The finance discipline has gone through significant changes in latest many years, from the emergence of new technologies – which pose the two problems and chances – to the escalating need that finance leaders talk about and act on social troubles. This has mandated that finance industry experts at all concentrations – but particularly those in leadership roles – go from out of the back again office environment and into the community spotlight, adapting to a new usual in which finance pros are analysts, communicators and conclusion-makers.
In the initially installment of my two-element Q&A with Karri Callahan, CFO of global true estate company RE/MAX, Karri and I talked about the state of the serious estate sector as properly as the worries of remaining the central finance main for a franchise-based organization. In part two, I asked Karri about her own exclusive insights and tips for aspiring finance leaders, offered the upheaval and evolution of the area. In addition, I asked her about two of the most critical troubles in the finance operate now – technological disruption and Variety, Fairness and Inclusion (DE&I) – and how her corporation has tackled these concerns in a proactive way.
Jeff Thomson: In addition to finance, accounting, FP&A, and tax challenges, you also oversee trader relations, authorized, compliance and hazard administration issues at RE/MAX. How did your academic background in Accounting and Small business Administration get ready you for the price generation component of your part? How does your function differ from classic controllership? As the role of the CFO will become extra multifaceted, how can aspiring finance leaders improved prepare themselves for giving system and perception?
Karri Callahan: I came to RE/MAX from Ernst & Younger with a lot more than 12 yrs of accounting and auditing practical experience, becoming a member of the RE/MAX group as a Senior Manager of SEC reporting. Functioning in the audit apply, I expended a great deal of my career doing work with public corporations. When RE/MAX was pursuing its IPO, I saw it as a fantastic prospect to sign up for the world brand name. Actual estate is a relationship organization and that attitude is applicable to our function at Headquarters as considerably of the operate for our franchisees involves collaboration throughout all departments.
My advice to aspiring finance leaders is to keep the subsequent in thoughts:
1) Associations are all the things.
2) Never end learning. It’s significant to have self confidence and take additional dangers simply because points are likely to pan out in the combination. Next our IPO, I had the chance to guidance the leadership crew with the start of Motto Franchising, LLC (Motto Mortgage loan), an innovative property finance loan brokerage franchise that we released in late 2016. Motto Mortgage loan carries on to innovate the mortgage loan marketplace and garner consideration for its remarkable development. It was a wonderful understanding encounter and I was capable to implement what I acquired to the 2018 acquisition of booj, an award-successful net progress and software program firm, the 2019 acquisition of facts science startup To start with, and the 2020 acquisition of progressive fintech startup wemlo.
3) Do not be fearful to do issues in another way. RE/MAX was the original disrupter in true estate simply because Dave and Gail Liniger deconstructed the structure of a common brokerage, recognized areas of unfairness and crafted a manufacturer-new enterprise design that prioritized the professional and monetary properly-remaining of the authentic estate agent – as well as the experience of homebuyers and sellers.
4) You are the corporation you preserve. Surround yourself with a healthier blend of like-minded people today and people who extend you to imagine further than your personal constraints.
5) Never modify who you are to be profitable.
Thomson: Technological innovation has adjusted the actual estate market place, with digital house tours and applications supporting consumers make informed decisions. Know-how has also altered how finance and accounting operate, with a lot of schedule responsibilities now automatic, freeing up professionals to emphasis on bigger-amount responsibilities. How very well-acquainted ought to today’s accounting and finance professional be with technology like intelligent automation or RPA? What do you do to continue to be in advance on the know-how curve?
Callahan: Our Main Buyer Officer, Nick Bailey, tells our brokers this: “technology will not put actual estate agents out of business enterprise, but agents who don’t embrace technology will put on their own out of business.” I believe that advice is relevant to so a lot of other professions, together with mine in Accounting and Finance. Our teams are constantly analyzing how to include new technologies and program into plan Accounting and Finance procedures in buy to absolutely free up time to enable analyze trends, examine enterprise prospects and add to strategic development initiatives. We are “Customer Obsessed” at RE/MAX and about the previous two many years have entered a new period of RE/MAX engineering with the launch of the finish-to-close personalized-crafted-for-RE/MAX booj Platform and First application.
