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Episode 7

The Evolution of the CFO: Navigating Disruption and Embracing Technology

Episode details

This week on the Expert Voices podcast, Randy Wootton, CEO of Maxio, speaks to Bebe Kim, a seasoned entrepreneur and CEO of Basis, to shed light on the changing landscape of the office of the CFO and the evolving role of finance professionals. They take an in-depth exploration into the intersection of finance, technology, and leadership, offering valuable insights for those in the SaaS industry. Bebe shares the three-stage evolution of the office of the CFO and how financial acumen is crucial in today's fast-paced, software-driven business environment. With an emphasis on data-driven decision-making, cross-functional collaboration, and continuous learning, Bebe provides a wealth of knowledge on becoming a strategic financial leader in the 21st century.


Randy Wootton
Randy Wootton
CEO, Maxio
Bebe Kim
Bebe Kim
CEO, Basis

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Video transcript

Randy Wootton (00:04):

Hello, everybody. I'm Randy Wootton, CEO of Maxio, and your host of SaaS Expert Voices, the podcast to bring SaaS experts to you, to help us understand where we are today and what's happening tomorrow. Today, I am delighted to welcome Bebe Kim, a three-time serial entrepreneur, founder, and CEO to help us talk about the disruption of the office of the CFO and the evolution of the role of the CFO. And those two are intertwined as Bebe will talk us through that. We'll spend a little bit of time talking about Bebe's journey as an entrepreneur, and the lessons she's learned, we'll talk about then the evolution, three-stage evolution of the office of the CFO, the skill sets that CFOs will need to become part of the strategic CFOs that are being called forth going forward. So welcome, Bebe. I'm delighted to have this conversation.

Bebe Kim (00:59):

Hi, thank you so much, Randy, for inviting me onto this podcast.

Randy Wootton (01:02):

So it's been so much fun to get to know you and to know your product over the last six to nine months. Can you give everyone a little bit of context with how you came up with your first idea for your first company, and then how that led to your second company, and then finally how you've ended up with Basis?

Bebe Kim (01:19):

Yeah, absolutely. So I am a lawyer from Chicago originally and you disrupt what you know. My parents were computer engineers, that's how we immigrated to this country. And so, I grew up with programming books all around me, but decided to do liberal arts instead, because I thought that was nerdy. Joke's on me, because when the internet exploded, that definitely became the more exciting area. And for me, probably the best developers will tell you that A, you disrupt what you know, right? At the time it was legal for me. And B, automation comes out of this laziness, for lack of a better word. And for me, I just get really bored spending time doing repetitive tasks. And so, that exists in every workflow, legal included. And so, for me it was about how do I not spend my time doing this rote task over and over again, and to focus more of my time on giving advice and connecting with clients, which are things that are much more enjoyable.

Randy Wootton (02:34):

That's great. As an ops guy, my entire life's figuring out how to optimize systems and processes. The things I talk about with folks is, the first step is learning how to operate. So you have to define the information flow and the handoffs between people. The second step is what you're describing, is the automation, and often that can be done with tools or systems, and the third step is elimination. So how do you actually eliminate the steps so things are fully automated? And I think one of the things in workflow automation is, we're working to take manual processes and automate, so you drive efficiency and the effectiveness, right? The double F.

Bebe Kim (03:10):

That's right, that's right.

Randy Wootton (03:13):

Across operations. And then, what we see is the next step is, well, if you're in a system of record, how do you take that data and move from workflow automation into intelligence engine?

Bebe Kim (03:25):

That's right.

Randy Wootton (03:25):

And so, I think it's a great starting point. And so, I'd love to, we had talked a little bit about some of the lessons you learned at each of your companies. So the first company was bootstrapped. Can you talk a little bit about that context? I think a lot of our audience is going to feel that same pain, and then we'll talk about what does it mean to go from bootstrap, to VC, to second time VC?

