I started Denice Sakakeeny & Associates in 2011 quite by accident. My first Desk Job started the day after I was graduated from Brandeis University. I thought I had made it. I had a cube. And a desk. And my own phone extension. Of course, the first call I made was to my mother. "Hey mom, guess what, I made it big time."
Fast forward to 2011. A child in elementary school. A then-husband starting law school. A CEO who drove me crazy (I know he felt the same. If you are reading this, you know who you are). So I quit. And I had no plan.
As I sit here in my home office, with my 15 year old son in his bedroom playing some ridiculous video game, sweating buckets in this heat because I am too lazy to reach over and turn on the air conditioner, I reflect now that getting rid of The Desk Job was one of the top risks I ever took in my whole life. Yeah, I work from home. Blah Blah Blah. I won't sit here and complain about how I fly almost every week to see clients. How sometimes I wake up in the morning and briefly wonder what city I am in. Or how sometimes I just miss my bed and my family.
Why Denice Sakakeeny Does Not Want Your Desk Job
I LOVE TO SOLVE DIFFICULT PROBLEMS
I love a good challenge. One thing that attracted me to the start-up CFO role back in early 90s was the fact that the CFOs I worked with back then could move mountains. They were magical in their ability to just kick the pants of a complicated problem. As an outsourced CFO, I do just that all the freakin' time. I carry a portfolio of clients, and as such have a portfolio of problems. I don't want to go back to TPS reports and growth charts and "I'm the CFO that will IPO you and keep you all fat and happy." No thank you. I am the outsourced CFO who removes impediments others are not interested in removing because they are really, really difficult. I'm the fixer. Then I leave and go do it again for another client. I build companies, I don't run them. Way more fun.
I LOVE TO BE PART OF THE TEAM
In business, the hardest problems are usually people problems. People matter. And in my experience, at privately-held corporations, people matter more. Over the years, I've become part of a community shared with my clients, which has become the basis of many long-term relationships, based on mutual respect and admiration. Imagine all the good news shared in the day on one office. The babies, the birthdays, the weddings, the graduations. The support received from others during times of loss. The normality of life. As an outsourced CFO I have this ten-fold. My work is difficult, at best. I am not paid to come in because everything is happy-happy. But on the worst days, I share my life and my experiences with the coolest people. A never-ending stream of cool.
I LOVE TO SPEAK & SHARE
What I do is specialized and focused. I am not a CFO that does all things. I work with companies mostly in transition. I work for privately-held companies with less than $50 million in revenue. I work with companies mostly where there is a Founder still in the mix. I work in board rooms where millions have been invested in expectation of a return. I work in places where I am not the first, second, or third CFO who has served. I work with investor's children, Founder's wives, and brothers-in-law of Directors. I work with PE guys, farmers, angel investors, VC firms, coders, and people like me who just want to make a living and solve problems before dinner is served. I've learned a few things in my specialized field of CFO-ing. I've spoken at conferences on the topics of building finance teams, the dynamics of subscription revenue, how to choose a private-company CFO, and if your company even needs a CFO. I've trained global sales teams on the role of a CFO, how to approach a CFO during the sales cycle, and how to build various CFO personas. I like to teach, mentor and most of all, I also like to learn through my interactions with others.
Sometimes, especially with early-stage clients and early in the engagements, I sit with CEOs and they tell me about how their names will be on the sides of the building some day and I will want to be their CFO because their ideas are so amazing. No, thank you. I don't want your desk job. When the work is done, I'm gone. Thank-you-very-much. Denice out. On to the next one (thanks, Jay-Z).