Consultant Spotlight: Michael Barry

My name is Michael Barry. I am one of the CFOs at Kranz Consulting and the Practice Leader of the Emerging Growth team. I originally come from Australia with Brisbane being my hometown. I have degrees in Economics and Accountancy from University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology. I moved to the US in 2006 for a two-year stint in New York and then returned in 2015 to Silicon Valley. My work history has been three distinct careers; firstly consulting which included PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hackett Group and Grant Thornton.  As a consultant, I worked with many well-known companies and improving their “Office of the CFO” operations. Beyond consulting, I took internal roles as Chief Financial Officer at several companies, which was a very different change of work style, pace and output.  I’m now in my third career where these two careers have merged to become a Consulting CFO, which I enjoy immensely.

Working in a post-pandemic world has been interesting to me, especially when team interactions and communications are involved. I am always more effective as a team member than I am as a solo producer of output. I have always been strong on team communication and collaboration. Being in a virtual work environment has made this more important than ever. I have found tools such as Teams, Zoom and even the old-fashioned phone calls to be the key to getting things done collaboratively. Up to 2019, there were even many clients who I had never seen their face but had spoken with extensively on teleconferences. These days, teleconferences are the exception rather than the rule, and I feel a closer connection with my team and my clients have been able to see their faces, body language and gestures. I am very interested to see how team collaboration evolves over the next five years as we (hopefully) move beyond the pandemic and are able to re-evolve in a more personal environment once again.

Having worked for 25 years in finance and accounting, I find my current role the most satisfying. I enjoy working with start-ups who have excellent creativity, good connections, and a passion to improve their space. I have only been with Kranz for four months, but have found its clients to be well resourced, highly skilled and a pleasure to work with. At the execution level, my passion is working with large datasets to discover themes, stories and surprises which are not obvious at first glance. I enjoy building and working with complex Excel models, whether they be data models, financial models for other insights to help gain strategic advantage.

My key focus when helping start-ups is to generate activities that guide decision behavior. A lot of energy is often spent managing, manipulating, and extracting data that ultimately has little to no effect on the decisions made with that information. I have had many conversations with clients who request complex processes, procedures, reports, and solutions to give them insights into their organization. However, unless that information is going to be translated into useful and actioned insights, there was no point doing it to begin with. Often, the best decisions are the ones made with the best data, the right data, and nothing superfluous to cause distraction. In one of my CFO roles some years ago one of the key metrics in our organization was causing unintended activity at the operational level. Although the KPIs in place were very standard in the industry they were driving outcomes which were ultimately substandard and drove poor business outcomes, working with my FP&A team, we worked to generate new KPIs, which drove positive and desired behaviors across the company. This new model improved profitability by millions of dollars annually, and business quality outcomes also improved. This is what I find most exciting about working with start-ups; driving the decisions that make the most difference and not spending time on the activities that are only peripheral to the key objectives.

My passions: Aviation and Disney.

My motto: There is no such thing as a short cut.

My hobby: Reading to learn and grow.