Deciphering Finance | Growth Strategies for Finance Executives

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In our final event of 2016, the Software and Services division gathered in San Francisco for a one day event focused on Finance. Previous Finance events were held in Nashville and Denver earlier this year and also included CPE credits for attendees. The finance community sent its leading executives to connect and engage in conversation around topics unique to the finance department.  

The sessions revolved around how best to navigate enormous uncertainty while eliminating or reducing tax exposure, the CFO’s vital role in M&A, the upcoming new revenue recognition standards, R&D tax credits, key financial and operational metrics and benchmarks and factors driving valuations today. Below are some key comments and discussion points from the event:

State & Local Tax

·        States are getting increasingly aggressive about going after tax payers

·        If you visited a customer in a state, you have Nexus in that state

·        Telecommuting will create nexus in a state


Preparing for Financing

·        Pace and intensity of deals over the past 6 months has changed significantly

o   Today strategic buyers are out being very aggressive

o   PE sponsors are also flushed with cash, trying to avoid the process and just get deals done

·        Advisors are being brought into the process way earlier today, before the transaction is even on the table

o   By being proactive the CFO, and the company, is more prepared and the questions from the buyer are directed to the diligence provider

·        Due diligence will always look at what your customers are doing and if the data on your customers is correct

·        What to avoid during the process

o   Don’t ignoring tax

o   Don’t fail to prepare

o   Organize your information in a way that is seamless



·        Revenue is the single most important line item on your statement

·        Make sure you know which rev rec model fits your business under the new rules

·        Standardize your contracts as much as you can

·        Look into systems that can help you automate this process.


Finance as a Strategic Partner

·        Most finance departments are using systems but A LOT are still using excel in some way

·        Show the other departments you are on their side by letting them know you will support them if it is the right thing for the organization

·        The CFO usually has to be the adult in the room

·        A lot of startups do not make it because they spin out of control financially

·        Global expansion – go in with eyes wide open because there will be road blocks


R&D Tax Credit

·        Only 1 out of 20 companies claim the credit

·        In 2017 it will be more accessible to startups

·        Only applies to R&D done in the US



·        Narrow down your reporting metrics by having each department choose just one

·        Watching the usage component is key

·        Segment and measure separately

·        How do you use systems to show the big picture

o   The basic recipe by attendees was a subscription management platform, ERP, and CRM

·        Think about having a business systems team who can provide an impartial perspective



·        Speed is killing companies

·        Do not underestimate the shift to the cloud

o   Enterprises are saying they only want to look at cloud solutions

o   The investment community still does not fully understand the cloud movement

o   Traditional companies are struggling against the cloud companies

·        IaaS world is still booming

·        SaaS has outperformed but has been volatile

·        Microsoft Oracle and SAP represent over 59% of all software revenues and are over 75% of all software EBITDA

·        There is a long way and a huge opportunity for SaaS companies to generate revenue

·        When it comes to valuations people care about growth, growth, and growth

To view the presentations from all finance events this year, please visit our website here.

A Special Thank you to our host sponsors Grant Thornton, Intacct and NetSuite and supporting sponsors Flexera Software and OPEXEngine.  


SIIA’s Finance series will continue in 2017, stay tuned for locations and dates.

View the event photos below 

Deciphering Finance SF

Rhianna Rhianna Collier is VP for the Software Division at SIIA. Follow the Software team on Twitter at @SIIASoftware.