Bebe Kim (03:44):

Yeah, absolutely. So Randy, you call me CEO, I'm very flattered. I do think there's a difference between founder and CEO. And through my three companies, I've kind of danced on that spectrum and felt the difference. So my first company was, I was definitely just a founder, like bootstrapped, I just saw a problem, which is access to legal services. There was no platform to access legal services in a very transparent flat fee manner. So I created one, a marketplace of 2000 lawyers, legal services, and we ultimately merged into LegalZoom. And at the time, LegalZoom, which is now a public company run by ex-Intuit executives actually, so lots of crossover between legal and finance, I suddenly went from a first time founder from Chicago to a late-stage PE managed company, which was... It taught me a lot. It taught me to become an executive by moving from just operating to understanding the financials of my operations. And so, that evolution is what I think is the difference between a founder and ultimately a CEO, when you are operating with financial understanding.

Randy Wootton (05:07):

And then specifically with your first company, one of the things we talked about was being bootstrapped. You were also super cash conscious, but within that context, there's freedom. You can make your own decisions, you're not responsible to anybody else, but there are also some constraints. And can you talk a little bit about the lessons learned in an under-invested business?

Bebe Kim (05:25):

Yeah, absolutely. So the first company, because it's bootstrapped, it's under-invested, we can only invest what we earn. And so, profitability was key as a key lever to reinvest into the business. And we ultimately achieved the cost of acquisition that was unparalleled in the industry. I think we knew later that a competitor, it would cost them $2,500. We got it to $150, but we were capped, right? So I couldn't grow the business in that manner until once I reached $6 million. So at the time, I didn't know how to raise venture capital. I was not in San Francisco, and therefore exiting the company seemed like the best option at the time.


Then when I moved to San Francisco, my second company had the pleasure of working with some of the top founders from the Bay Area, including Justin, who started, later became Twitch. They were very much like this core YC group of founders. And I just got exposed to the journey of having capital from the outset, which is something I never experienced before. And that journey was interesting, because we almost had too much capital. It was the opposite problem. This is the age of SoftBank, WeWork. Everyone was like, "Hey, let's grow fast. Pour money into this." So with just a deck and some founders with great track records, we were able to raise $10 million right off the bat to start the business.

Randy Wootton (07:07):

And so yeah, welcome to the wild wild west of VCs, doling out dollars. They've raised all this capital and like, "Hey, that's a good idea. Here's more." And at crazy valuations, and I think we read a lot about this tension between how do you manage the expectation to what you think is the reasonable growth projection and the valuation associated with that. You got to grow into that. And if you're not hitting those metrics, then all of a sudden you get upside down, you're over capitalized, and you're trying to figure out, trying to get raised more money, you try that next milestone, you can't, because you haven't hit the T2D3, which was all the rage. Triple, triple, double, double, double even five years ago. So can you talk a little bit about your experience with, if you were able to share what the valuation was, and what that meant, and how that felt in terms of trying to run a business with those types of expectations?

Bebe Kim (08:02):

Yeah, absolutely. So again, coming from a bootstrap cashflow conscious founder, all of a sudden to what I call a full GLA founder, you have excess capital from day one and five people. And so, we raised $10.5 on 60 post right away, and we had to spend that money, right? And it's just like, how do we deploy this capital on a timetable that would show returns? So at the time, the concept of growth at all costs was just very jarring to me. I didn't understand. I'm like, at what cost though? What is that when you're going in the red, how in the red can I really go in order to meet investor expectations and growth expectations? And that is a journey that there's no real right answer, but for sure there's this concept of in SaaS a set of efficiency metrics, right? Like magic number, and those types of metrics and benchmarks that guide your business towards a set of benchmarks of how much should you spend to... Growth at what cost is more of the question than growth at all costs.

Randy Wootton (09:16):

Yeah, we talk about that as discipline growth and using advertisement for Maxio. This is what Maxio helps you understand.

Bebe Kim (09:22):

Growth efficiency. Exactly.

Randy Wootton (09:23):

Growth efficiency. So I'm a professional CEO, and I have more coming in companies that are more at that inflection point, series B, series C. And what I often find is that early stage companies end up, for example, investing in go-to-market because they have this cash, which means they hire a CRO, they hire a bunch of salespeople, they go out and invest a bunch of money in marketing, but they haven't nailed a replicable sales model yet. And so, it's wasted money and the customers churn out the backend.


