Corporate Finance

CFO One-on-One: Craig Stack of ProKarma

CFO spoke to Craig Stack about the Cloud, and how his experience as a both a company owner and a C-Suite resident has prepared him for his present ...
Ed ZwirnJune 4, 2013

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CFO One-on-One: Craig Stack of
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Craig Stack wasn’t always in the Cloud. After 13 years as a CPA at Grant Thornton, where he specialized in technology consulting and auditing, Stack went on to purchase a wholesale distribution business, where he was president and CEO for nine years. He sold that business in 1999, and went back to professional services for a while. His present stint as CFO of ProKarma, a U.S. custom software development company with sales and delivery centers in the United States, India, Argentina and Peru, has placed him squarely in the Cloud: The entire ProKarma back office and front office is situated up there.

CFO spoke to Stack about the Cloud, and how his experience as a both a company owner and a C-Suite resident has prepared him for his present role and taught him to stay on the cutting—‘maybe even bleeding’—edge of technology.

CFO: Can you please describe ProKarma and your role in it?
Stack: ProKarma is a global IT solutions company. We operate in three countries, the United States, India and Argentina. Sales’ role is to make it rain. My role is to make sure it doesn’t flood.

CFO: How much of your business is being conducted through the Cloud? Is this a growing proportion?

Stack: Our strategy is to run 100% of our delivery, back-office, and front-office operations in the Cloud. Currently, we don’t run any on-premise software in the company. This strategy has allowed us to stay nimble while providing sufficient scalability.

CFO: Are clients with locally hosted systems more of an operational challenge than Cloud-based companies? How (if at all) does a client’s choice between SaaS and on-premise systems impact the tracking, analytics and other work you have to do on it as ProKarma CFO?

Stack: Our clients are primarily Fortune 2000 businesses with very large on-premise ERP and web-enabled systems. Our consultants are normally securely connected directly into their systems, so we don’t have any issues with Cloud versus on-premise systems. Finance and accounting normally will connect into our client’s browser-based web-enabled on-premise software to enter time and billing information.

CFO: I understand you were in business for yourself before taking on your present job. How have you found owning a company to be different than being a CFO?

Stack: As an owner of a business you feel the heartbeat of the entire organization. This is not something that can be taught, it needs to be experienced. This also gives you a 360 degree view of an organization that allows perspective on every function of the business. As ProKarma’s CFO, I am uniquely positioned to bring my perspective to running finance and accounting. Our department functions as an extension of our operation, sales and recruiting departments. Once everyone understands this basic tenant, your contribution to the success of the organization is optimized.

CFO: The last time we spoke you referred to yourself as a ‘technology agnostic.’ How does this play out in practice?

Stack: We stay at the cutting (maybe even bleeding) edge of technology. We need to understand where this fast-moving market is heading to effectively guide our customers. In finance and accounting, understanding current and future Cloud offerings and the integration of these technologies allows us to scale our operations with the most efficient combination of talent and technology.