My guest today is Jennie Scheel, CFO of Five Nines Technology Group and a previous attendee of my Financial Storytelling seminar.
After the seminar, she sent me an email with a nice compliment about the class and asked if I knew of any great summaries that I could share with her for taking accounting data and turning it into a powerful story… but at that time, and even still, I didn’t know of any.
Instead, I helped Jennie develop her story for the organization in exchange for using this exercise as a case study for my upcoming book, Taking the Number Out of Numbers: Explaining and Presenting Financial Information with Confidence and Clarity.
The big problem with presenting accounting information to non-accountants is the language barrier – not everybody speaks the foreign language of Accounting.
But on top of that, most of Jennie’s co-workers speak a different foreign language: engineering. So she has to learn a second foreign language and translate that into accounting, then translate all of the relevant information into plain English for executives and clients.
So the big question: How do I communicate complex financial information to those who do not speak Accounting?
The information is often complex – accounting is difficult! – so our goal should be to make it as simple as possible. Your audience probably doesn’t need to know anything about accrual, debits, or credits. They just need to understand enough about the organization to make the best possible decisions for their business.
As John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, says: numbers are boring.
Luckily, there’s always a story behind the numbers! And the more you can evoke emotion with that story, the more you can keep people awake and attentive, the more impact your presentation will have.
After my class, Jennie was able to take a presentation about the balance sheet for her organization and tell a story using a dollar bill to help them understand what the costs were and how the organization became profitable.
It might seem like an extremely simplified way to present a balance sheet – and to a degree, it is – but it was a huge success.
Jennie received a compliment from one of the employees in the room after that presentation: “She said usually when you used to get up in the meetings, you would smile and act like you were happy about the numbers. So I thought they must be great. I had no idea what you were saying, but then you were smiling so I thought great… But she said this time, when you put the dollar up there, I actually understood what you were talking about – I could understand the business.”
You see, when you take the NUMB out of numbers, it leaves you with ERS: effective, relatable stories, which leads to confidence and clarity.
So I challenge you to look at your financial presentation and ask yourself: Is it time for a change? If so, give me a call or send me an email: petermargaritis.com/contact.
And I’ll leave you with just one more thing, a video that Jennie used to frame a discussion about budgeting:
Peter: [00:00:00] Welcome to Episode 6 and my guest today is Jennie Scheel, CFO of Five Nines technology group located in Omaha, Nebraska. I met Jennie last year when she attended my seminar titled Financial Storytelling. After the seminar, she sent me an email with a nice compliment about the class and was inquiring if I knew of any great summaries that I could share with her that take accounting data and turn it into a powerful story. At that time, I’d not run across any but I did suggest I’d be willing to help her in developing her story for the organization, in exchange for using this exercise as a case study for my book “Taking the Number Out of Numbers: Explaining and Presenting Financial Information with Confidence and Clarity.” Well this is the basis for our conversation. And without further ado, let’s get to the interview with Jennie Scheel.
Peter: [00:00:49] It is so great to have you on my podcast. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for quite some time. Thank you so very much for carving out some time in your very busy hectic schedule.
Jennie: [00:01:02] You’re welcome thank you for asking me to join you.
Peter: [00:01:05] We met last year at Nebraska Society CPA event, and in full transparency, in my upcoming book Taking the Number out of Numbers, Jeannie allowed me to do a case study on her organization and the role that she plays as CFO within this organization, and we’ll have that kind of little bit of that discussion right now. But before we get into that, if you could give the audience a little bit of background of yourself in your role at Five Nines.
Jennie: [00:01:35] So I am the CFO of Five Nines technology group. We are an outsource I.T. company. So we are the I.T. department for many small and mid-sized companies, and we mainly focus on business in Nebraska. And I have the privilege of overseeing the accounting here and also I am currently in charge of marketing and a few other areas, which is a really great well-rounded experience.
Peter: [00:02:00] So you wear many hats within your organization.
Jennie: [00:02:03] Yes, many hats. Every day is a new adventure.
Peter: [00:02:07] And I hear that all the time when I when I interact with CFOs it’s like are you just in charge of finance or accounting? Well that’s just what are that I wear. I’ve got H.R. or I’ve got I.T. reporting up to me as well. So you stay very very busy.
