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Career Story: Vice-President Of Finance At A Start-Up

Vice-President Of Finance At A Start-Up

Job Title: VP Finance And Administration

Education: BCom, McGill University

Previous Experience: Project Manager Financial and Expense Manager I worked for a startup for some time in Finance and eventually started a company on my with a partner of which I am the VP Finance.

Job Tasks: The company I work for is in the digital pen and paper business. It is revolutionary technology because of the advantages it brings when used properly. Digital pens contain small infrared cameras, as well as a standard ink nibs. They are similar in size to fountain pens. Digital paper is ordinary paper with a pattern of dots. Digital pens record precise location and motion to capture data.

We are a small start-up so my day includes everything from doing the day to day company financials (invoicing and collections, accounting, banking, financial statements, etc.) to proposals to customers (lead follow-up, trade-shows, closing and negotiating deals). I deal with our suppliers (negotiate better deals, make sure inventory is available, find better chains of supply) and general corporate duties (state and federal requirements such as filings and taxes, legal issues, insurance, facilities, etc.) and investor relations (looking for and dealing with potential and existing investors, stock ledgers, negotiate terms of investments, etc.)

Each day brings new things, since we are small we may have to change plans to deal with new things that arise at a moment's notice. I may be traveling at a trade show all day and when I check my email that night after finally getting back to the hotel, there might be an email from a lead saying they are close to signing a deal and they just need certain information. Of course, you would deal with such a thing right away, not wanting to lose potential business. I might go into the office planning to catch up on some accounting, for example, a month might have just ended and I want to do my bank and account reconciliations and close the month, but if a supplier calls to let me know there is a back-order on digital pen, then I'll need to jump into action to find alternate sources to make sure I can fulfill my customer's orders.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is the independence of being the company founder allows me to have flexibility in doing what I need to do, both at work and at home. The variety of tasks also keeps the work interesting.

The worst part is that it is incredibly difficult to make a company succeed from scratch, especially when you consider that luck is a factor in early success.

Job Tips:
1. If you want to start your own company, try to work first for a start-up or two so you can get a good idea of what might make a new company succeed or fail.

2. Be careful with your company money and treat it as you would your personal money. Do not be stingy, but remember that economic cycles can change quickly and if you practice smart finance during good times, you'll be better prepared for bad ones.

3. If you are overwhelmed with too many things to do, think of which items will improve the company's sales, and start with those.

4. Seek out good people. Whether they are your employees, partners, suppliers, or customers - good, honest people will make your life more enjoyable and your job easier. Treat others the way you would want to be treated because you never know when the shoe might be on the other foot.

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