: “Planning, Practicality, and Pitfalls On ERP Upgrades and Implementations”

We hosted two lively and productive CFO Roundtable sessions last week in Menlo Park (at Morgan Stanley) and San Francisco (at CBRE), focused on upgrading ERP systems. The events were well-attended by heads of finance representing a great mix of early stage and middle market companies from a wide variety of industries, who came to share their perspectives and learn from their peers.

Takeaways from the sessions:

Trigger points for upgrading from Quickbooks to NetSuite ran the gamut.

  • Company growth – multiple entities, product launches, multi-currency
  • Hiring an audit firm
  • Inventory Management
  • Investor reporting requirements
  • Board Member’s request

 Convincing your CEO to invest in a more robust ERP

  • Helping the CEO see the value of the accounting/finance function
  • Investing early will prevent higher costs vs. converting when the company is larger
  • Scalability

Pitfalls to avoid when implementing a new ERP system

  • Appoint a project manager within your company as implementation lead/primary point of contact to work with the vendor
  • Consider both current and future state of the company and develop a long-term strategy when looking at business requirements and system functionality and overall capabilities
  • Revenue recognition capabilities – does it support ASC 606, commissions, etc…

Upgraded to an ERP system but not using its full functionality

Reasons included:

  • No training/insufficient training
  • Only got through Phase I
  • Implemented by predecessor

Ways to address:

  • Performing an optimization review
  • Provide training for current team
  • Review work flows and user profiles
  • Integrate with software currently being used or look at ways to automate with the system

Options to consider if you aren’t ready for a more robust ERP system

  • Accounting structure is straightforward – i.e. single entity, inventory management is not an issue
  • NetSuite BPO or similar programs

We also had a great discussion on alternative software solutions to automate and simplify your process:

  • Zuora – Accounts Receivable Solution (i.e. global payments, subscriptions, analytics)
  • Intaact – Core Financials and Reporting (cost effective for non-inventory products)
  • Blackline – Reconciliation
  • Xactly – Sales Commission
  • Workato – Workflows, Integration and Automation.


The event was hosted by: Jan Berthold/Heffernan Insurance, Kelly Borland/Deloitte, Christina Bui/Kranz & Associates, Steve Lee/CBRE, and Garry Whitfield/Morgan Stanley, and our subject matter expert, Anna Matveeva/Kranz & Associates.


How to Break Bad Work Habits

We all have bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate, or are disorganized, or lack punctuality.  These bad habits don’t make you a bad person, but as an employee they can hinder your professional success. The key to overcoming bad work habits is to become self-aware and make a concerted effort to self-improvement.

Get Ready for Bad Habit Breaking

Now that you’re revved up and ready to break a couple of dastardly bad habits.  Remember to be patient, but persistent in your quest.  Studies show that it takes between 18 and 254 days to replace a bad habit with a new good habit.

Here are a few tips for successfully breaking bad habits at work:


This bad habit can seriously hurt your standing with both your employer and co-workers.  If your last-minute scrambles make your colleagues feel rushed putting them at a disadvantage, you will most likely get blamed when a project fails or is late.   This behavior is sure to undermine your co-worker’s and employer’s trust in your ability to work towards common goals.

The Fix:
Create timelines, with small goals in them.  This will keep you working at an even pace instead of trying to complete everything at the last minute.


Lack of Punctuality

From time-to-time we all get stuck in traffic or get a flat tire on the way to work.  But, when you find yourself having an excuse every day, the problem may be that you just lack punctuality.

The Fix: 
Examine your daily routine and identify what you can correct to make sure getting to work on time is your priority.   Perhaps buying one of those coffee makers that you can set the night before. That way, when you wake-up your coffee is already there for you.  Also, stop pressing the snooze button on your alarm clock.  You are not going to feel any less tired in 5 minutes.   So, you might as well get up on time and not risk being late.

Not Being Organized

Are papers and sticky notes piling up, emails flooding your inbox faster than you can read them?  Sounds like you could use some help getting organized.  You may have noticed that when work piles-up, your ability to concentrate diminishes causing your productivity to fall.

The Fix:

  • Outline Priorities
  • Time Block Your Day
  • Discard Non-Essentials
  • Map-Out Milestones and Goals


For more tips about forming good habits, check out Increase Your Work Satisfaction and Productivity

Interview Red Flags for Hiring Managers

As a hiring manager you have most likely met candidates who didn’t interview smoothly.  That does not necessarily mean that they are wrong for the position, however.   But there are some key red flags that you should not overlook.   We have compiled a red flag list below for you keep in mind the next time you interview a candidate.


Trouble Following Directions

Directing your attention to a candidate’s ability to fulfill requests alerts you to one red flag. If a candidate is unable to fulfill requests, or do so in a timely manner, what can you expect from workplace performance? Likely more of the same.


The Late Arrival

Take note of late arrivals in correspondence as well as for the interview. The candidate may have too many obligations or be unconcerned about timeliness. Both are red flags.


Pay is Most Important

Focus on a candidate’s attention to compensation and benefits. Be concerned when questions focus exclusively on pay instead of the position.  You may be dealing with a someone who will just show up for the paycheck.


Lacking Professionalism

Watch for demeanor in dress, language, and communication incidentals such as handshakes and ability to follow non-verbal signs. Someone who is dressed down or not at all nuanced in signs of interview professionalism, warrants careful observation. The candidate may be inexperienced or apathetic.


Lack of Interview Questions

Expect a candidate to have informed questions during that portion of the interview. A lack of questions related to job specifics and next steps, indicates apathy or not being prepared.