Jennie: [00:02:22] Very busy. Yes.
Peter: [00:02:24] So at your organization. It’s a technology company. You don’t do like the big shiny objects I think you described it at one point in time, where you would go into a part of a construction process of like building an arena and going to build that I.T. infrastructure. You’re more on the other side the server side working with small organizations, providing them their IT support.
Jennie: [00:02:45] Correct. Yes we used to do both. And now we found that our best skill set is being the I.T. departments, so doing their day to day I.T. work, all of their projects and everything related to, we are there I.T. departments.
Peter: [00:02:58] And I imagine that’s a lot easier on your workforce per se because of — I’m assuming when you do these like large projects and you said that you tried to focus primarily in Nebraska, there might not be that many and I would assume like planning and cashflow and aspects like that were a real challenge for you versus the way things run today.
Jennie: [00:03:19] Right. It’s better for training of the staff so that they always have similar type of environments and understanding what our hiring process should be. We’re way better able to understand what the workflow will be coming in from the new clients that we win versus the off the wall project. Also our our partnership is the big thing that we focus on to ensure that we partner with companies, so if we’re working with a bigger company just to come in and do a project, that’s not a true partnership. So we come in, they beat us up, and then we leave, and that’s night and weekend work, you know which isn’t in line with our mission which is to give everyone a nice work life balance.
Peter: [00:03:55] Yes. And having that project by project type of work is a little bit kind of what I do because there’s times that you know there’s something about accountants in the months of January, February, March, and April that they really don’t want to learn because they’ve got stuff going on, and planning that cashflow and trying to manage that can be somewhat of a challenge, as well as affects the morale of the office.
Jennie: [00:04:22] Right exactly. We have three parts to our mission: one of them is to love what we do and the best at it, and it was hard to be the best at that particular style of work and to truly love it.
Peter: [00:04:34] And you’ve been with the organization for how long?
Jennie: [00:04:36] Five years.
Peter: [00:04:38] What did you do before that?
Jennie: [00:04:40] I was in charge of accounting department at a larger company in Lincoln, and then I worked at an accounting department for a global company, and I started my career in public accounting.
Peter: [00:04:51] So who did you work for in public?
Jennie: [00:04:54] BKD.
Peter: [00:04:54] Oh BKD. Okay okay cool.
Jennie: [00:04:57] Yeah.
Peter: [00:04:58] And so I always like to ask this question for those who started their career in public accounting and have now moved to business and industry: Would you ever go back to public accounting?
Jennie: [00:05:09] I don’t think so. Haha.
Peter: [00:05:11] I get that a lot. Every now and then someone will say, no, I’d go back. I kind of miss the diversity. But–
Jennie: [00:05:20] There are lots of great things about working in public accounting. The diversity is one of them, where it’s great where you can go in and help many different types and style and size of businesses succeed, versus just focusing on one. But also the demands and the travel of that career are also very challenging.
Peter: [00:05:37] Yes it is very much so. And you have a family and two small children and I know you like to vacation and all that stuff, and that’s a challenge when you’re working in public accounting versus an organization like yours.
Jennie: [00:05:50] Very true.
Peter: [00:05:50] Your workforce. When I think of I.T., I don’t think– you’re the only accountant CPA in the building. Correct?
Jennie: [00:05:58] I’m the only CPA in the building correct. I have an accounting team so I have more accountants, but they’re not CPAs.
Peter: [00:06:05] So your primary workforce– I think you told me at one point that they are engineers. Is that correct?
Jennie: [00:06:11] Correct. Yes.
Peter: [00:06:12] Do you speak engineering?
Jennie: [00:06:15] Reboot your computer is the extent of my engineering skill. So I can tell them that I successfully rebooted my computer and the problem still occurs. So I have to escalate it.
Peter: [00:06:29] So you know to reboot and escalate, reboot and escalate.
Jennie: [00:06:32] Right. Yeah that’s exactly my skillset.
Peter: [00:06:35] And the and the rest of the organization doesn’t speak accounting?
Jennie: [00:06:39] They do not.
Peter: [00:06:40] And I would assume that that is a challenge in your day to day life working there — it is how do I communicate the complexities and the financial information of this organization to those who do not speak the same language?