And so, you have to nail a viable category, understand your position, and a lot of that is founder-led sales through I think even SEED and series A, and maybe even up to series B. And then, when you take that step into, and I think that's probably why a lot of people are interested in PLG versus sales-led motion, is you can light up a PLG interface, get customers at a lower CAC, hopefully without having made all that investment. But when I was coming up in the 2000s, the VCs were like, go. Market share. Go grab market share and spend a bunch of money. And you're like, whoa, we are way our skis in terms of what we're paying and what we're getting.

Bebe Kim (10:29):

And that company, we shut it down around series B, because of those learnings. And at the time, I think we take for granted that we are also in a meta learning category of venture backed. It's an exotic asset that, sure there's been decades of history, but relatively it's a newer asset class that is still evolving, still developing, and where entrepreneurs and VCs alike are learning about how much to spend to grab market share.

Randy Wootton (11:01):

Yeah, that's great. And the market conditions have changed.

Bebe Kim (11:04):

Correct, exactly.

Randy Wootton (11:05):

With free money versus now with the interest rates, radically different. All of a sudden we're paying attention to the interest below the EBITDA. It used to be you just focus on EBITDA, but now you got to hit your interest payment. I'm like, oh my gosh, that's a big nut every month. Like, holy smokes. It changes your whole profile in terms of the cash you need to generate to be able to support the business going forward. And the assumption if you're going to take more debt, how's that going to play out and everyone's constraint? It's just this really interesting. I mean, it was almost like a sea change.

Bebe Kim (11:33):

Very challenging environment. Yes, absolutely.

Randy Wootton (11:36):

So now you've done it twice. I say the same thing. I was a public company, CEO, I was VC backed, had all these lessons learned and scars, and I come into my third gig with Maxio and I'm still learning a bunch, but I'm like, oh no, I got a little bit more pattern matching here, but I'm in a PE context, which is different than where I've been before. And you come into your third company, VC-backed, but growth conscious. Tell me a little bit about the lesson learned now in this context that you have with Basis.

Bebe Kim (12:03):

Yeah, absolutely. So as I was mentioning, the first and second journeys were about not only capitalizing the company and thinking about how to grow efficiently, but also my personal journey between founder and executive, and the different mindsets that you have as each. And for me, every time I go through this journey, the executive side of me becomes more pronounced in that I want to pay attention to a capital allocation way earlier than before. And I think that's why I started Basis, is that operations is really important, but to fly blindly is not the way to ultimately understand your financial trajectory.

Randy Wootton (12:49):

Yeah, that's great. So I went to business school and coming out of the military knew nothing about business, and I feel like I probably learned more than anybody else at business school, because I knew less going in. And so, my learning path was huge. But it's interesting that a lot of those skills that I learned at business school, I don't think I really started to deploy until I was an executive. You don't think about capital structure, you don't think about EBITDA multiples, you don't think about return on capital investment. You may do some NPV analysis for business investments, but it's really different working across the three financial statements, and then working through your operating metrics and understanding cash. And it's a bummer, because you don't really... If you grow up in finance, which we'll shift to in a second, you probably have an understanding of that moving from accounting into controllership, into FP&A. But for all the other executives into a CEO, if you don't come from that, it's a new language. It's a new language.

Bebe Kim (13:45):

It's a new language of understanding financials. And that's the vision of Basis, is that how do we as operators translate our operations into a level of financial understanding that then helps us operate better.

Randy Wootton (13:59):

Yeah. And so, when we talked before, you described Basis' mission as being strengthened financial acumen with finance and non-finance alignment. So can you help us understand that?

Bebe Kim (14:12):

Yeah, and this actually goes back to our discussions about PLG and SaaS as well. So operators operate and we like to just act immediately. It's like, "Hey, let's launch a campaign. Let's do this, let's do that," right? But in order to make huge decisions, do I invest more into this channel, or do I pay this vendor, or do I renew this contract? All of these financial decisions are more effective when we understand the big picture and what the financial alignment of the company is with the investors. So there's huge pain points around that.


