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The key idea of the video is that CFOs play a crucial role in taking companies to IPO, and balancing finance and strategy, instilling financial discipline, accurate forecasting, and understanding business drivers are essential for success.

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    Sarah and Jason, CFOs of Square and Open Door respectively, discuss their roles in taking their companies to IPO and the evolution of the CFO role.
    • Sarah and Jason, CFOs of Square and Open Door respectively, discuss their roles in taking their companies to IPO and the evolution of the CFO role.
    • Square was looking for a strategic partner with Jack and the speaker's role was to help the company grow from a single-threaded payment company to a much bigger impactful company with products like Square Capital and Payroll.
    • The company loaned about 240 million in Q4 and reported a billion dollar run for their product, while also incubating a small product called Square Payroll.
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    Balancing finance and strategy is key when hiring a CFO for a growing company with a large team, prioritize trust and finding people with different skill sets and opinions.
    • Balancing financial elements with strategy and operations is important when hiring a CFO for a company with a large team of 500-600 people, including customer support, product, and engineering teams.
    • Joined Groupon in 2010, responsible for selecting bankers, hiring finance team, and writing a couple hundred page s-1 document.
    • The company went from 700 million to 4 billion in sales, went public, and grew from a couple dozen people to 500.
    • Always be thinking about your leadership team and what skill sets you're missing, and hire ahead instead of just hiring for what you need today.
    • The CEO and CFO partnership is crucial and should be a partnership, and when hiring people, it's important to sell them on the company's vision and where they will be in the future.
    • When hiring executives, prioritize trust and finding people who have different skill sets and opinions than you.
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    Hire a CFO after product-market fit to anticipate potential issues, especially for product-oriented companies, and instill financial discipline by focusing on key metrics.
    • Hire a CFO after you have figured out the product-market fit, as their job is to look around corners and think about all the things that can go wrong.
    • If a company is more product-oriented and needs to focus on contribution profit per unit, it makes sense to have a CFO earlier on who is more operational than accounting-focused.
    • Square had to instill financial discipline by focusing on the most important metrics and calling back redundant ones.
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    Understanding cohorts is crucial for finance organizations to identify business drivers, while at Amazon, Jeff Bezos required direct reporting of financial metrics to avoid bias and optimize for a true seeking culture.
    • Understanding cohort analysis and defining cohorts is crucial for a finance organization to identify the drivers of a business and focus on the right metrics to grow the business over the long run.
    • At Amazon, Jeff Bezos required every business leader to report their financial metrics to him directly to avoid bias and optimize for a true seeking culture.
    • Analyzing data is crucial, but it's important to be cautious and not rely solely on numbers.
    • At Amazon, a strong partnership was formed between competitive intelligence and finance, with the latter responsible for unbiased reporting on the effectiveness of various functions.
    • Having discipline in tracking metrics and accurately forecasting finances is key to determining when a company should fundraise.
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    Accurate forecasting and considering minimum required amount and market sensitivity are crucial when fundraising, while going public depends on readiness and other factors like branding and future liquidity.
    • It's important to have enough cash available on the balance sheet to avoid reaching the danger zone, but accurate forecasting is crucial.
    • When fundraising, it's important to consider the minimum required amount, the slope of the line, and market sensitivity, but don't be too hypersensitive on dilution and points of dilution.
    • Be more deliberate and front footed about defining perfection and goals to give everyone more direction and avoid uncertainty, even with something like financing, and the right time to go public is subjective.
    • Going public is not necessary purely from a capital perspective, but ultimately it depends on whether the company is ready and if there are other aspects such as branding and future liquidity to consider.
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    Companies should only go public if they don't need to, as the cash market doesn't reward those who need to go public.
    • Forecasting market trends is difficult due to volatility, and past perceptions of successful companies can be misleading.
    • Companies should only go public if they don't need to, as the cash market doesn't reward those who need to go public, and it's important to prepare for both the best and worst case scenarios.
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    CEOs should focus on long-term growth and impact, provide transparency to shareholders, and understand business drivers to improve forecasting accuracy and reduce stock watching.
    • Dealing with employee questions and the activity of shorting stocks can be time-consuming for a CEO of a public company, but ultimately, focusing on long-term growth and impact is what matters to the market.
    • Square provides transparency to its shareholders and employees through NPC filings, ensuring the strength of their balance sheet.
    • Be honest from the beginning, focus on fundamentals, and understand the drivers of your business to get people away from stock watching and improve forecasting accuracy.
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    Breaking down revenue into an algebraic equation can improve accuracy in business forecasting.
    • The speaker breaks down the equation for revenue and analyzes its accuracy like an engineering problem.
    • To improve accuracy in business, it's important to break down the factors affecting it into an algebraic equation and analyze the areas where there is the least accuracy.
    • Forecasting a business's revenue and demand is tricky, but breaking down costs into fixed and variable components can make it easier to understand and control.
    • Hiring people with an engineering or investment background is better for forecasting than relying on accounting organizations.
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