Jennie: [00:06:59] Correct. That is a significant struggle.
Peter: [00:07:02] And in the past, what type of audience response have you gotten when you’ve had to present this information or share this information to the other departments and department heads, and even to the owners?
Jennie: [00:07:14] Well I don’t love– I used to definitely not love being in front of the room presenting. So my strategy was to get up there, put all my beautiful spreadsheets up there with lots of numbers, talk as fast as I could, smile, then sit down and hope there was no question. I would occasionally even in meetings sit down and say just look at the numbers. Those are the important thing. It was you know it’s hard to communicate because if you stood in the front of the room, you could see there were the disconnect between what I was trying to communicate and what they would like to hear and try to be able to understand. But we talk in completely different languages so I was unsure how to solve that problem.
Peter: [00:07:56] Yeah that is a tough problem. I had a gentleman in one of my courses in the Philadelphia area, he worked for an engineering company and he said It dawned on him one day that he has to learn the foreign language of engineering and be able to translate that into accounting and be able to translate both of those into plain English to talk to the CEO to explain what is going on within the organization.
Jennie: [00:08:21] Yeah it is very tricky to work on all of those languages.
Peter: [00:08:25] And it’s funny that you know we tend to– because we all speak you know within our organizations, we all speak English. And when we’re speaking engineering, accounting – they are very much foreign languages to those who have no idea what we’re talking about.
Jennie: [00:08:40] Right.
Peter: [00:08:40] And the other thing that goes there is when you’re trying to explain something, maybe even to your staff, you’ve got the ten plus years, you’ve got a lot of experience, and that staff doesn’t have that same depth of knowledge. But you’re cursed – because you’re cursed with that knowledge and it’s because you’ve got that knowledge– You don’t remember– you can’t unlearn what you’ve learned, even though how much you try to unlearn you can’t unlearn. I’ve tried to get some of this accounting stuff, technical stuff, out of my head, but it won’t go away – it just stays in there and hangs out. But we forgot what it was like when we first started to learn this language, and the ability the ability to recognize that and be able to put things in context that those who might have part of our knowledge but be able to explain it to them so they understand and bring that conversation out of the technical side and into something with a little bit more context and analogies. However I can see that that light goes on.
Jennie: [00:09:45] Exactly.
Peter: [00:09:45] So when we met, you were an attendee in my financial storytelling class and you probably gave me one of the best testimonials or thank yous in an e-mail that I think I received the next day. Do you remember what you said?
Jennie: [00:10:06] Yes. I mean I remember generically that I thanked you for the training because to be honest lots of the CPEs that I attend…. you know you’re in the CPE and you learn things here and there, but you’re also working because there are many things maybe that they cover that you’re already an expert in. Or you know things don’t necessarily pertain exactly to the industry you’re in or your job at the time or things are of higher importance to the office, so I am you know glued into the training a little bit and really into into the work. Because it’s hard when you’re gone. No one is back in the office doing your job. So to ensure that you don’t get too far behind, you’re multitasking. And during this training was the first time that I think a few people on my team wondered are you actually paying attention? Because you’re not replying to my emails. You know this was– presenting to the staff and significant area for improvement that I had for myself. So when I saw this as an option, I was excited and hoping that the presenter would be excellent and be able to help me on something that I had set for a goal for myself to become better at.
Peter: [00:11:17] And I had that email and I have shared with other folks. I appreciate that. That was a great. That made my day my week my year. But then we get into the dialogue because you asked me if there’s any templates or anything like that out there that I could send to you or whatever. At the time there really wasn’t that many templates and I still believe that the really are because each situation is so different. And that’s why that’s why I posed to you: How about if I help you accomplish what you’re trying to do, with your staff and whatever, and in lieu of payment, I will include this story in my book, to which we agreed upon.
Jennie: [00:12:01] Mhm. That was a great trade.
Peter: [00:12:03] It really was a great trade because it was a lot of fun – because I remember as we started talking, you sent me a variety of spreadsheets and files.
Jennie: [00:12:12] Weren’t they beautiful?