And that has to do with PLG as well, because initially in early b2b SaaS is designed with financial reporting in mind, with ERPs and those types of software. But now software has proliferated to benefit the operator first. So PLG, you can log into HubSpot and start just moving cards around. And then, I still am guilty of this. The first time we got our first customer, even in this company, I started a Stripe account and I'm like, "Hey, let's go. Let's charge somebody. We got our money. Great. Oh, let's add another SKU." And the result of that is that ultimately we don't really know how the data is organized to help us understand what we actually accomplished.

Randy Wootton (15:46):

Yeah. Well, that was a great tee up for Maxio, right? That is a system of record for billing and financial operations, it helps make sense of the madness. I think the other piece that you were pointing to, which we're going to shift now, I think is discussing how technology, data analytics and AI are reshaping the CFO's role. And when we chatted before, you summarized it, I thought, great. There was three stages, would you like to talk through the three stages of what does it mean to be a CFO and how finance has to evolve?

Bebe Kim (16:15):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So a stage one is again, a set of workflows and tools that are financially led, right? So Excel, we all worked in Excel, and it's a tool that finance people understand. ERPs, it's a tool that finance people design and understand. And now we're in this era of software-led or PLG led software workflows, which is designed for the operator in mind, and not necessarily with reporting and financials in mind.


And so, that creates a certain challenge for a new class of CFOs. It's stage two, which I call software managed services. It's like how do we in the office of the CFO understand what the operators are using as tools in their day-to-day tools? May it be a CRM, Clary, Gong, I mean, the list just grows, right? And then what information do we need from each of these software systems to start to create a system of record that is consistent, and makes sense, and that can report back to the organization? So I call that the software managed services era, where it's crucial now to start to understand what software people are using and how they're configured, what the workflows are in it, and how do you put that picture back together?

Randy Wootton (17:40):

Yeah, so when we were talking before, we described stage one as working in the spreadsheet, the no box phase. And my experience with that is when CFOs are building the budget, for example, they're doing it in Excel. And you often don't want to share the entire file with everybody, every operator. So the marketing person, the sales person and the R&D folks all have access to the same file. And so, you run through this crazy exercise of you're doing all these separate meetings and you're trying to cut out pages from the spreadsheet. You also have this issue where if people screw with your formula or mess up one of the connections between the different tabs, it blows the whole model up. I think what you're describing broadly is this evolution of the FP&A function within the broader CFO function. So if you take a system like Maxio, which is a system of record for billing and invoicing, that's the data. Then what we get a lot of requests for is, "Hey, how do we take the data out of Maxio and put it into a system like Basis?" And there's several ones out there that allow you to do this forecasting, this planning. And so, the CFO starts to work with the operators in a system. This, as you described it, once out of the box phase where you're doing this software managed service.


Two points to that. One is I think this fundamental point, which is part of the reason I came to Maxio was I saw the revolution, the disruption of sales and marketing functions for the last 20 years, where software had came in and to our earlier conversation, it was driving efficiency, effectiveness, it was letting people buy software and do really cool stuff, programmatic advertising like crazy. And what we find is the office of the CFO is kind of a laggard. Can you talk a little bit about that background and context, and why it may feel like, oh, this is no duh for a lot of people, but for the CFO in particular, why that function has been a laggard and what we're seeing changing it?

Bebe Kim (19:47):

Right, because the CFO is ultimately, right before forecasting even, they're in charge of the system of record. And that system of record is just, it's a synthesis of what actually happened, which now again, we talked about happens in all these fancy softwares, just different combinations, and people procuring them without asking their CFO, of course. And so, that creates... It's really hard to be a CFO, because it creates reporting debt and financials, aggregation, and consolidation debt when the software proliferates like that. And so again, my accountant, first accountant was like, "Can you please not log into Stripe? I do not want you to use Stripe anymore, because you're creating SKUs. I'm going to lock it down. You don't get access at all," right? And so, eventually they catch up. And what you need are just better sources, better systems of record. So Maxio is a prime example of one, we're switching from Stripe to Maxio as we speak. Because it keeps your SKUs... It's something that the operators don't appreciate, but it really keeps your SKUs in line and it gives you trusted systems of record analytics. So that's what the CFO does, is that they make sure that the systems of records is pristine, intact in spite of all the software proliferations that are happening.

