BurstPoint CFO speaks out on challenges, lessons learned

Name: Terenzio Volpicelli
Age: 37
Time with company: One year
Education: Graduate of Bryant University
Company headquarters: Westborough, Massachusetts
Number of employees: Fewer than 50
About the company: BurstPoint Networks offers a video content management and distribution system that allows organizations to take advantage of high-definition live or saved video to educate, collaborate and connect with others. The company website is

Nancy Weil: Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?

Terenzio Volpicelli: I started in finance right out of college working for the audit practice of Deloitte, then a “Big 6” accounting firm. I served a very diverse client base — from financial service companies to manufacturers to construction companies. After four years with the company, a growing, publicly held client recruited me as their financial reporting manager. I held several other positions before joining BurstPoint, primarily with high-tech manufacturers of software and hardware. Along the way, I refined my accounting and financial skills while gaining valuable operational, manufacturing and selling experience.

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

TV: I worked for one particular CFO on two separate occasions in my career. He taught me to view issues not just from an accountant’s point of view, but rather as a businessman — a decision that doesn’t pass the standard cost-benefit or ROI analysis may have a valid business purpose. He also taught me one of the most valuable business lessons I’ve ever learned — hire smart people and get out of their way!

Terenzio Volpicelli

NW: What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?

TV: Aside from the ever-changing regulatory environment and the rising costs of health benefits, I’d have to say the biggest challenge facing CFOs today is dealing with the effects of the economy and trying to combat periods of slow growth. In addition, U.S. businesses are still cautious in their capital spending. It’s no longer enough to go to market with an innovative technology. Vendors must now demonstrate to customers that they offer valuable products or services that enhance customers’ businesses, increase revenue, reduce costs or solve regulatory needs.

NW: What is a good day at work like for you?

TV: Making a successful new hire or solving a customer’s needs always puts a smile on my face.

NW: How would you characterize your management style?

TV: subscribe to the “Manage by Walking Around” philosophy. Good managers listen to employees, customers, vendors, analysts and even politicians. Doing so arms them with a wide variety of information that helps them to make more educated and strategic business decisions.

NW: What strengths/qualities do you look for in job candidates?

TV: Aside from having the technical capabilities to fulfill a job, a candidate must be trustworthy and demonstrate a strong work ethic. They should also be able to problem solve and think outside of the box.

NW: 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?

TV: Job applicants interviewing with me have already demonstrated that they have the technical skills necessary for a job. A good candidate takes the time to better understand my business by studying publicly available information on the company as well as the competitive landscape in which we operate. I also look for candidates to ask intelligent and intriguing questions and to demonstrate their creativity and strategic thinking.

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

TV: Being the CFO at an early-stage company allows me to dive into a variety of different aspects of the business, which, for me, is much more rewarding than simply directing a company’s finances and administration. At BurstPoint, I’m able to leverage my previous work experiences and contribute to the company’s manufacturing operations as well as its marketing and sales activities.

NW: What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

TV: love to play basketball. Unfortunately, I’ve spent that last two seasons in knee braces, so cooking dinner with my wife tends to be more the norm these days. We enjoy experimenting with different types of cuisine. It’s a great activity for couples to relax as well as to get creative.

NW: If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

TV: I have a knack at cooking. It runs in my family — my mother and her two brothers are chefs. I’d like to think that I could be one of those celebrity chefs you see on television that shares his family’s multi-generation-old recipes.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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