CFO Interview: Leonora Teng VP of Finance for Evernote®

Evernote logoI’m a huge of fan of Evernote®, so I’m pretty excited about this latest interview with Leonora Teng, VP of Finance for Evernote®.

Enjoy!

Can you share with us your top 3 challenges in your role as a VP of Finance executive for one of the most talked about tech companies?

Leonora Teng (LT): I’d say 3 of the top challenges are: staying on top of the ever-growing business needs; managing the financial complexity accompanying the continuous growth of our international business; and implementing the right process to strike a balance between growth, creativity, and accountability.

How are you handling these challenges?

 LT:

  1. Everything starts and ends with people, with their capability and motivation.  So it’s a top priority for me to have a strong in-house team, as well as work with the best service providers who care about our company and whom I can rely on.
  2. The finance function does not exist in a vacuum; it needs to work hand-in-glove with the other groups in the company.  To that end, I place great emphasis on continuous dialogues with all functions across the organization.
  3. With such a fast-paced environment, decisions are often made quickly and sometimes mistakes are made.  I believe that it’s OK to make mistakes; we just need to learn from them and get better.  This goes for me, as well as everyone on my team.

What aspects of your job have you found rewarding working for Evernote® over the past year?

LT: The ability to help build something from the ground up and the knowledge that I make a difference are highly rewarding:  e.g establishing processes and policies that are suitable to the size/stage of the company and building a team that supports the business.  Also, being a part of a company whose product everyone loves!

If a brand new CFO/ VP of Finance approached you for advice, what would be the top 3 tips you could offer them?

LT:

Get to know your peers – the exec team, what drives them and what they’re after
Get to know your team – they’re the ones you need to rely on for your success!
Check the bank account – not a joke – we need to make sure we are living within our means

One of the themes we’re looking at this year is hiring & retaining top finance talent and developing a top notch finance team. Can you offer any tips and challenges you’ve faced in this area?

We have been lucky in that Evernote® is a great brand, so we continue to attract high caliber people.  To keep people engaged and contributing at a high level, I believe in giving them lots of flexibility and autonomy in completing their work, while I provide guidance where needed.

Thanks again to Leonora Teng for your time!

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