Gloria Willis | Apr 19, 2022

What Tennis Star Jamie Murray Can Teach CFOs About Financial Agility

On 6 April, OneStream’s EMEA Managing Director Matt Rodgers had the privilege of hosting a conversation between tennis Brand Ambassador Jamie Murray and our Chief Financial Officer Bill Koefoed. They explored a variety of topics that cut across the worlds of tennis and modern Finance including agility, performance optimisation, and harnessing technology to lead at speed.  Read on to hear the highlights of their conversation.

Ready for Change

Court surfaces, weather conditions, and even time zones – the life and career of a professional tennis player must by nature anticipate the unpredictable. Such factors not only impact players’ performance, but also the game itself down to ball speed and bounce. Jamie Murray emphasised how important it is for players to be adaptable and agile if they want to stay on top of their game. By developing muscle memory, a fundamental strategy will be in place and ready to adapt as needed in competition. As well as strategy and tools, the right people need to be in the team or organisation in order to survive and thrive. For Jamie, the broader support team is essential: playing partner, coach, trainers, and even family.

Bill Koefoed joined OneStream as CFO in November 2019, mere months before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the world.  The bulk of his experience as a Finance leader at OneStream has been to lead the organisation and its people through massive disruption as well as rapid growth. He agreed with Mr. Murray that strong teams are important, as well as visibility into the organisation and key metrics. Leadership and success come through agility and being able to plan for different scenarios. To achieve this, CFOs need to track KPIs, goals, and data more frequently than ever across Finance and Operations.

Measuring Performance and  Leading at Speed through Technology

Similarly, Mr. Murray sets goals at the start of each season. By tracking results and analysing KPIs for each match he can identify what is or isn’t working well, identify opportunities for improvement, and adapt mid-season. In tennis not only has data analysis evolved but there have been fundamental changes in technology. Gone are the days of wooden racquets. Today’s lightweight racquets and synthetic strings enable players to increase power, speed, and control. According to Mr. Koefoed, Finance leaders cannot lead at speed with the equivalent of wooden racquets. Old technology is limiting, lacking basic foundations for true agility in the face of disruption that characterizes the new normal. Data lives in siloes, and manual processes lead to risk and wasted time that does not add value to the organisation. Modern Finance tools enable more advanced capabilities that give a Finance department unparalleled insight and transform them into a true business partner.

The Future of the Game

Mr. Murray commented that in tennis, as in all professional sports, advancements in science and technology, training and nutrition are helping players have longer careers. As a business, professional sports continue to grow with the financial rewards massively increasing over time. This increases exposure of the game and encourages a healthy interest in sport for the next generation. Mr. Murray left us with some words of wisdom about not only physical health, but also mental health, and the need for all people to develop strength and resilience through the highs and lows of life whatever career we are in.

Said Mr. Koefoed, the Finance game has evolved too. As the world moves faster, organisations must be ready to adapt on a continual basis. With the right people, processes and technology in place, even the most complex organisations can be ready to truly lead at speed.

The recording of the full conversation with Jamie Murray and Bill Koefoed is available here.

About Jamie Murray

To date Jamie Murray has claimed 26 ATP doubles titles, including two men’s Grand Slams: the Australian Open and the US Open. He won a further five mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open and is currently ranked #20 in the world.

About Bill Koefoed

Bill Koefoed, Chief Financial Officer of OneStream Software, has more than 25 years of experience in Finance leadership. Before joining OneStream, he served as CFO for online retailer Blue Nile, and prior to that was in senior Finance leadership and investor relations at Microsoft.

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