Meet A Minnesota Tech CFO: Peter Goepfrich, Ascentis

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Thanks to local commercial real estate pros CBRE for sponsoring our new Meet A Minnesota Tech CFO series!

The CFO: Peter Goepfrich, Ascentis.

When and how did you get started in your finance career?

I was fortunate enough to get a job at a small consulting firm named Management Resources Initiatives when I was an aimless college graduate. After a short period there, the owner convinced me that public accounting would put me on a significantly more accelerated path than working for him.

So he introduced me to a partner at Price Waterhouse (now PwC), and a few months later I joined the public accounting ranks.

I was immediately drawn to the technology industry and spent the next seven years providing services to a variety of publicly-traded and venture-backed companies before deciding to venture out on the client side of the technology industry.

What is unique about your role with the technology industry, compared to other industries?

The pace of change within technology industry necessitates a CFO that is adept at managing and addressing ambiguity. As a CFO at a technology company, one needs to be comfortable that every day will be different and present a new host of possibilities.

What do you find most interesting or challenging about being a modern-day CFO?

The interesting aspect of being a modern-day CFO in the technology industry is the incredible number of talented people you get to work with and learn from every day.

Why did you decide to move from Qumu to Ascentis?

Ascentis provided too compelling an opportunity to pass up given the $14 billion Human Capital Management market, its experienced executive team, the financial backing of an outstanding private equity firm in Summit Growth Parents, and Ascentis’ leading full-suite SaaS-based HCM solutions.

How is success measured in your role as a CFO?

Overall success is strategically supporting and driving Ascentis’ growth by building and developing talented teams.

How do you effectively manage expectations to help everyone in the company know what their priorities should be?

Transparency with respect to both Ascentis’ strategy and goals but also each individual’s short and long-term goals as he or she grows their own professional career.

Have you ever made a decision around office space and commercial leasing?
Yes.

If so, what did you learn from the process? How did you select an agent/broker?

Each company’s facts and circumstances are different and as CFO you need to understand that and address and mitigate risks while supporting the company’s objectives. As for selecting a broker, local market knowledge, a strong referral customer base, and profession history with the broker if you had the opportunity in the past.

If so, what advice would you have for the founder considering their first office lease?

Stay flexible.

What do you enjoy doing with your time outside of the office?

I enjoy spending time with my wife Becca and our four boys which includes coaching a lot of youth baseball and basketball.

What advice would you have for someone in finance who wants to become a tech CFO?

Be deliberate in seeking as many new experiences as possible but still be successful managing the finance and accounting responsibilities. Also, work with talented people who challenge you to grow and who you can challenge to grow.

What is one question you want to ask of your tech CFO peers?

What new things have they learned in the past year?

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you for talking with me!

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