CFO Jim Morgan began his professional career by pivoting from Goldman Sachs to a 100-employee, venture-backed start-up in early 2000. Once there, he immediately helped to pivot the marketing-technology company’s business model in response to the looming dotcom crash. Since then, Morgan—a former center who co-captained Stanford University’s hoops team in the early ‘90s—has served as CFO at a succession of venture- and private equity–backed high-growth companies.
Morgan starts each day at the marketing platform software developer CallRail by poring over product, customer, and talent metrics on his morning dashboard, a tool that he continually finesses.
“There’s so much data in most organizations,” Morgan explains. “A huge part of the CFO’s role is to identify which data really matter so that you can elevate two or three next-level metrics.”
We asked CallRail’s CFO to narrow his lens on talent in the current environment, and here’s what he shared:
Morgan: Talent is top-of-mind for every company right now—certainly for any growing technology company and certainly here in Atlanta. I would say that the question of what can be afforded when it comes to talent has almost been thrown out the window these days. The question now has become, “What does it take to bring in the talent to meet the growth objectives of the company?” You then work backwards from that. In this market, you just can’t justify not bringing in top talent because you think that you aren’t going to match market compensation, for example. I just don’t think that this is the case.
It’s about how you adapt: How do you give the hiring managers and department leaders some flexibility? And help finance to understand the tradeoffs? I think that this is where finance has a big partnership with our business: “Hey, you’ve got three positions. This is your total budget. The candidate whom you want requires half of this. Are you going to be able to restructure things and have some flexibility so that this is okay?”
It’s not about the three hires and budget total—it’s about some flexibility about what they’re trying to do. Today’s is just a challenging environment, but I think that the burden is back on the company to foster good business partnerships across the organization. Our accounting folks in finance have a budget and ask people to stick to that budget. Our hiring managers see the market and are often having to go above budget. I find myself bridging these conversations—as we all try to understand what we’re trying to achieve—and then helping to bring things to a resolution. I think that this is typical in organizations of our size.