Dell CFO on How to Build a Finance Team

For team development, Tom Sweet, The Dell CFO is working on 4-5 different programs for the 5,000 new finance employee across the globe.

Tom Sweet took the position of financial chief at Dell in January of this year, and has been rocking the boat with some changes to the workforce. During the last 18 months, Dell has decreased its finance department staffing by about 10% using automation and technological tools to streamline the department. After the buyout by Michael Dell last year, Sweet has helped reorganize the company, focused on the private side of the industry. The CFO is now focused on investing in data storage and other technology driven areas while improving team development across the globe.

Tom Sweet’s main focus is running the business. He tries to think about the metrics and management of the enterprise first, as well as how to make it more efficient. In terms of team development, Sweet is working on 4-5 different programs for the 5,000 new finance employees they have in 80 countries. Senior level development programming consists of an 11-month comprehensive program that covers leadership and business models. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he says:

“But ultimately we believe that most development comes through on the job… At Dell we want you at the table and we want you there with a point of view, which means you have to understand the business, you have to have the capability and the skill set to speak your mind and go toe-to-toe with your general manager. I think our team has done a nice job of accepting that challenge.” (WSJ, CFO Journal)

As CFO, Tom Sweet is responsible for accounting, investor relations, treasury, financial planning and analysis, and taxes. Sweet served in many different leadership roles at the company prior to becoming CFO in January. He has been with the company for 17 years, previously as a controller and chief accounting officer.

Dell was founded in 1984 by Michael Dell and is an information technology business that sells computers, tablets, and notebooks. The business also provides a variety of server solutions for individuals and small businesses. Dell employs over 100,000 staff worldwide. The company went private late in 2013 in a buyout by owner Michael Dell.