Randy Wootton (21:13):

And just to build on that, when I think of CEO, I need my CFO to manage cash. They need to tell me how much cash we have in the bank today, how much we're going to burn, and what do we need. So that whole capital management that comes from having pristine financial statements, and all three of them work together. So the P&L with the balance sheet, the cashflow, how does that all play out to give me cash at the end of the day?

Bebe Kim (21:37):

That's right, that's right.

Randy Wootton (21:38):

And I think CFOs, to your point, they're like the guardians of the family jewels and they don't want anybody else to touch it. And they've grown up trusting Excel, where they understand the models and they're able to do it, and they don't let anybody else in it. And so, now all of a sudden you move into this new world where distributed access multiple users-

Bebe Kim (21:58):

That's right. Remote work, yeah, multiple users, decentralized procurement, it becomes extremely hard to put this record back together.

Randy Wootton (22:07):

And so, for that specifically, so for stage two, what you call software banded service or out of the box phase, can you describe some of the skill sets that you're seeing CFOs needing to embrace or think differently about how they do their jobs to be successful in stage two?

Bebe Kim (22:23):

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's really about thinking about workflows, right? It's like there's a lot of philosophical decisions to make on that. It's like, do you allow your operators to pick their own tools, do whatever they want in it? And if not, how do you influence their workflow? And to influence their workflow, you need to understand how those software works fundamentally. It's like, hey, does this meet the requirements of financial reporting? Does picking this POE make sense? Rippling says you can onboard and accomplish all of those tasks.


It's like, but what about financial reporting? Does that get me the results as well? So it's like a negotiation between the two. I liken it to, in my personal life, my husband is our family CFO, and we have these negotiations as well. He's a credit card points guy, and he's like, "Okay, here are two credit cards. Use this one for groceries, this one for pharmacy, because in pharmacy you get these points." And I'm like, okay, that's cool. I don't want to necessarily think about it that way. And I find myself in Safeway pharmacy, and I was like, is this a grocery store or is this a pharmacy?

Randy Wootton (23:41):

Did you call them up and say, "Help me figure out what I got to do."

Bebe Kim (23:47):

Exactly. It's like, do I use this credit card? And that's an example of you don't want the operator to be burdened when they're in their course of operating, to be bogged down with that. And that's why in a system like Basis or Maxio, hopefully we give operators the freedom to operate, but yet be able to structure the data in a way that is required to give the CEO all of the metrics that he needs in order to navigate the business.

Randy Wootton (24:16):

And so I think this distinction, you're drawing between data in a database versus spreadsheets. Can you talk a little bit about that? I think that is a skill that is different for CFOs, moving from the comfort of Excel to thinking about workflows and database. Can you provide some of your thinking around that for us?

Bebe Kim (24:35):

Yeah, that's right. So Excel is extremely powerful. It's linear, and each data is stored in a cell, whereas database is tables and they draw from other tables that are not necessarily seen in an Excel tab. So just losing that, being able to fundamentally be comfortable working with databases means that the data architecture in your mind and how data relates to one another starts to change. Some parts of it become less visible to you, so you have to sort of trust out of the box offering that the tool provides.

Randy Wootton (25:17):

So you got to be able to, one, understand how database is structured. So it's a different paradigm for thinking about data and how data is associated with tables. Number two is you got to be comfortable cleaning up the data in the database. So either know how to do it or have people on your team to do it. And number three is trusting the calculations, hacking behind the scenes, where you just can't see it in the cell as you click on it and double check. Okay, A times B divided by C, right?

Bebe Kim (25:41):

Where did this number come from? That sort of thing. Exactly, yeah.

