Howard is the CEO and founder of Glean.
Holiday gift ideas for a CFO on your list.
Hey there! I'm Howard – the CEO of Glean (previously CFO of Better.com and OnDeck). The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for companies. You may find that you and your company's CFO are spending time together in a social setting -- perhaps at a holiday party or charity event. You might have some fun moments but don't be surprised if your CFO is preoccupied with thoughts about next quarter. If you're looking for holiday gifts to give your CFO, consider these ideas:
Casio FX 115 Calculator (for quick calculations)
My favorite tool as a CFO was my handy-dandy scientific calculator. I kept it on me at all times and would always be first in a room to calculate revenue forecasts, margin improvements, and conversion rates. Additionally, being seen with a calculator has an “optics” benefit for CFOs - it portrays them as analytical and always thinking about business impact. In this way, it helps build credibility as a trusted advisor. I recommend the Casio fx-115ES PLUS. This calculator has large buttons and easy-to-read keys and makes calculations (especially for back-of-the-envelope estimates) a snap.
Microsoft 365 (for financial modeling)
Spreadsheets were good enough to take giants like Boeing and Lockheed Martin to space. In the finance function, spreadsheets are the most widely and almost exclusively used tool for making decisions. To this day, most finance teams still favor Excel over Google Sheets. In fact, if you receive a model from your Finance team via Google Sheets, it likely originated in Excel! Accordingly, give your CFO a subscription to Microsoft 365 that includes their favorite modeling tool “Excel” this holiday season.
AlphaSense (for access to analyst research)
Your CFO needs to understand how their company, peers, and competitors are being evaluated in the industry. How are these companies growing? What are the metrics that matter? What are their balance sheet ratios? The best way to get this understanding is to read Wall Street research reports. These analyst reports offer detailed and objective analysis and provide useful perspectives to stay intellectually honest about your company’s performance. Give your CFO a subscription to Alphasense so that they can access premium Wall Street research at the click of a button.
Wall Street Journal (for being informed)
With the Wall Street Journal, your company's CFO will be informed on the latest financial news, macro-economic issues that might affect business, and insights from corporate leaders. This newspaper will equip them with important information to help make smarter decisions. Include the online subscription to stay green, making the WSJ one of the most important tools for the CFO of your company.
Glean (for managing vendor spend)
This is the tool I wished existed when I was a CFO. I did not have any software that provided visibility into my company’s vendor spend. There were no management dashboards. The best report I could generate just led to more questions like “why did this bill increase this month?” We created Glean to fix this. Glean is an intelligent accounts payable app that automatically identifies important spend trends, anomalous charges, and billing errors. It provides real-time insights based on detailed line-item data from invoices and empowers Finance teams to make faster and more informed spend decisions.
[Bonus tip for when applicable] Neck Tie (for looking good)
Today, CFOs must often dress up for meetings with investors, clients, and partners. Help them make a strong impression with a quality silk neck tie!