Spendesk, the all in one spend management platform for modern finance teams, invited our CFO, Elodie Hadjidakis, to an interactive discussion at CFO Connect, the go to community and ressource hub for finance leaders in fast growing companies powered by Spendesk. 

Elodie has shared her finance career journey, with specific insight on being a first-time CFO in a fast growing startup environment, lessons from fer early career, working with large cap compagnies and PE firms, building and managing high performing teams, her favorite finance tools and more ! 

Patrick Whatman : So please, introduce yourself

Elodie Hadjidakis : I have been a CFO for six years now. I went to different compagnies. Before Habiteo which I am now I was in 360Learning. So now I am in the PropTech industry and before that I was in the EdTech industry. The first one is about Property and the second one is about Education […]

Patrick : Have you always been a finance person?

Elodie : Late in High School, I really love everything about economy. I was always attracted to math and when I went to College, it was obvious to go to something that was related to figures. I had to choose between to kind of finance : marketing finance and corporate finance. Marketing finance was to much theoretical, so corporate finance just appears to be a perfect match. 

Patrick : You starting with consulting roles in EY and Deloitte. Do you think that consulting is a good background for CFO? 

Elodie : Consulting gives you the opportunity to work on several projects, for several compagnies, with several people. It gave you the flexibility you need when you are a CFO. I had the chance to experience different kind of consulting : Strategy, Audit in EY and Transaction Services in Deloitte. When I was in Audit for example I learnt about organisation and the ability to « dig into the dirt » and really understand the mechanism behind it. In Transaction Services, it is very different : it is more about an analytical point of view and the ability to deal with pressure and deadlines. It is very demanding. In Strategy, I had the chance to work on so many subjects : it is about being able to handle any of them and having a methodology to solve a problem. Consulting really gives you a methodology for organization and nowadays I still use it. 

Patrick : What cause you to move from that area into startup? 

Elodie : It was a bit recurring : when you have an Audit you have one kind of report to give, when you are in Transaction Services you have due diligence. Of course, it is for different companies but it was a bit repetitive. I wanted to do something else. First, I was trying to go to PE firms (Private Equity Firms) or M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions). But I had the feeling that my day to day will be the same. I saw a job offer about a CFO role in a small company, and they said 4 years of experience. I had 3 years of experience at this time. When I applied for this job, I had really the feeling it was for me because I had the chance to create something I that I won’t be bored, I will learn so many thing. It was 360Learning!

Patrick : Give us a little more of an introduction about Habiteo

Elodie : Habiteo is a platform dedicated to property developers in new real real estate market. What we do is really automating real estate business process thanks to a proprietary modeling technologie. In simple words, what we do is we build marking tools for the futures buyers to be ables to project themselves into buying, into living and into working somewhere through 3D. We have industrialized the process and the 3D production, and we help our customers to reduce production cost. Our business model is between SaaS model and the industry model, because you have image production. It is really fascinating for a CFO because you have those two sides of finance. It is mainly for developers so we are talking about recurring customers who use it on every project. 

Patrick : What attracted you to this role?

Elodie : I was at a time in my career where I wanted to have more than a CFO role. I have been convicted by the vision of the company and found a real partner in my CEO. I wasn’t looking for a job but at this time I have met two or three CEOs, just to get information. And I met Jeanne : it was a match. We share the same values and we have the same vision about how to handle a company. For example, fund raising are great and needed but we have to keep focus. Financial stability is as well important as growth. You have this balance between these two. I like her and the scope she was offering me, a bit wider with the strategy, legal and IT point of views. It was the perfect opportunity at the right time. My team is not only finance.

Discover the full interview on VIMEO ! 

[AMA] Elodie Hadjidakis, CFO at Habiteo from CFO Connect on Vimeo.