Put this person at the top of your ‘do not hire’ list! This is the genuine bad apple presented in the opening paragraph. Nothing is ever right, even during an interview. Comments about past positions have a negative ring. This type of candidate, regardless of skills, is a drain on performance, goodwill, and finances.



Increase Your Work Satisfaction and Productivity

Being consistently productive throughout the work day can be challenging. Proper time-management is key to your productivity… but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start.

The Link Between Satisfaction and Productivity

People who are satisfied in work and life have nurtured habits that increase their productivity. They even find time to relax! They typically enjoy many aspects of their work. What are these habits?

  • They take care of themselves. They’re physically active, eat well, and seek and enjoy simple moments.
  • Effective people create a routine that works for them. They choose when to arise, best times for meals, and when to call it a day.
  • They know their peak functioning hours, reserving those for priority or challenging tasks. We all have different peak working schedules.  Get to know yours.

Take a Step Back

Innovation and breakthrough ideas take center stage when you step away from ho hum daily routines. According to a Cognition Journal study taking regular breaks improves focus and mood. A mind that is freed from a thousand spinning thoughts is fertile ground for imagination and fresh approaches to challenges. Take a step back to:

  • Go for a brief walk and leave your phone in your desk.
  • Meditate—or at least focus on your breath. It works wonders!
  • Review emerging trends and current research to broaden your scope.

Set Small SMART Goals

Seeing a long list of projects on your calendar can be intimidating.  However, breaking those up into smaller tasks can you help you gain control and be more productive.   Small tasks are short-term, which is helpful when trying to accomplish large goals.

These smaller tasks are known as SMART goals and should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Practice Optimism and Hold on to Your Dreams

Productive, effective people are doggedly determined to follow their own path. They do it by:

  • Keeping their eye on their dreams.
  • Moving toward their goals, even when there are stumbling blocks. They know that perseverance is a given, and failure means it’s time to take a new approach.
  • Deflecting and steering clear of nay-sayers by listening to their own inner wisdom.
  • Staying hopeful and celebrating each sign of progress, regardless of its size.



“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

                                                                                    Will Durant, American Historian


For more information about boosting your productivity, check out Be More Successful at Work




How to Guide Your Employees Through Leadership Change

With the average term of a CEO being six years, it becomes clear that leadership change is a given.  Even so, change in the workplace, and especially in leadership positions can cause anxiety and doubt among employees.  Mishandling leadership change can hurt productivity and employee retention.  A support plan is imperative to effectively introducing change. Ask the employees about their concerns and be a good listener.

Focus on the Constants

Constants like an organization’s philosophy and values are typically enduring. They’re the constants consumers and the general public expect. Think of slogans that have been tied to a company for decades. Your organization’s constants help you guide employees during leadership change as you:

  • Talk about the business’s values with employees.
  • Inquire how they see these linked with their work.
  • Ask if they have concerns about potential changes in organizational direction.
  • Use the information gained to prepare for change.

Prepare for Leadership Change

Life is all about change. You can lead staff with expecting change as a workplace constant. Consider these preparation tips and examples:

  • Change is a series of incremental steps. Focus more on the steps and less on the end.
  • Dialogue about the benefits of preparation.
  • Remind your staff that when a team is prepared for change it can nimbly adjust to surprises.
    • Think of sports teams and stage performers—the second string and stand-ins are ready and waiting.
    • Cross training your team’s skill sets sure helps when there’s a tight deadline.

Be the Calm Guide During Change

Regardless of the time you’ve had to prepare everyone, the leadership change is imminent. Guiding them through the coming weeks and months is your priority. Here’s how:

  • Maintain unity by having workplace requirements apply to everyone.
  • Give employees time and space to voice concerns.
  • Keep the lines of communication open
  • Boost employee engagement in new opportunities by:
    • Investing in them through training and expanded roles.
    • Expressing gratitude for their presence and performance.

Don’t attempt to rush your employees through leadership change. Instead, lead them through it. This will keep your employees from becoming stuck in a world of anxiety, and help them move forward with energy and productivity.


Check out these Teamwork Quotes that can you help your organization thru leadership changes.




Turnover: Just Another Word for Quitting

For years your business barely knew the meaning of turnover. New employees came onboard and stayed. But, now your organization’s turnover rate has increased, along with the financial outlay for recruitment and hiring. You’ve decided to learn more about this trend, and why employees you thought were satisfied are suddenly quitting.

The Costs When Employees Quit

Employee turnover costs American businesses billions of dollars per year. This money reflects hiring expenses and so much more:

  • Customer dissatisfaction if employee morale, engagement, and performance lag.
  • The potential for increases in absenteeism and workplace incidents when employees fill in for empty positions.
  • The possibility that turnover will continue, further disrupting workflow and your bottom line.

Why are They Quitting?

According to Gallup’s Chief Scientist for Workplace Management, James K. Harter, PHD., seventy-five percent of the reasons for employee turnover came down to issues that employers can influence.   Career advancement tops the list (32%), followed by pay/benefits (22%), lack of job fit (20.2%), work environment (17%), flexibility (8%), and job security (2%).  As you can see the majority of the issues are things that employers can adjust.

Steps for Building Trust and Retention

The relationship between employee engagement and manager characteristics was presented in a 2015 Gallup report. It summarizes thousands of opinions from businesses about workplace influences that positively affect employee satisfaction and staying power. These include:

  • Focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses.
  • Providing staff with learning opportunities and guidance that paves their future direction.
  • Build relationships and workplace networks. Be here now—they will notice.

A sure-fire way to retain your employees is to stay in touch with how they are feeling about their work experience.   Is their work meaningful to them? Are they receiving constructive communication, feedback, and recognition from you?   If you follow these guidelines your chances of keeping your staff from jumping ship will greatly improve.