10 questions for NetProspex CFO Tom Rauker

Name: Tom Rauker

Age: 47

Time with company: 6 months

Education: BA in Business -- Accounting -- Worcester State College

Company headquarters: Waltham, Massachusetts

Revenue: Less than $10 million

Number of countries: 1 -- U.S.

Number of employees total: 25

Number of employees the CFO oversees: 2

About the company: NetProspex connects business-to-business companies with targeted, accurate business contact information, using crowdsourcing and a verification process that checks, and guarantees, the accuracy of contact details. Its website is http://www.netprospex.com.

1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?

I began my career at Deloitte & Touche in Boston as part of the audit practice. During my time at Deloitte I was lucky to be exposed to a great deal of industry segments, varying client sizes and entities both privately and publicly held. The growth potential at a firm like Deloitte, multiplied by the expectations that are placed on individuals to excel and succeed, is significant and gave me the tools to succeed long after I moved on.

2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?

Dave Lemoine, a partner at Deloitte, was the most influential boss. He initially recruited and hired me out of college and became a mentor to me during my career at the firm. The first lesson he taught me, which has stayed with me to this day, is the ability to tell a client or management that you don't know the answer to a question, but you know how to find it out. That lesson, along with his incredible sense of humility and loyalty, all have influenced who I am today.

3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?

Without question, recruiting and hiring qualified accounting and finance personnel. The profession has not done a great deal to attract the number of talented individuals that are in demand today. Much of this, in my opinion, is a failure of the industry to show the long-term growth and development opportunities that accounting as a skill gives individuals.

4. What is a good day at work like for you?

Any day that we as a management team exchange ideas, strategize for the future and listen and learn so that we are a more in-tune and intelligent management team.

5. How would you characterize your management style?

Very hands-off. I rely on team members to be responsible for their part. I rarely, if ever, manage from a standpoint of being a "boss." We are all a part of a team; we work together, not for each other.

6. What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?

Self-starters, individuals that are capable of initiative, working on tasks without supervision but able to reach out for help or the ability to seek out answers. Resourceful individuals that do not give up.

7. What are some of your tips on job interviewing for finance positions, and overall? When you are interviewing a candidate, how do you know whether he or she is a good fit?

In the first 10 minutes of an interview a candidate will usually push the interview in one of two directions, either talking or listening. The quickest and easiest way for me to make a negative decision on a candidate is when the candidate spends all of their energy telling me what they know, how they do things, how they will handle that situation, or what tools we should be using.

The candidate that asks me questions, digs in to clearly understand how our company works and strives to understand us usually gets me to the next phase of interviewing. The key is to listen to your candidate and ask whether they will integrate into your organization or, instead, try to make the organization fit them.

8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief finance positions?

The open communication across and between all levels of our company is definitely distinct and different. The finance team at this company is a resource, rather than a barrier. There is also a constant level of communication between all levels of the company, from the CEO to the interns.

9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

I have spent 25 years coaching youth sports -- football, hockey and baseball. There is nothing that removes me from a hectic day as effectively as working with young athletes.

10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?

Teaching history and coaching high school sports.

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