When Matt Novick mentions jump starting his career in a “mom and pop” furniture business, it can certainly be taken literally. From working in his family owned retail furniture business in rural Maine to becoming a financial guru in the fast paced corporate world of New York, Matt certainly knows what it takes to grow an organization from the ground up. And, it is this diverse experience that has helped him to understand that the success of a company is always attributed to the hard work and dedication of its employees.
Here are some of his thoughts on his career and the industry:
Describe your career path for us, including your advice along the way for other CFOs interested in this progression.
My understanding of what’s involved in running a successful corporation stems from my experience working in my family’s furniture business. It was this opportunity that taught me the fundamentals of organizational success, a foundation of knowledge that I still rely upon today.
Shortly after receiving my Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University, I began working at AOL as a financial analyst and, after completing NYU’s Executive MBA program, I became the Director of Sales Operations. After six years at AOL, I decided to join the startup team at Magnetic Media, at which I was the ninth employee in the company at that time. My experience at this growing organization allowed me to really roll up my sleeves and become a “jack of all trades”, getting involved in all aspects of the organization and doing a little bit of everything. Even when I was promoted from VP of Finance to CFO, there was never a task or a project that I considered too small or insignificant for my involvement. Working with the Magnetic Media team was a great experience for me as a first time CFO, as it allowed me some wonderful on the job learning.
Following my years at Magnetic Media, I moved into the international sector as the CFO of Persado, a spin off from a Europe based company. It was here that I had the opportunity to expand the company within the U.S market, and become skilled in many aspects of international operations.
The experiences that I have gained from all of my positions continue to serve me well in my current role as the CFO at Place IQ. As for advice for others, I would say that it is important to immerse yourself in all aspects of your business, always be a team player, and, most important, learn from your colleagues.
What’s exciting for you as a CFO? What do you enjoy the most about your profession?
For me, the best part of being a CFO is the impact that this multi-faceted role has. Every day presents new challenges and great opportunities and what’s most exciting is the realization that I am able to make a difference in both my company and the industry in which I work.
What’s the one thing that you could do without as a CFO?
Perhaps one of the toughest aspects of being a CFO is creating a balance between employees’ personal needs and the demands of the company. Retaining talented staff is crucial. Conflicting interests can be an issue and, in some circumstances, accommodating the career goals of employees is not always possible.
The CFO/Board landscape changes all the time. How do you keep yourself educated on the latest developments that affect your profession?
Reading and networking help me to stay well connected. Many evenings, I am at an afterhours event, meeting other professionals and learning about the latest industry trends. The education process never stops.
Describe your “Aha!” moment or a crowning achievement to your career so far.
As I look back on the companies at which I have worked, my “Aha” moment is the recognition that the success of any organization is created by individuals and, for me, it is the people that I have met along the way in my career progression that have had the most impact on my business achievements.