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How Culture Impacts Revenue

Here's what you missed on day two of the 2020 Financial Leadership Summit Virtual Conference.

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Day two of the Financial Leadership Summit taught me how important an authentic organizational culture is. As we automate more finance processes, and use artificial intelligence to shine spotlights on what we may overlook, key to leveraging their efficiencies will be culture. As Peter Drucker said, it does eat strategy for breakfast. I’m excited for a future where we’ll cherish more time with our colleagues as technology completes repetitive tasks for us.

Our opening general session was led by Jonathan Keyser, founder of Keyser, a commercial real estate brokerage. Keyser shared how he rapidly grew the firm based on selfless service and 15 core principles. He, and Maia Arneson, talked about offering business advisory services and launching the Keyser Institute teaching leaders how to reinvent themselves and organizations how to reinvent their culture and client relationships. They shared insights into how culture directly impacts revenue. And, that if you’re consistent in reminding your employees about your organization’s mission and values, and the impact they’re having on the community, employee happiness and productivity will climb.

True to the unexpected nature of 2020, Keyser had a surprise up his sleeve when he offered all live attendees of his session a complimentary copy of Whole Food’s CEO John Mackey’s book, Conscious Leadership, Elevating Humanity Through Business. Keyser told us we could give to others, at least three times, without expectation of return. He asked if your business’ principles reflected you, the leader. Keyser practices what he preaches.

Rauli Garcia, Sage Intacct’s Vice President of Strategic Marketing, led us through his process for moving organizations from finance 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0. He suggested that finance leaders don’t have enough time to focus on strategy even though they’re making business-altering decisions monthly. Organizations need to be crystal clear on what data they collect and how it helps accomplish the business’ mission. In the process of transforming finance, it is okay to take calculated risks, to “twitterize” your general ledger for better reporting, and to incrementally implement artificial intelligence to save resources.

As the pace of change increases, your ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn becomes a source of competitive advantage. FEI has partnered with the American Management Association to provide members with even more access to best practices. Dan Goeller, AMA’s Learning Solutions Manager, and Jay Frischkorn, President of Strategic Profitability Consultants, shared with attendees how to build competitive advantage using the insights your data is offering you. Organizations have access to more data than they ever have before. Knowledge from one of AMA’s 160 courses may be the jumpstart setting your team on the right course.

Our final educational session of the day, entitled Impact of COVID-19 on Human Resources Issues and the Future Workforce, was led by Chris Santomassimo and Tony Davis from Santomassimo Davis LLP. The sheer number of questions from attendees showed just how important this topic is and how well Tony and Chris are walking their clients through uncertainty. They covered addressing whistleblowers, how to design a safe workplace, a step-by-step process for what you should do when an employee contracts COVID-19, and how to retract or delay a job offer. Sessions like this are simply priceless.

Thank you to Steve Soter, from Workiva, and David Perlmutter from Deloitte and Touche LLP for their session on developing a reporting automation strategy. Michael Keeler, CEO, and Tracy Henriques, CCO, of LeaseAccelerator shared ways to drive down cost and risk using Lease Lifecycle Automation software. And, I hope you didn’t miss FEI’s President and CEO Andrej Suskavcevic’s close to the day, It’s “Quarantini” Time. I loved hearing about his recipe for his favorite martini and what finance leaders across the U.S. were taking away from Summit thus far. What has me most excited is that we still have four more days of learning ahead of us. I’ll see you October 13th!

For the last three years, Michael S. Seaver has served as emcee of the Financial Leadership Summit. For more on his work as speaker, leadership consultant, and executive coach, visit