To achieve staying power in Silicon Valley, top talent is a must. We’ve been lucky to attract 10 new finance and accounting pros to help companies go further, faster. These new additions to our dream team are helping startups advance, navigating high-growth companies around the chaos, and showing businesses in transition the way forward. Here’s a brief introduction to the latest finance experts to join our team:

Kathy Braach 

Kathy is an asset to any small business she helps. She takes on their payroll, AP/AR, profit and loss statements, general ledger work, reconciliations, books closings, banking, fixed assets, budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting.

Bert Chan

Bert is helping our Sarbanes-Oxley clients with their IT-related issues and project management needs. He most recently was a Sarbanes-Oxley project manager at Vaco, and he was previously a an internal audit director and IT audit manager at UTi Worldwide.

Taj Gulamani

Taj is a CFO pro who operates at a strategic level to navigate companies forward. His consulting career includes serving as a CFO Nuru Energy and Cradle Technologies. In addition to consulting for AMD, LAM Research, NDS Surgical Imaging and Antek Peripherals, he’s held senior finance roles at HGST and MMC Technology.

Anne Johnson 

Another CFO ace, Anne was most recently the CFO at furniture company KBM-Hogue. An alum of KPMG, Anne’s skills include financial reporting, budgeting and modeling, FP&A, strategic and operational planning, and accounting operations.

Karie Liu 

Karie knows general operational accounting, general ledger work, reconciliations, closing books, fixed assets, payroll, employee benefits, HR, cash flow and forecasting, audits and financial reporting. She previously worked at Machine Zone, CrowdStar and Playphone.

Danika Neumann

Danika is a newcomer to our team who supports small businesses with their general accounting needs. She previously worked for accounting firm Newland and Co.

Jackie Neumann

Jackie’s areas of experience include payroll, AP/AR, audit prep, GL work, reconciliations, closing books, banking, fixed assets, budgeting and forecasting, and financial reporting.

Rose O’Connor

Rose helps small businesses as she works on contracts, financial accounting, reporting, budgeting, audits, day-to-day operations, operational accounting and finance, and general ledgers. A Moss Adams alum, Rose most recently worked at a nonprofit.

Jennifer White

Jennifer’s experience includes public accounting (she’s an E&Y alum), corporate accounting and corporate finance, and she has a strong focus on process improvement and cycle-time reduction. Jennifer has worked at Plantronics, Extreme Networks and Applied Materials.

Yuki Tegarden

Yuki was most recently at Techpoint, where she served as CFO and managed their IPO process. Her expertise in public accounting, revenue recognition, and operational finance will come in handy as she supports our Technical Accounting Group. She began her career at Deloitte and then worked as a senior revenue manager at Seagate Technology.

RoseRyan brings the right finance solutions at just the right time to companies in and around Silicon Valley. It’s made possible through the mix of finance expertise and specialized skills our consultants offer when companies need to power through a tricky transaction or a strategic finance issue.

We’d love to hear from you if you know a finance ace who would love to be a part of our “Top Workplace” and our award-winning culture. Thanks for referring great candidates our way, by reaching out to our talent expert Michelle Hickam at [email protected].

For three years running, RoseRyan is being recognized as a Top 100 Workplace! This year, we’re ranked 11th in the small companies category, surging up the Bay Area News Group’s Top WorkplacesTM list by 25 spots.

What did it take to get here? It’s all about our employees—they filled out confidential surveys and gave us high marks. Their votes of confidence in our organization is affirmation of our distinctive culture and how we do things. The survey takers concluded RoseRyan has strong overall organizational health and job satisfaction.

Finding the right fit

It feels right. When consultants join our firm, that’s the sense they get. They’re in the right place, at the right time in their career. They’ve accumulated the level of skills and experience in finance and accounting to seamlessly become a valuable part of finance teams in some of the world’s fastest moving companies, leaning on their past experience to deftly solve problems and tackle tricky transactions. Our consultants come in at just the right time to bridge a gap or to help clients get things done. We help companies build solid finance foundations, take the next step forward, meet their milestones and make the right finance moves.

Top Workplaces 2017

The sense of accomplishment our gurus feel as they get things done in the field is just one of the many reasons why our employees are happy here. And it contributes to why, even in this tight talent market, we are able to attract so many new consultants to our dream team.

A magnet for top talent

At RoseRyan, our consultants work in the best of both worlds—stimulated by a variety of challenging assignments at cool companies while also taking part in our own firm’s culture that’s open, supportive and connected.

This year’s Top 100 Workplaces survey results highlight three stellar strengths about our workplace:

  • Alignment: It’s all about teamwork and positive attitudes. Our culture is built upon a clear set of values. Employees feel their work is appreciated and meaningful.
  • Connection: We have a distributed workforce—most of our employees are continuously embedded in various client sites—but we all manage to keep bonded and well-informed about what’s going on, thanks to regular communications from CEO Kathy Ryan and a variety of employee-led special projects and activities.
  • Effectiveness: To achieve the best possible results for clients, we actively encourage different viewpoints from consultants. It’s a smart way of carrying out due process on a solution—and it keeps fresh ideas flowing when employees know their opinions are meant to be heard.

We have a reputation for helping with the right finance skills at just the right moment to calm the chaos or restore order when needed. Perhaps a company is going through a rough patch or needs a gap filled on the team. Our gurus’ natural tendency to “get things done” fast and efficiently from doing it so many times before translates into happy clients. And the positive feedback our consultants receive adds to their job satisfaction.

We love getting things done here in Silicon Valley and it shows. We excel at helping innovative companies reach their milestones, shift gears quickly and surge ahead. And we’re thrilled it’s getting noticed.

