FinOps professionals are agents of change in your organization. 

Their responsibilities range from managing system integrations and tech stacks to implementing Quote-to-Cash and more, all while optimizing the cost of the business. With a variety of bespoke systems and processes to manage, the world of FinOps is anything but a one-stop shop. However, there are a few guiding principles that stay true no matter the size or maturity of an organization. We interviewed four FinOps professionals from the Systematic community to get their insight on industry best practices. 

Here’s what they had to say:  

Have an end-to-end mindset when it comes to your processes

“If a SaaS business is looking to upgrade its quoting or billing systems, the revenue recognition requirement for their business should be the critical part of the assessment. A quoting or billing system implemented in a silo creates many challenges for the revenue team and delays closing your books. Sophisticated ASC-606 regulations require an adaptive approach. Thus, the Order-to-Cash process should be re-defined as Quote-to-Revenue to make the end-to-end process more efficient and future-proof.” 

Prakash Raina, Co-founder at Subskribe

A Quote-to-Cash process is a backbone for the organization. It requires collaboration across every business function in terms of defining the process that aligns with the organization’s new product introduction, sales motion, billing and revenue standards (ASC-606), customer enablement, and most importantly, country-specific regulations. Anyone who takes up this initiative must have an end in mind with a multi-year spending commitment from the leadership team.”  

Venkat Ranga, VP of IT at Aryaka

Don’t put compliance on the back burner 

“As the Director of Corporate Engineering at Recurly, I originally thought that my focus was going to be to enable the workforce by providing technological solutions to day-to-day problems, integrations, automations, process streamlining, and more. I didn’t expect the extreme importance of compliance. I am not in the security or compliance department, but my team’s work has a huge impact in those areas. 

A civil engineer can design a house, but it’s up to the carpenters to build it. Just so, Recurly’s corporate engineering department has to put into place the measures and standards the InfoSec department creates. We work closely with them and provide advice and feedback because when the rubber meets the road it’s our hands on the keyboard. 

Failure is not an option. Our customers rely upon us to maintain compliance with six different standards and zero tolerance for failure. Our Ed-Tech customers need to focus on their area of expertise, which is online learning. They don’t want to learn about our areas of expertise, subscription management, fraud prevention, and compliance. For some companies, mistakes are okay. A social media website could leak 20% of its database and get a couple of months of bad press. If a credit card processing company leaked 20% of its database, it could be the end of the company. To that end, we have to be flawless, not just once, but every time. I realized we needed to continuously improve the process.” 

Sean Glang, Director of Corporate Engineering at Recurly

Avoid system customization 

“Keep it simple. Let the systems work for you. The second you hear “custom,” run for the hills—or at least that should be your very last option. When custom becomes the solution, it’s usually because there’s a funny use case/process problem that we’re ignoring or refusing to address. It’s going to catch up to you though, so whenever possible, avoid custom solutions and try to fix the process.” 

Alex Westbrook, Manager of Financial Systems at Gitlab 

Solve problems with the stakeholders in mind  

“Our customer is the Compliance Department. Once a year, they asked for employee offboarding tickets for a selection of ex-employees. What they need is proof that the accounts were deactivated within 24 hours of an employee leaving the company.

One pain point for them was that the Jira tickets could be inconsistent. One administrator might write “done” and then close the ticket immediately another might write “account deactivated” but not close the ticket for another 24 hours. Consequently, they were required to submit the comment timestamp instead of the ticket close timestamp.

Another pain point was the arduous task of collating data. They would get all the timestamps of official terminations from HR and compare those to the timestamps of our tickets to compile evidence that we had deactivated the accounts within 24 hours. 

We established a system for collecting the logs of our automated account deactivation. If you’re not already automating account deactivations, and just about everything else, stop reading this and go do that! The logs are always consistent! Furthermore, since the logs are triggered by an action in the HRIS they include the official termination timestamp. Compliance didn’t have to ask HR for that data anymore or spend time matching up events. Problem solved!” 

Sean Glang, Director of Corporate Engineering at Recurly

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary Hodges is the Community Manager for Systematic.