Peter: [00:12:14] They were – actually they were beautiful. But when I opened them, it was like an avalanche just falling on my computer, and all of these numbers and graphs and things. But it did it did make me start thinking – OK so we’ve got this voluminous amount information, and I begin digging in and looking for maybe some… Why does this increase versus that? One, to try to understand the business. And then we started talking and you said my biggest challenges is, as you’ve already described, is I get up in front of them, I just plow through it. My spreadsheet is up there. There’s a lot of numbers. And I sit down and I don’t think anybody– I don’t think I’m connecting with anybody in that audience because they don’t speak this language.
Jennie: [00:13:06] Correct.
Peter: [00:13:06] So working together, the first time that we went through a bunch of different processes and conversations and getting to the understanding because there’s always stories behind the numbers, as well as the more that you can evoke emotion into that story about the numbers about whether, that helps people stay awake. That impacts them. Just just the numbers and the data… As John Medina, who wrote the book Brain Rules states, you know data’s boring. Numbers are boring. There’s nothing exciting about it versus telling that story behind those numbers. And whether you did this or your marketing people did this, when you sent me the slides that you used for the first time that you did this presentation, they were they were wonderfully done. They did a great job. And I believe I included a couple of them in the book. But the one thing that you did, which which I talk about in the book and in the class, is when– you know most people within an organization, especially managers, they kind of get the income statement but they have no idea about the balance sheet.
Jennie: [00:14:27] Right.
Peter: [00:14:28] But we tend to go over the balance sheet so I always say you know if we can avoid that but focus on the income statement and have them understand how we become profitable, and where our costs go and stuff. And you used a similar example that I had: taking a dollar bill and breaking it down.
Jennie: [00:14:49] That was a huge success. People still talk about it and are excited even for the next meeting to see my dollar break down. The best compliment I got was from one of the training employees, so she trained all of our staff, and she said usually when you used to get up in the meeting you would smile and act like you were happy about the numbers. So I thought they must be great. I had no idea what you were saying. But then you were smiling so I thought great. What you’re saying must be good. But she said this time, when you put the dollar up there, I actually understood what you were talking about – I could understand the business, that break down like you taught us in the class of a dollar or something, everyone can wrap their brain around and understand. So we have a Slack channel that people can give other employees high fives and one of the employees you know gave me a hi five right away saying that it was an excellent financial presentation, and many other people commented on it so that they were actually able to understand and know what I was talking about instead of my spreadsheet. That has huge numbers. You know lots of commas. All these big numbers slapped on a spreadsheet that no one can understand what I’m saying, let alone it’s not a good visual to see a spreadsheet up on a screen.
Peter: [00:16:09] No that just evokes sleep when he see a spreadsheet on the screen. That’s like an anesthesiologist.
Jennie: [00:16:17] Right. Right. Yeah it sure is.
Peter: [00:16:19] I haven’t asked you, but you– I mean you can read body language and I just wonder what was going through your mind when you put that dollar bill up and you could see the audience going what, this is different– and as you’re talking, they’re getting it. You had to be giddy inside.
Jennie: [00:16:37] Yes I was– For the first time in five years, I was excited to be doing a financial presentation. Because usually I get up there and pray for it to end as quickly as possible, but this time I was really you know I was really excited to have such an engaged audience.
Peter: [00:16:57] In the class, we talked about less is more. We, as CPAs, love to give all this information. But really if we can just give the most important things and don’t put so many words on there on the slide and have some picture with it. You also are doing stuff with I think you had like a word bubble that you did. And you also had a real cute video and it was about explaining budgeting, I believe.
Jennie: [00:17:21] Oh right. It’s that adorable girl. Mila, I think her name is. Her mom had her do all sorts of fun videos and there’s one that she does that says Watch the budget. And it’s very funny so it took a couple clips from there because it’s cute to see in the eyes of a child, as most people can relate to what is a budget? And I go there and talk about all of those numbers.
Peter: [00:17:44] And actually I’ll put the link to that video into the show knows if anybody wants to see that because I thought that was brilliant. It is cute. It’s very funny. But it gets the point across. And the thing with the word bubble– what what was that? What were trying to convey there?