Randy Wootton (25:44):

And having this certain level out of the box comfortability with no flexibility to manipulate. So there's this really interesting dynamic. So that gets us to stage three, the working with a black box. And this is working in AI, which we're all looking towards. It's going to revolutionize every function. Specifically, how do you think about... So period, new paragraph. We were talking about CFOs lagging. My marketing team right now is already using AI to generate content, both written and video, and everyone's doing it, but we're trying to figure out how to do it uniquely, sales teams are using AI to help do research on prospects, and help do their cadences for Salesloft for outreach. So developers are embracing it to do 90%, get the code done and then build on it. So you see all these functions embracing AI, and we're at this moment in time, I'm not the first to say it, that's going to transform how everybody does their work. Where are we in your perspective in terms of CFOs embracing AI, being comfortable with it, and what are the skill sets needed to move into this brave new future?

Bebe Kim (26:54):

That's right. So first we talk about no box, right? It's a canvas. You see every cell, you understand where data comes from. Second is database, how that fundamentally changes data structure. And then AI, as well. It's going to fundamentally change data structure for the CFO in a black box manner, which is not a new problem in AI, is that this problem explainability, right? Because when we think about financial understanding, the key to that is being able to explain where the metrics are coming from. And when the CFO is presented with that, are they going to be comfortable? How do they explain that something resulted from a AI behind the scenes? And so, I think just that black box explainability problem is something that would surface to challenge the office of the CFO.

Randy Wootton (27:54):

What I've seen with many CFOs is they want to cue things. They want to QA data by rebuilding from the bottoms up. Think about every company, and I'm sure this is true for CFOs, fractional CFOs that roll into a company, they're like, "Yeah, yeah, I know you got a model. I'm going to build my own model and I'm going to build my model in Excel, because I know exactly where it is." I know I've gone through this with our own CFO and him having a cycle on the model is super complicated. I mean, we have 2300 customers. There's all crazy different pricing. It's really, really hard. And you're going to walk into a world where you can't QA something by deconstructing it back to its atomic level and building it up from the bottom.

Bebe Kim (28:33):

That's right. So the method of QA is going to transform from, like you said, Randy, going from bottoms up, rebuilding cell by cell, literally and figuratively, and then leveraging technology to even QA and trusting that QA system.

Randy Wootton (28:49):

Great. Well, we're getting close to end, but I do want to shift the final part of the conversation. So we've talked a little bit about the skills that are required for the 21st Century CFO, but I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit more on some of those things that you think as you're embracing this new world order, the skills to develop, such as embracing technology data-driven decision making, cross-functional collaboration. We've talked about that. One of the points you made was that now we have the power, like the software, the best in class power software was always available for the enterprise, but now what you're finding is because of the compute powers basically cost zero, we have these low touch abilities to create great applications. You're getting enterprise tools at SMB and mid-market prices. Can you talk a little bit about what that means, both in terms of having the Apple watch, it has more compute power than what got the rocket ships to the moon, and how that changes the CFO's role?

Bebe Kim (29:47):

Yeah, I think we're seeing the head of finance and at earlier companies as well, but they have a lot of work to do in the SMB and mid-market segment. And so, what about you guys? How many people are on your finance team, right?

Randy Wootton (30:05):

About six.

Bebe Kim (30:07):

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So anywhere from one to six. But there's so much to do in those companies, and unfortunately companies don't blow up their finance team. It's considered still to be a G&A expense. And so, CFOs have to do more with less. And in this world where data is moving really fast, data is generated by databases, operators are just purchasing their own tools. It's paramount that they do leverage technology and they leverage software to do a part of their work.

Randy Wootton (30:40):

That's great. And the other thing we talked about broad trend, I was at the AI CPA conference, and they had 45 tech vendors-

Bebe Kim (30:49):

It's coming up again, yes.

Randy Wootton (30:50):

It is. Oh, okay. Yeah. The one I went to was the executive forum. It was cool. But what I didn't realize was the labor market reality in terms of lots of accountants are quitting and fewer grads are joining. And it's a real crisis, I think, in this industry and whatever it is about the new generation doesn't want to go into accounting. I get it. If what you're doing is using the abacus and dotting I's and crossing T's. And so, how do you think about that as well as a driver of required innovation and thinking in both process and how you hire people, how you train people, those tools that you provide them as a 21st century CFO?

