Finance professional Yoni Novak recently shifted from a working as a consultant to a post as the full-time CFO of Dialyze Direct, a Neptune, New Jersey-based provider of hemodialysis services for both homes and skilled nursing facilities.
He spoke with StrategicCFO360 about the transition, the most important skills for a CFO—and the best advice for those considering a career in finance.
You have held the role of CFO as both a consultant and full-time employee. Can you share the benefits to each role and how becoming a permanent employee at Dialyze Direct is an important step in your career journey?
They’re two very different roles. In an outsourced role, you get to see a lot of different companies and industries, but they tend to be shorter-term engagements and usually for a particular period of transition or transaction. Once that particular task or objective is accomplished, you’re on to the next. It can be very rewarding.
As a full-time CFO, you become involved in all aspects of the company, from operations to financial aspects, and you get involved with the executive and management team on all levels of the organization. In my journey from outsourced to in-house CFO at Dialyze Direct, I can have more impact on the financial decisions and the company’s trajectory and long-term profitability.
Dialyze Direct is growing quickly. How does that impact your position and responsibilities as CFO?
In a quick-paced environment like Dialyze Direct, every day is a new challenge, between opening new locations, expanding into new states and making acquisitions. With a growing company comes more team members of direct and indirect reports. Part of my role is to encourage my team and to keep them tuned into the ever-changing environment.
A large part of my role is to come up with creative solutions to solve growth challenges that didn’t exist a short time ago. Processes are also a big part of my role. One of the critical ways to manage growth effectively is to put strong processes in place to set your team up to address the current needs, but also allow room for the company’s growth.
What has been most rewarding about your experience at Dialyze Direct?
The entire company was premised on the co-founder learning to become a dialysis caregiver for his mother-in-law. That mushroomed into a desire to help others. Today, it’s the foundation of everything we do at Dialyze Direct.
Dialyze was a disruptor and the first to give skilled nursing patients the opportunity to receive dialysis in their residence. Knowing this makes me want to help the company succeed on every level, and frankly, I’m proud to be a part of the Dialyze Direct team.
What are the most important skills you bring to your CFO role? What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the finance profession looking to follow a similar career path?
You need to be able to deal with all the people and departments, and get them aligned to fit the company’s financial goals and values. You need to use budgeting, projections and asset management to understand the company’s financial outlook.
Challenge yourself. Practically, try to get a wholesome understanding of the financial statements as they relate to operations. This might mean taking on different kinds of projects than your normal day-to-day workload.
Always be a student. Take your CFO out to lunch and pick their brain. Sit with your direct supervisor and ask to pick their brain and understand how they look at the financial aspects of the company. Lots of people would be willing and happy to share their knowledge with you.