The Cloud

Facing Competition, FinancialForce Taps Seasoned CFO

The ERP cloud provider names a Silicon Valley finance chief experienced in IPOs and spinoffs.
David KatzAugust 24, 2017

FinancialForce, an enterprise resource planning vendor that operates on Salesforce’s cloud-based platform, today named seasoned Silicon Valley senior finance executive Gordon Brooks as its finance chief, replacing John Bonney.

Gordon Brooks

Gordon Brooks

Although FinancialForce had nothing to say about any intention to go public, Tod Nielsen, the company’s chief executive officer, singled out Brooks’s experience in leading “a successful IPO” in praising Brooks’ 20 years of experience in senior finance roles at various companies.

His breadth of experience in leading companies through both growth and various stages of capital development — including a successful IPO — is perfectly suited to help FinancialForce achieve and exceed its goals,” Nielsen, a former Salesforce executive who became FinancialForce’s CEO in January, said in a press release.

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“My role is to help drive the next stage of growth and development of the company. The key endeavors include providing operational and business guidance to our CEO, Tod Nielsen, and the executive leadership; evaluating and monitoring resource and investment opportunities as we drive our operating plans; maturing the finance and accounting infrastructure; and evolving key business processes to support our growth and future scale,” Brooks told CFO in an email.

Is there, then, an IPO in the company’s immediate future?

“Our number one priority is to build a growing and sustainable business to take advantage of the market opportunity ahead of us. If an IPO is the right vehicle in the future to help realize this goal, then we will certainly consider it at the right time,” Brooks says.

In joining FinancialForce, one of CFO‘s 2017 Tech Companies to Watch, Brooks steps into an increasingly competitive cloud ERP sector. On July 25, for example, U.K. ERP provider Sage Group announced that it was buying Intacct, an 18-year-old  U.S. accounting software company, for $850 million.

The merger will no doubt buttress Intaact, which like FinancialForce, is integrated into the Salesforce platform. To Fred Studer, FinancialForce’s chief marketing officer, however, the merger “creates a tremendous opportunity” for his company. “Not only does this validate market interest in and business value of cloud ERP, it gives us the edge in delivering our differentiated value to new prospects during this time of uncertainty for Sage and Intacct customers,” he said in a statement.

Most recently, Brooks, the new finance chief, was designated by the software provider Citrix as the CFO of its GoTo software-as-a-service division, which was being spun out as an independent company with the intent to complete a public offering. During the process, “we determined that the best outcome for shareholders was for Citrix to spin out the division and to merge with another public company, LogMeIn (LOGM), in a Reverse Morris Trust transaction,” he says. “The merger with LOGM was successfully consummated in January 2017, bringing my tenure to closure.”

Prior to that, Brooks was CFO at Aerohive Networks, where “he led the company through a successful IPO,” according to FinancialForce. From 2009 to 2012, he served as finance chief of network provider Blue Coat Systems. “What differentiates FinancialForce from [my] previous endeavors is the leverage we gain from being built on the Salesforce platform,” he adds.

John Bonney

John Bonney

Earlier this year, FinancialForce announced that it had reached a run rate of $100 million in annual revenue, one of its stated goals.  In an interview in April, outgoing CFO Bonney noted that the company was growing just north of 40% a year in revenue, noting that $100 million was an inflection point on the road to becoming a $1 billion company.

Bonney, who will stay on with the company until October to aid in the transition, is “passionate about building companies at an earlier stage,” says Sandra Lo, vice president of global public relations and analyst relations at FinancialForce.