Bebe Kim (31:26):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, outsourcing has been a trend for a long time now, and increasingly so because of the phenomena that you just described, which is the disappearing US accountants and CPA, right? It's hard work. It's long hours. And again, going back to my roots as a lawyer, people don't want to do repetitive work. So when something becomes repetitive, it becomes less enjoyable as well. And so to me, the role of software, I believe in software more than outsourcing here. I believe that right now there's a huge opportunity to elevate the profession into become advisors and consultants, and really focus on that 15%, that AI has a long way to go in replacing and overseeing a set of software and AI that can help automate the 85%.

Randy Wootton (32:24):

Yes, a great point. I was part of the first wave of AI. It was predictive AI where we built our own data centers, that was at Rocket Fuel and it was real AI. But at that time, I talk about this distinction between AI being perceived in two camps today. It's called the boomers and the doomers, but the boomers was like the Jetsons future. Everything's going to be, we're just going to play golf all day and eat bonbons. And then the other vision of reality, the doomer version, was the Terminator, that all the AI-powered robots are going to kill us all.


And we had a tough brand challenge with that at Rocket Fuel with artificial intelligence. And our mascot was Robbie the Robot. And we really had to be deliberate about changing the language to being AI meant augmented intelligence, and that we found in the marketing discipline that media planners and buyers were able to use the programmatic systems that we were providing, the platforms, the DMP and the DSPs to do a job, a manual job much more quickly, and then they could go off to the higher order operations. And so, I think you're suggesting the same thing. I mean, one of the questions we had for example was could AI do your audit?

Bebe Kim (33:35):

Yeah, certainly what AI can do is anything that starts with a Google search. So we've seen already and we're going to launch our own benchmarking tools that can query data that are external to the company at a rapid phase, and give us benchmarks right there. But then when it comes to auditing, that is the highest caliber. You're talking about edge cases where accuracy really, really matters. And so, that is where I would say that there's a high bar to reach.

Randy Wootton (34:11):

Yeah, totally. And I think this is why it's exciting about you and me being in this space, the disruption of the function of finance to be able to partner with fast-growing early stage companies and their CFOs who want to chart the future. And it's going to be the wave that transforms all of finance over time, not just B2B SaaS companies. So I think, and just the closing thoughts, couple things for me. One is really appreciate your time and congratulations on all your success.


I do think this idea, really there are three things that you as a CFO, you need to move from just reporting to help your entire executive team become financially literate, and so they can help understand how decisions are made in trade-offs. And so, you have this team dynamic versus the CFO off by themself building their budget and getting it approved. I think the other key shift is around the moving from having to do everything bottoms up to being the QA. How are you able to set in the checks, and the constraints, and the red flags so that you're monitoring the system rather than having to build the house? Bad metaphor. The third thing I think, which you're pointing to, but we haven't said explicitly, is the importance of continuous learning and adaptability in finance.

Bebe Kim (35:27):

That's right.

Randy Wootton (35:28):

And many finance people are super comfortable with I dot my I's, I cross my T's, I'm paid for compliance and governance. And so, it really is a new muscle to be able to say, "No, no, no, I need to be adaptable, and adjust, and flex into this world of moving what I described from the back office to the front office, from closing the books to being a strategic partner to the CEO or the CRO as you're building your go-to-market plan, your pricing, your packaging, your offers." It's a different opportunity.

Bebe Kim (35:57):

Yeah, it's different entirely. And I mean, right now as we speak, there are still debates about QuickBooks Online versus QuickBooks Desktop happening. And so, we're seeing the industry there and then we're also seeing more on the coasts. Just very, very exciting opportunities around AI and people embracing that. So can't wait to see how this industry shifts.

Randy Wootton (36:23):

Awesome. And so in final remarks, Bebe, how can people get in touch with you? LinkedIn, I assume, do you want to show your little website thing?

Bebe Kim (36:32):

Yeah. I didn't realize there was a no mirror function here, so I wrote this, but basically this is our logo and it's We started a company a couple of years ago, all the .coms were taken and .cos. So we're in the SO world, and I hope to help you guys put together your financials and put together the reporting that helps you navigate your business in this era of growth efficiency.

Randy Wootton (37:03):

Awesome, Bebe. Thank you for your time. Have a great day.

Bebe Kim (37:06):

Thank you.