Jennie: [00:18:00] I think that that was when we were talking about the change between the years and so we tried to emphasize the negative feelings that people were feeling when we had the big project. So all this stress, night and weekend hours, just the demanding clients coming to beat us up, and then how we were able to change it positive and focus on our target clients and how we could– we’re training the staff so that they know what to expect and can be successful for us. To have great hiring, to have overall good financial success because you’re able to forecast.
Peter: [00:18:35] And obviously this– that aspect has had a huge piece in the overall morale within the organization. Even though when you guys began to transition into more of the Shared Services type of work, there were some folks who’d who liked the big shiny projects and they believe in the organization. Correct?
Jennie: [00:18:53] Right. I think that happens when any company makes a change. Whatever you’re passionate about, if you’re passionate about, the clients that we serve and want to do the managed services, then this is a great thing. And we have a lots of longtime employees here and new people excited to join the company. And then some people, their skillset, it’s better for them to work on bigger companies or different type projects that excite them and they were able to find opportunities to fulfill that as well.
Peter: [00:19:19] That’s great, and everybody in the end ended up happy and and the company is moving forward. And are you having to take your pink bat out and say no?
Jennie: [00:19:32] Haha. Uh huh. I mean there will always be great shiny products that come our way that it’s sometimes hard to say no to things that are outside of what we’re trying to focus on and do and drive. But I’ve used the bat less than I used to, I think.
Peter: [00:19:45] I thought about you the other day. I was looking through something out of Louisville Slugger and they said for Mother’s Day, give her a pink bat. Oh I know somebody who has one of those.
Jennie: [00:19:58] I do and it says on it: mess with cash, get the bash. So. Yeah it is. It is a great thing.
Peter: [00:20:08] [laughs] Oh that’s funny. We also talked about doing this as how do you better connect with the audience. Because that’s the key. You may have the best story out there, but if you can’t make that connection with them, it’s still going to fall on deaf ears and–
Jennie: [00:20:26] Right.
Peter: [00:20:27] Prior to us having a conversation, when you would come and present and the others would come and present this financial information or the state of the business to the rest of the organization, can you talk about what people are wearing dress wise in the audience and what you guys were wearing?
Jennie: [00:20:44] Sure. So our employees obviously are all over the place. Installing hardware software different things where they could be you know crawling up or on the ground or different things, so they are a lot of times wearing jeans or khaki clothes that you know make sense for a lot of the work they do. Jeans and a polo is a typical attire for an engineer. And then when we would come in to present for a meeting, you would think OK we should dress up so we look nice, we look respectable, and so I would usually wear a nice dress or suit and the president would also be in a nice suit. So we thought we could dress up for the meeting and also see behind the podium. And one of the things that hit me during that presentation was that you should – And I think you mentioned you had experience in this as well – dress to be in line with what your staff is wearing. So now I’m always wearing you know Five Nine gear with jeans and so is the president, to ensure that we’re better able to connect with them. We try to get out and move around. You know sitting behind the podium, especially for my nerves presenting, was always my safe place. But like you said, get out, walk around, have it feel like you’re not hiding anything and that you’re truly connecting with the audience – and I think that that’s been really well received.
Peter: [00:22:06] Yeah it’s true. I’ve come to realize it’s very important and we always want to be professionally dressed. But sometimes we need to dress like everybody else so there’s not this oh there they are up on this pedestal and just we’re just the worker bee, us and them. And in my instance, I was presenting to a group and I walked in. There was somebody before me and he was in a suit from the from the international headquarters. And I looked around and everybody else were like jeans, shirts, polos. Nobody was really dressed up. And I had on almost like a suit, but didn’t have a tie. And I told myself walk out, go put on what you flew up here with, which was jeans and shoes and– but I didn’t do it. And I could immediately tell when I went up to do my presentation, they were looking at me like oh my god we’ve got another suit coming up.
Jennie: [00:23:00] Hahah. Yup.
Peter: [00:23:01] And body language just told me that I wasn’t connecting, nobody said anything to me afterwards, and I had to present the next day and I changed my attire and even wore a sport coat up on stage but I took it off and rolled up my sleeves. I had about 10, 15 people come up to me afterwards you know talking to me about the presentation. And three weeks later I got a call from that international group and they booked me for speaking engagements.
