CFO Thought Leader: Telling Your Story in Real Time

Craig Nickerson, CFO, insightsoftware

When it comes to newbie accountants, few clients are more coveted within the realm of public accounting than those preparing for an IPO. So it was back in the early 1990s, when Craig Nickerson found himself knee-deep in CPA envy after having served not one but five of his firm’s IPO-minded tech clients. Today, Nickerson credits his IPO client streak to having aligned himself with a well-connected senior partner widely known in Florida’s tech community for his IPO savvy.

Fast-forward to the late 1990s, and Nickerson is living in Beijing after having been tasked with helping to set up a Chinese manufacturing plant for a client company that he had joined as a controller. “It was the Wild West,” explains Nickerson, who recalls the added complexities of business dealings involving large amounts of cash. “As they said in China, an executed contract is just the start of a negotiation.”

Nickerson, who would later ascend the finance leadership ladder at a string of private equity–backed companies, observes that “anyone can be a good CFO when the numbers are up and to the right … but being a good CFO is about having the fortitude to stick with your investment thesis through good times and bad times.”

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