Upgrading the Finance Department: CFO Rebeca Sanchez Sarmiento

CFO Rebeca Sanchez Sarmiento still left at the rear of her equity analysis roots in New York for Los Angeles nearly a ten years in the past. She has held different company system and finance roles for private-equity-owned firms considering that then, landing her very first CFO gig at ATTOM Knowledge Options in January 2018.

Sanchez Sarmiento is coming up on one particular yr as the 1st CFO of R&D scientific application business Dotmatics. Dotmatics is a portfolio organization of Perception Companions, which has invested over $100 million, the very last funding round occurring in the 1st 50 % of 2021. By means of a series of M&A bargains, Dotmatics is tying jointly mission-important R&D programs with a unified end-to-stop built-in details platform to empower collaboration, workflow automation, and evaluation throughout biology, chemistry, formulations, and new procedure procedures. It is engineering “built by scientists, for scientists,” explained Sanchez Sarmiento.

The University of Chicago MBA has the task of upgrading the accounting, monetary reporting, and governance commensurate with requirements needed for a publicly held organization. She’s also employing for an FP&A team to incorporate to the around 35 associates in finance and accounting unfold during the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand — a 24/7 “almost totally functioning from household business,” Sarmiento mentioned.

In late June, I spoke to Sanchez Sarmiento about the company’s economical targets, the finance division buildout, and her job in M&A due diligence.


Rebeca Sanchez Sarmiento

CFO, Dotmatics

  • Initially CFO placement: 2018
  • Noteworthy previous businesses:
    • InvestCloud (CFO)
    • ATTOM Details Remedies (CFO)
    • Intelligent & Ultimate
    • Mattel
    • Deutsche Bank

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

VINCENT RYAN: What are the ambitions for the Dotmatics finance division?

Rebeca Sanchez Sarmiento: Building this conclusion-to-finish vertical system introduced a new established of issues. It has enabled us to get started contemplating about the upcoming iterations of the group from a finance standpoint. I really do not assume general public enterprise alternatives ended up automatically in the close to foreseeable future. Changes to the business model and the economics have authorized us to begin pondering about that.

I have concentrated on my possess team’s transformation over the past 6 to nine months. I have been investing in the staff, introducing much more specialized abilities and subject matter domain inside finance and accounting, and performing a large amount of get the job done all over units integration. And producing sure we have the suitable governance and procedures and processes [for being a public company].

Can you give us a few of particular illustrations of that transformation?

Sanchez Sarmiento: We have developed drastically by means of acquisitions due to the fact 2017, but 5 of the 10 acquisitions occurred past 12 months. When I begun final September, we experienced six accounting programs. We’re ultimately integrating all those units and developing the framework for our long term-state reporting demands. We’re shifting it all to 1 NetSuite application. 

Then the purpose is to layer on further resources and technologies inside that answer-established that will pace our [monthly close] and introduce [improved] workflows amid a globally dispersed group. In addition, [it will] enhance segregation of responsibilities and checks and balances amid the administration workforce and the supporting staff members.

We have absent by way of the system of reconfiguring how we want knowledge to move and what the info wants to search like. We have also reviewed our accounting guidelines to make certain standardization and harmonization throughout all the obtained company units. It has been a lot of configuration, demands making, and future-point out style and design.

The relaxation is scaling the business to make certain that we don’t just fulfill today’s wants but finally proceed the M&A ambitions. We want to produce procedures and composition to provide new acquisitions on board in a far more seamless way.

What are the properties you’re on the lookout for in FP&A job candidates?

Sanchez Sarmiento: Intellectual curiosity is very materials for me. Persistence, for the reason that you have to start out incredibly major and proceed peeling the levels of the onion to arrive at the root cause. And additional and much more technological abilities are required — perhaps even owning some programming history to leverage details and datasets and manipulate them promptly and proficiently. The fourth a single is definitely conversation abilities. They need to have to be capable to collaborate, to do the job across the business —  check with crystal clear, concise issues, and then turn all around and translate the results in [layman’s terms].

What are the financial ambitions for the enterprise in the next 12 months or so?

Sanchez Sarmiento: Our aim is to carry on doing what we have been performing productively, which is rising at around 30% per year on a professional forma natural basis, and continue on to assure that we are resolute in creating cash movement. … We’re now running at higher than 120% net retention [the percentage of recurring revenue retained from existing customers over a specific period]. That usually means we’re providing to our prospects, retaining them, and cross-marketing and increasing [their business with us.]

We proceed to be a “rule of 70” SaaS corporation, which means 30% expansion and the stability of that [40%] is coming from cost-free money stream era.

My team and I are really focused on deriving what we think are the ahead-seeking prospects of these acquisitions to assure extended-time period price development and the targeted return on expense, as perfectly as stress-tests the assumptions.

We’re incredibly privileged that we did two early funding rounds in the early levels and can fund our expansion internally. Significantly in this [economic] ecosystem of soaring desire fees and cash getting additional highly-priced, that is incredibly important. We are regularly making sure that we operate successfully, so we can spend in R&D and scale effectively, and with the harmony commit in foreseeable future M&A.

What role do you or will you perform in M&A bargains?

Sanchez Sarmiento: We have a committed workforce that scouts M&A prospective customers. Right now, we’re looking at extra than 1,200 purposes in the R&D computer software room and making an attempt to arrive at out to at least 30 or so regular to retain that pipeline warm. And our CEO Thomas Swalla is predominantly concentrated on M&A and supporting push people potential customers [toward a deal]. I see my purpose as a bit of a verify and equilibrium.  I am here partly to make sure we use our offered funds effectively and correctly. 

I will often debate and press on what valuations we use to people acquisitions. And certainly, my team and I are pretty centered on deriving what we believe are the ahead-searching prospective buyers of these acquisitions to ensure extensive-expression price creation and the targeted return on expense, as well as stress-screening the assumptions.

The other side of M&A is integration. We are incredibly concentrated on info integration as opposed to know-how integration, which is a crucial differentiator that will allow us higher accomplishment in M&A. When they merge, most program firms have to re-engineer the know-how alone. We produce a information layer that ties together the workflow procedure of the scientist. Which is exactly where our worth generation arrives from, ensuring that the info fabric supports all these programs and is really related with scientific research. That permits us to shift swiftly and create a better conclusion-user expertise.

Our M&A playbook [is not about] expense synergies. Instead, we’re obtaining mental abilities and the technological innovation that supports them. So, we treasure the R&D we acquire and test to obtain each way doable to proceed investing in it.

Disclaimer: Oracle NetSuite is a sponsor of CFO but had no input on the contents of this interview.