Jennie: [00:23:29] Mhm. Amazing.
Peter: [00:23:31] So what we wear does have an effect on making that connection with that audience. And I try to remember that but I think because I present so much to the accounting profession that I’m usually in a sport coat you know I call them dress jeans and not blue jeans but dress jeans and shoes and stuff that when I present to groups that are outside of the profession, I really do ask a lot of questions to the meeting planner to figure out what’s my appropriate attire to come in with.
Jennie: [00:24:04] Right. Mhm.
Peter: [00:24:05] So you have seen success and then you had another another quarterly meeting and you use some different slides and you had a you had like two beakers pouring into some containers that you were talking about revenue and costs and how it was broken down, and it seems to be it’s working.
Jennie: [00:24:26] It is working. Yes. The pictures are doing an excellent job of telling the story, instead of my spreadsheet. So obviously I love all of my spreadsheet and all of the data, but those are not what will relate and people will not be able to understand. So what I have learned through training and by actually utilizing it is that the pictures really resonate with people. So people were having a really hard time understanding when I would say the revenue and the cost and then you know the net income — easy, but not when you don’t look at it. And even understand… So we have new employees always starting and so I have to remember don’t they COGS because they have no idea you’re trying to say Cost Of Goods Sold. You know that’s not an engineering term. So I have to remember and try to say OK so here’s our bucket of revenue, here is a bucket which you know is hopefully not nearly as full of expenses so that when you mix them together, that’s the number that makes up our net income and so they can kind of see how those flow together and in proportion to each other. So I tried to show the difference between the two so that they can really understand the numbers not just the thousands and hundreds and millions of dollars, but that they can actually see pictures and see how that works out. And that seemed to go really well. So I’m actually planning for meeting on May 22nd. We were talking about okay how are we going to break down this particular item to show them where we’re at on our quarterly goals and what what could we use. So we were joking today about using pizza or donuts or something that are always well appreciated by the by the engineers.
Peter: [00:26:10] Yeah that’s great. And I know this probably hasn’t asked to you. But somebody in one of my classes, when I was doing the dollar bill, somebody said that’s not correct. What do you mean? Well you know we’ve got those non-cash items that are in the expenses that really don’t affect the dollar bill. How do you address that? I don’t. That’s called advanced accounting for them.
Jennie: [00:26:38] Right
Peter: [00:26:38] I don’t I don’t want to confuse them anymore and get into the whole accrual basis of accounting or anything like that. And and yeah we might not be given the exact detail, but as long as I have an idea, a picture, without confusing them. That’s all they need to know. And you know maybe over time when they become a little bit more sophisticated in the knowledge that they’re gaining through that you might talk about that other stuff, but that’s probably way down the road and it may never come up. But you know that other aspect of being a CPA and accoutnant is is that precision and accuracy. You have to kind of let that go when you’re doing this to a group that don’t have that same background that we do. You’ve got to got to make it as simple and as easily understandable as possible.
Jennie: [00:27:30] Right. The second that I say the word accrual, I think that they automatically go straight back to their phones or lose you know any idea to what I was what I was trying to say.
Peter: [00:27:43] I’ve done some teaching accounting to non accountants, and what I try to do when I do that is not mention the word accrual. I stay away from debits and credits. I just try to keep it at a very 10,000 foot aspect and have them just kind of understand the flow of information, the flow of what we do, without getting so much into the detail because it’s hard.
Jennie: [00:28:09] It is hard.
Peter: [00:28:10] If accounting was easy, everybody’d doing it. And it’s a complex language. And the more that we can translate that and put it in context as you’re doing with the dollar bill example or how we’re mixing this or pizza or whatever that visual aspect of it, that’s going a long way for them just having an understanding – and that’s really all you want is for the whole organization to understand how you operate, how you drive revenue, and what things that we do that takes away from that revenue, and even to the extent of benefits that we provide the organization.
Jennie: [00:28:53] Mhm. Yes. That was a great eye opener to show them as a you know when you break down the dollar bill, the large percentage of salaries and then show the other big percentage is benefits, and how that even compares to our tools, because we obviously to be successful company have a lot of technical tools to provide to our clients and so it was really cool and a great eye opener for them to see you know six cents out of every dollar is spent on tools, and that’s the same amount that we spend on all of these excellent benefits that we provide to you. And I think that the really great way to break it down.
