Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

Diversity in a company, including its executive ranks, benefits its financial results. That was one of the major messages of four female leaders speaking during a “Women in Finance” panel at the recent Sage Intacct conference.

“Diversity helps to get optimum outcomes,” said Laura Wiler, VP of finance for Sage Intacct.  She also noted the important of "a culture of openneess and transparency and being able to speak your mind". 

Wiler and three other CFOs participated in the session. Besides Wiler, these were Shari Freeman of Room to Reed, Lisa Schulz of Jobvite and Tayna Yakhnis of the Tandem Family or Companies.

Other pieces of advice were speaking up, trusting staff members and delegating responsibilities and learning as much as possible about the way the organization functions.

In terms of learning that means “getting up and walking away from your cube,” said Yakhnis. That includes learning about the business and “what makes it work and what breaks it.”

A message from the conferences main stage earlier was that. CFOs are increasingly promoted to the position of CEO—with Stephen Hare, who stepped into Sage’s top job after leading finance, mentioned as a prominent example of that trend. Another example close of home is Sage Intacct’s CFO Marc Linden taking over running that business as an EVP within the last month.

Yahknis noted how active CFOs must be in relating to CEOs. “If you are CFO, you are going to have to manage your CEO,” she said.  

While the panel emphasized the need for diversity, Freedman has ended up in an all-female executive team at Room to Read. “We have a different way of operating. We have zero political gamesmanship and a lot more support,” Freedman said. The result has been the business’ having accelerated growth.

Freeman also emphasized the need to trust others and task risks on people without the organization. She said leaders need to “hand things off and let them try.”  And with key staff spread across geographies that also means “very heavy lifting and communications strategies”.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Tuesday, 29 October 2019
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