Building a Finance Function From the Ground Up: Interview with Ingo Uytdehaage 

Assembling a complete finance function from scratch is no easy feat. Find out how Adyen CFO, Ingo Uytdenhaage, created his finance team from the ground up with this exclusive Q&A.

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Laying the foundation of a finance function as a new CFO can be an intimidating project to tackle. But with the right infrastructure and strategy, any leader can cultivate their ideal finance dream team

So how does one get started and plan for their future finance team? Our very own Abacum CEO, Julio Martinez, and Adyen CFO, Ingo Uytdehaage, joined forces in an exclusive webinar to talk about the ins and outs of crafting a scalable finance function. From pivotal wins to trying lessons, Ingo discusses his professional journey on how he built out a robust finance sector for Adyen over the past 15+ years. 

Watch the full webinar here.

About Adyen

This financial technology platform was created to help businesses achieve their ambitions faster. Offering end-to-end payments, data insights, and financial management, Adyen is the perfect tool for any rapidly-evolving business looking to streamline its payment processes. 

Founded in 2006, Adyen gained widespread momentum within the payment industry. As an organization, Adyen has helped carve out the tech ecosystem in Europe, serving as a gold star example of what all start-ups should aspire to be.  Whether you work in the industry or not, witnessing this team’s rapid success is truly inspiring!

Now that you have a better background on Adyen, let’s dive into our exclusive Q&A between Julio and Ingo. 

What qualities do you look for in a candidate when building a world-class finance team?

In Ingo’s eyes, the number one trait he looks for when hiring a new team member is curiosity. In addition, the candidate must have excellent analytical skills while also being able to take a hands-on approach to problem-solving and decision-making. In a company like Adyen, out-of-the-box thinkers are what sets an applicant apart from the rest.

Ingo saw that there needed to be a shift from traditional administrative tasks to more data analysis within the finance team. This pivot would become the catalyst that propelled their finance function forward. By hiring financial analysts who could focus on metrics, the finance team could then take a more strategic approach to their future planning and forecasting.

What advice do you have for finance teams looking to build out their tech stack infrastructure? 

Preparing for growth with a complete tech stack is one of the best things an organization can do to set itself up for success. Migrating to more robust tools later on can be costly and time-consuming for any organization. However, investing in the right tools can help a company set a solid foundation to build and grow without disrupting organizational processes. 

Simply put, the tech stack supports scalability, allowing finance teams to spend less time on operational metrics and more time on strategy. Through this simple shift, Ingo and his team are able to share more meaningful analytics with the rest of the company. 

Looking to revamp your current toolkit of tech? Check out our 2022 CFO Tech Stack eBook to get started today.

Where do you think your processes lacked? How would you have done things differently?

Ingo felt that his team started considering critical business questions too late in the game. As a result, they threw away valuable time linking their systems together instead of automating the entire financial forecasting process and measuring the metrics right from the beginning. That’s not what finance teams should be focusing on. Instead, the finance function needed to become a strategic business partner, offer the right insights, and understand the different data categories involved. By answering the more complex questions upfront, Ingo believes that their finance team would have been able to better assist with strategic business decisions from day one. 

What has been your greatest win as a CFO?

As a CFO, Ingo finds his best moments are when he gets to be a part of the customer journey. From weekly conversations to entire escalations, going straight to the source of feedback allows Ingo to understand his clients' most common pain points and needs. Not only does this help him better evolve the organization as a whole, but it also surfaces new opportunities for expansion. 

As we’ve seen from Ingo’s experience, once a team adopts a strategic business mindset, that is when they will be able to excel to new heights. By prioritizing strategic initiatives and building out a complete tech stack (including intuitive FP&A software) early on, finance teams will be able to drive change across the organization and create a monumental business impact for the future.