One Leader With Dual Roles

Serving as both CFO and CRO of Asset Panda, Justin Lackey has learned what it takes to lead in two different realms.

As CFO of asset management software company Asset Panda, Justin Lackey works largely behind the scenes, wrangling financials. Simultaneously, as CRO, he leads customer-facing teams, driving revenue. Having a dual role puts Lackey in a unique position, helping lead the company on two distinct fronts, for diverse client industries, from Amazon to Toyota to educational institutions like Penn State.

He spoke with StrategicCFO360 about his challenges and triumphs, and how young professionals can advance their careers.

Tell us about your dual roles at Asset Panda.

As the CFO, I oversee the financial aspects of our operations, encompassing forecasting, budgeting, P&L management, cash flow, pricing, accounting, billing and comprehensive analysis across Asset Panda.

As the CRO, I lead various customer-facing teams, responsible for sales of new customer acquisitions, growth and retention strategies, and the oversight of Asset Panda’s implementation and support teams, crucial in facilitating the onboarding and support processes for our existing customer base.

What is your background and what brought you to Asset Panda?

Over the course of my career, I have garnered extensive experience in traditional finance within both private and public sectors. My background includes roles in SaaS companies affiliated with Vista Equity, notably at Active Network—a SaaS firm specializing in event-related payment processing. My involvement extended post-acquisition by Global Payments, wherein I managed areas such as pricing, FP&A, revenue forecasting, cash management and diverse accounting responsibilities for Active Network and other tech-vertical SaaS companies.

Continuing my journey, I transitioned into strategic revenue operations before assuming my current roles as CFO and CRO at Asset Panda. Within these positions, I’ve been instrumental in aligning sales, marketing and customer success teams through strategic frameworks, streamlined processes and technology tools. My goal is to optimize revenue generation and customer retention by identifying key metrics, implementing best practices and harnessing data-driven technologies.

As an executive, effective communication has been pivotal. I’ve honed my skills to communicate clearly with executive leadership in both realms of expertise. Simplifying intricate matters to offer actionable insights has been my focus. I take pride in distilling complexity into understandable concepts that drive informed decisions.

What has been your biggest success so far at Asset Panda?

A significant achievement involved automating company performance insights. By leveraging tools such as for customer health tracking and account prioritization, alongside for call transcriptions and insights, we enhanced employee efficiency.

We also established 24/7 global client support and bolstered annual contract value through pricing assessments and deal desk strategies. Collaborating with the marketing team led to an optimized inbound selling approach, an ongoing endeavor.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Navigating diverse client industries while avoiding overly ambitious endeavors has been a challenge. Crafting a universal pricing model proves formidable due to our industry-agnostic approach. Remote operations bring advantages and drawbacks, with sustaining team engagement in the virtual setting presenting distinct difficulties. The high customization of our product adds complexity to obtaining timely actionable and automated insights.

What advice do you have for young IT professionals just entering the field?

Be curious. Actively seek out projects that align with your interests and contribute to the organization’s goals. Spend time with various departments to grasp their objectives, challenges and metrics of success. This holistic perspective will enable you to provide more effective support and foster collaboration across teams.

Measure the impact of your contributions. Strive to quantify the impact of your work whenever possible. Demonstrating how your efforts save time, increase efficiency or enhance outcomes will not only showcase your value but also highlight your commitment to the organization’s success.

Embrace opportunities. Early in your career, saying “yes” to a range of projects, even if you’re shadowing or assisting, can be immensely beneficial. Each experience provides insights, expands your skill set, and helps you identify your strengths and interests.

Learn to manage your calendar. Effective time management is a skill that grows more critical as you advance in your career. Learn to prioritize tasks, allocate time wisely and avoid overcommitting. A well-organized calendar ensures you stay productive and balanced.

Find role models. Engage with industry thought leaders and professionals on platforms like LinkedIn to gain insights into emerging trends and innovative ideas. Additionally, seek mentors within your organization who embody not only professional excellence but also qualities that align with your values.

Build relationships. Coffee chats and casual conversations with colleagues can foster camaraderie and facilitate knowledge sharing. Networking within your organization enhances teamwork and creates a supportive work environment.

Challenge tradition and innovate. Don’t accept the status quo unquestioningly. Analyze existing processes and methods and be willing to suggest improvements. A culture of innovation drives growth and prevents stagnation.

Expand comfort zones. Seek out opportunities to improve your public speaking skills, whether through presentations, workshops or meetings. Stepping out of your comfort zone cultivates self-confidence and enhances your ability to convey ideas effectively.

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