Peter: [00:29:25] Yes I remember you sharing that with me about the benefits and you had it benchmarked, and basically you guys are way above that benchmarking norm and what you give in benefits to your associates. And I think after you said tha,t I asked you can I apply for a job?
Jennie: [00:29:43] You did. Yes. Haha
Peter: [00:29:45] In this day and age, how much health insurance and all this other stuff that you guys cover. I hope they understand that we’ve got a great benefit here that we didn’t recognize for a while.
Jennie: [00:30:01] Right. Just when I go up there and would inform them we spend you know hundreds of thousands of dollars on insurance. OK. You know that’s hard to wrap your brain around, versus to show it as a break down compared to a dollar and say you know of this dollar this amount of money goes to your benefit and all of these tools that we need for our clients, and that was really a much better way for me to present it and for them to understand and really appreciate all the great things that Five Nines offers.
Peter: [00:30:30] From what I’ve what I’ve been able to ascertain from you as well as research, you’ve got a very cool company and it’s been very successful and it looks like that will maintain that success for quite a long time and grow as well.
Jennie: [00:30:44] Yes I think we have great growth potential and it is a very fun company with a great culture.
Peter: [00:30:50] Fun. You said– an accountant said fun, CPA said fun?
Jennie: [00:30:54] Oh man. Once every blue moon. Haha.
Peter: [00:30:57] Exactly. So as you as you’re moving forward, are you thinking about — hat you kind of alluded to this a little bit — What are we going to do next? Because we can’t keep showing that same dollar bill. We’ve got to break it up and show it in different ways. Have you begun to think about maybe some other ways of presenting this information, whether it be visually, whether it be through creating a video or some other type of vehicle?
Jennie: [00:31:28] Yeah, I’m always trying to analyze what pieces of information they’re looking for and then how we would break it down so that they can understand it. So I’m always just kind of listening to them trying to interpret their questions as to what the true meaning of this question. What details do I need to present to them so that they can understand the company or their role or that financial why, and be successful with the decisions that they make? But it’s always hard to do left brain / right brain and put the numbers into something that I can communicate clearly. So the dollar bill has definitely set me up for success to figure out new ways to break down information so that people can interpret it and understand it and make decisions that are enginnering decisions, but they’re better able to have the dollars and cents to do that.
Peter: [00:32:18] Well that’s absolutely great and I wish you guys the best of luck. I wish you tons of of of of luck, and not so much luck of this opportunity to to help the company grow through the way of communicating the financial information to them as well as to the owners and stuff. Because you know you’ve got a lot of different audiences that you have to report to, as well as I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to take your company and yourself and take this information and have it be part of my book. I’m very grateful for that and I look forward to seeing you hopefully in September. But I did tell you that once the book comes out, I will be sending you guys copies, and if it happens be around the time that I’m out there, I’ll hand deliver them to your office.
Jennie: [00:33:09] That would be wonderful. I’ve talked to very highly of you and so I know that the owners who have also complimented my financial presentations will be very excited to meet the person who actually gave me the confidence and the background to be able to present to the staff.
Peter: [00:33:25] That’s great and I can’t wait till our paths cross again very soon.
Jennie: [00:33:30] Sounds great thank you so much.
Peter: [00:33:31] Thank you. I want to thank Jennie again for sharing her story on how she transformed her financial presentation into an event that was a huge success to the entire organization. You see, when you take the numb out of numbers, it leaves you with ERS: effective, relatable stories, which is the confidence and the clarity. In episode 7, my guest is Cara Silletto, who’s the author of “The Millennial Mindset: What’s Next in HR” and her most recent book, “Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave and How to Keep Them Longer.” This episode will be available on July 23rd. Thank you for listening. And begin the process of changing your mindset and getting out of your comfort zone and develop new skill sets to become more future ready. Your call to action is to look at your financial presentation and ask yourself: Is it time for a change? If so, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to help you. Remember, part of being future ready is becoming an improviser so go improvise your way to success. Thank you.
- Learn more about Jennie & Five Nines: gonines.com/project/jennie-scheel-cfo/