716: Building Your Operational Model | Chad Gold, CFO, SalesLoft

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Back in 2008, Chad Gold was working for Home Depot as an FP&A professional when the economic downturn upended the home building market and summoned him to the retailer’s forecasting front lines.

“Finance had to be ahead of the business as far as thinking through all the different scenarios went because the housing markets were changing literally day to day,” comments Gold, who observes that the crisis revealed to him how the finance team must always be out in front “looking around corners.”

After several years with the giant retailer and multiple promotions, Gold says, he began to grow frustrated as the flow of promotions slowed down despite his willingness to take on big projects in different functions.

Then, one day, an issue involving one of his projects “blew up.”

“My boss sat me down late at night and on a whiteboard drew some stair steps with a line that went from the bottom to the top of the 10 steps. You’re so focused on wanting to step from the bottom to the top that you’re missing out on all of these incremental learnings,” Gold recalls him saying.

Gold says that he took the message to heart and uncovered new opportunities to satisfy his FP&A appetite inside Home Depot’s growing merger-and-acquisition activities.

“No one was offering to go work in M&A, and I said that I’d be happy to go do it,” remarks Gold, who estimates that he applied his FP&A acumen over time to 20 different acquisitions, including some postmerger integration work in China.

Says Gold: “I said, ‘Well, I’ve never been to China before, so why not?’”

Today, as CFO of SalesLoft, Gold says that his Home Depot experiences revealed to him how FP&A functions are built over time and ultimately yield different tools for the organization to leverage to allow Finance to become a more valuable partner.

He explains: “There are certain foundational things in FP&A that you simply have to have in order to partner—the business partnership and collaboration are just the last part.” –Jack Sweeney

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