CPA to CFO Podcast #01 – Rob Krolik, General Partner and CFO, Burst Capital
Sep 13, 2019 | By John Siegel
At its core, FloQast is a company that was started by accountants to help other accountants. That mission is evident in our software, which helps accounting teams close the books faster and more accurately each month, and it’s the motivation behind the company’s new “CPA to CFO” podcast.
Each episode of the podcast features FloQast co-founder and CEO Mike Whitmire chatting with a successful finance pro who climbed the corporate ladder to become CFO. Mike would have been hard-pressed to find a better guest for the first episode than Silicon Valley veteran Rob Krolik, a legend in the world of accounting and tech.
Krolik served as Yelp’s CFO from 2011-2016 and helped take the crowd-sourced review website public in 2012. Prior to that, Krolik served as the CFO of the company that operates Realtor.com. He also was the CFO at Shopping.com, which was acquired by eBay during his tenure.
After leaving Yelp, Krolik developed a course to teach others how to be a successful CFO. Krolik, who is a certified public accountant, now teaches a one-day class each semester at the Wharton School’s San Francisco campus.
Krolik shared several of his insights during his discussion with Whitmire. Here are a few of the highlights:
- What are companies looking for when they hire a CFO? The answer varies a little depending on if the company is public or private, but Krolik said it’s important for candidates to be good communicators and familiar with several different fields, such as taxes, stock administration, facilities, etc. If you’re lacking in one or both areas, don’t panic. There are lots of opportunities to practice and learn at many companies.
- How many years do most people work before becoming a CFO? Krolik said it’s a “process” to become a CFO, and estimated it takes a recent college graduate 15-20 years.
- It is important that you have mentors in the industry. You can learn not only from your mentors’ strengths, but also from their mistakes. Having mentors “...was critical for me to get to where I was,” Krolik said. No mentor? No problem. Just ask someone you admire for help.
- Having integrity and ethics is essential to being a good CFO. There’s more to the job than being a company’s financial steward. Krolik said he learned from his mentor at Shipping.com that the CFO must “stand up and do the right thing.”
Krolik also talked about why it’s important to have a peer group, be well-rounded and stay-up to date on current events. He also talked about the drawbacks of being the CFO. “There's a reason there's a lot of retired CFOs,” Krolik said. To learn more about Krolik and his insights into what it takes to become a CFO, check out the full podcast here.