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To be a finance leader, you need to think like one, says CFO of Slack

by Mike Jones in Other Cat 18/06/2021

Allen Shim became the CFO of Slack after shifting his attention towards what priorities the position needed. 

Back in 2014, Slack had around 20 employees when Shim joined as a finance executive. He quickly became responsible for managing finance, analytics, accounting, as well as other functions within HR, IT and legal.

In a previous interview, Shim explained that he felt like he had the responsibility of a CFO but it wasn’t until he stopped wanting the job that he began to understand how he had been limiting himself through certain actions.

After experiencing a complete review in 2017 one thing stood out to Shim and that was that his fixation on becoming a CFO was hindering his overall effectiveness. Taking this on board, Shim reconsidered his performance and understood that rather than focusing on his achievements, it was more important to determine whether he was the one capable of driving this business forward. It was this shift in mindset and how he interpreted his personal development over time that was so critical.

After further discussions with other CEOs, Shim reassessed his organisation and quickly realised that he was overseeing multiple functions. As a consequence, Shim was spreading himself too thin and incapable of allocating enough time to each task required to be an effective CFO.

Shim highlights that to become a CFO, he was required to become excellent in financial planning and analysis (FPA) and appreciate exactly what factors would drive the business forward. Shim started focusing more on the way a CFO could create a structure in the business, supporting scale and growth over time. 

The shift in mindset enabled him to apply more energy towards business strategy and ironically ended up with him being offered the role of the CFO later that year. The change in focus on career advancement ultimately enabled him to progress in a way that facilitated the goals of becoming a CFO.