Correct now, RE/MAX Holdings has much more in-residence technological innovation skills and firepower than at any time. Not too long ago, we declared an organizational adjust to build one technological know-how staff comprised of about 200 customers that maximizes collaboration, focuses on user knowledge and operates with function, passion and excellence. In excess of time, it will advantage the full corporate staff by improving the delivery and assist of know-how and data to all spots of the business enterprise.
Much more importantly, it will advantage our RE/MAX and Motto affiliate marketers about the planet by empowering them to produce an even greater agent-client knowledge, with a goal of being the complete best in the industry. And that will pay back dividends in expansion, productivity and marketplace share.
Specialist enhancement and continued education and learning are really important at RE/MAX and the corporation routinely presents courses to refine expertise in the Microsoft Business office suite, general public speaking and numerous other skillsets vital to the office, of which I choose advantage.
Thomson: In the latest several years – and specifically in excess of the earlier quite a few months – business enterprise leaders have become additional attuned to the need to actively market Range, Fairness, and Inclusion (DE&I), not just because of public force but simply because there are tangible business gains. How has RE/MAX supported DE&I broadly and team users who are girls or individuals of color? And as a woman CFO, have you skilled gender bias? What did you do to prevail over these difficulties?
Callahan: We are concentrating our efforts about continuing the discussion and providing education to our Headquarters employees and extensive community of affiliate marketers. We do this in a range of methods, by 1) marketing coaching to educate and get ready our community, 2) continuing to generate ongoing conversations with our networks and workforce, 3) functioning range and inclusion into our huge-scale occasions by showcasing sessions and speakers to teach our membership, and 4) utilizing our media channels to champion diversity, elevate consciousness and set an illustration for our community and field as a entire. Some illustrations of the higher than initiatives contain our stance and issuing of a assertion in the wake of the George Floyd killing, closing corporate Headquarters on Juneteenth 2020, and utilizing a 10-7 days Racial Fairness & Social Justice Obstacle at Headquarters. As it straight relates to our mission of producing the dream of homeownership offered to everyone, we are actively having an stock of what we presently do all-around Social Governance (sustainability, variety, philanthropy) and where by we can do much better.
Furthermore, RE/MAX has a detailed inclusion and range marketing campaign to guidance the mission of homeownership throughout all ethnic groups by supporting and partnering with:
· AREAA – Asian Actual Estate Association of The united states
· NAHREP – Nationwide Association of Hispanic Genuine Estate Experts
· NAGLREP – Countrywide Affiliation of Homosexual & Lesbian Genuine Estate Industry experts
The good thing is, RE/MAX was co-started by Gail Liniger and traditionally, gender bias is not some thing we have seen at this company. I assume the gender range at RE/MAX makes us stand out even much more so for the reason that it is ingrained in who we are. In 1973, Dave and Gail Liniger, two youthful, ambitious industry experts, established out to build a new organization that would work in a different way than competitors and finally disrupt the real estate industry as a complete. The firm was created on the backs of men and women from all walks of daily life and backgrounds, and it is a tradition that persists at the enterprise right now. Two of our 4 C-Suite executives are female, 40% of our board is woman and even at the community degree we’re close to 50/50 in conditions of agents and franchise ownership. RE/MAX doesn’t communicate about it staying important the enterprise demonstrates that it is vital. Our demonstrated monitor report of elevating women to leadership positions, blended with progressive maternity and parental leave benefits, is why Forbes magazine recently rated RE/MAX at No. 11 on its record of America’s Most effective Businesses for Women.
The largest challenges confronted by women executives that I really don’t consider our male counterparts encounter as typically is the balancing act and guilt related with an advancing vocation. I assume male counterparts confront this at periods, but not in the exact same way. I also think that at moments, there is a stigma and lack of reliability connected with girls leaders. I experience extremely privileged that I haven’t experienced this in my latest purpose, but I am generally intentional about establishing myself and my trustworthiness because I know it is a thing other woman leaders have experienced to prevail over in their workplaces.
This write-up has been edited and condensed.