Like what you see here? If you think you’d fit right in with the RoseRyan culture and you have the right stuff, we’d love to hear from you. We’re always on the lookout for top talent—full-time and part-time. Contact Michelle Hickam at [email protected].

It’s all about who you know. In the high-velocity world of cannabis companies, this mantra is so true. When starting out or expanding into new territory, with limited resources and an uncertain future, companies often don’t have all the knowledge, skills or talents they need in-house. A well-built ecosystem provides a solid network of trusted partners that can help them thrive, guide them through sticky situations and offer them levels of expertise that fall outside their internal capabilities.

Solid partnerships are a must for fast-moving companies poised for growth. There are so many strategic decisions on the table that they need to tread carefully at every step. We’ve seen a lot of ingenuity to date with cannabis companies planning for the legal adult-use market in terms of developing promising partnerships, with tight supply chains tying together growers/cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, dispensaries and the like.

In our series of blog posts on the cannabis market so far, we’ve covered strategy setting and lessons learned from other industries. Another critical success factor is identifying the right set of strategic partners, to develop symbiotic relationships that will help the company move forward fast, stay agile and maintain the level of integrity to make it in this increasingly legalized sector. The host of regulatory, compliance, finance, accounting, HR and other issues facing this industry make it essential to easily access experts, specialists and consultants where and when you need them.

Order of the day: A well-rounded support system

It’s not a matter of doing a search on Yelp for the best attorneys in town—professional services are word-of-mouth businesses. You need to find the right partners—accountants, tax advisors and other pros who are a good fit for your company, know your industry and can work well with you for years to come.

To develop and nurture an ecosystem that will be flexible to your changing needs and growth, keep the following principles in mind.

  • Establish relationships early. Things can change fast, so you need an ecosystem of trusted advisors you can call upon when needed. Once you firm up a relationship with someone you trust, you’ve got a go-to source for references for other partnerships. Ask the professionals you trust who they trust!
  • Look for the kind of partners that can grow with you. Your needs are going to change at every stage of growth. So, look for people who have worked not only at startups if that’s where you’re at now, but also larger companies. Be sure the people on board have worked at different size companies across various levels of growth and lived through different milestones. An IPO or merger may seem light years away, but you want people who will help you think of such future possibilities for when the time for a mega transaction does arrive. You don’t want to hit a roadblock just as you’re trying to go forward.
  • Be sure they’ll give you real-world advice. When you’re in an industry that’s in the midst of gathering real steam, news about competitors is hard to come by. Some service providers are just now getting their heads around the industry following California’s approval of adult-use cannabis in November 2016. Potential partners who are already in the trenches are your eyes and ears as to what others in your field are doing.
  • Seek out a mix of experiences. How much experience does your partner have with cannabis companies like yours? How much attention do they pay to the industry and the regulations that affect it—not just state regs but the FDA and other compliance issues? You want to partner with people who have worked closely with fast-growing startups, such as tech companies, and highly regulated industries, such as biotech and life sciences companies, and know the likely challenges you’re going to face on your journey.
  • Prioritize transparency. Trust is huge in this space. You need to know who you’re dealing with as you develop any tightly wound partnership. Get the answers you need to ensure that you can trust what they’re doing for you now and later on.

Gather a well-rounded team

View the network of partners you build around your company as a strategic team. Do these partners have your back? Will they work alongside you and keep your best interests in mind at all times—or do they have an “us vs. them” mentality?

You’ll probably appreciate a partner in each of these categories:

  • Tax: You want to keep on top of reporting and filing deadlines at the federal, state and local levels, and be sure the information you provide can stand up to an audit.
  • HR/benefits: Outsourced benefit providers can keep you honest by ensuring you pay employees properly and meet your payroll tax obligations. Also, they best know the labor laws and what you need to do to be in compliance.
  • Legal/compliance: It would be a mistake to wait until you hit a legal snag to call in the lawyers. Many questions arise—protecting intellectual property, making sure that you’re making moves within legal limits, hiring and firing employees appropriately—and you need someone you can trust to bounce off ideas and get actionable advice in return.
  • Finance and accounting: A solid finance foundation will set apart cannabis companies. Finance experts can lay the groundwork for financial discipline and a workable set of internal controls, reliable reporting, and a mindset that’s ready for investors.

Partner up for the future

The challenges facing cannabis-related companies are huge. You need to be agile in an ever-changing environment, set up a strategy and foundation that will last and grow, all while getting your product out there, keeping watch on compliance matters and operating efficiently. Partners that know what you’re going through can guide you on the best moves to make. They have you covered for what you don’t know.

In an industry that is still half in the shadows—legalized only in parts of the country and not yet at the federal level—companies that can show they have always had a solid reputation will differentiate themselves. Be sure the partners you choose are highly professional with values and principles that match yours. The connections you forge now should be seamless, with you and your partners having the same goals in mind—to help you reach your milestones and achieve growth.

Maureen Ryan, vice president, heads up business development at RoseRyan. From the early startup to the large enterprise, she has seen the emotional rollercoaster of finance challenges at cannabis businesses, tech companies and other fast-paced organizations. Maureen spent her early career in various engineering, sales and marketing roles at Nortel Networks, Bay Networks, Quantum Corp. and General Dynamics.

Chris Vane is a director at RoseRyan, where he leads the development of the finance and accounting consulting firm’s cleantech and high tech practices. He helps fast-moving companies calm the chaos at any stage. He can be reached at [email protected], or call him at 510.456.3056 x169.

A giant window opened up when Californians approved the adult use of cannabis a few months ago. Startups and companies looking to expand are taking advantage of the opening, but they have to act fast. As time goes on, it’s going to keep narrowing and could completely shut down once big businesses start streaming into the market.

That’s just one of the many threats facing entrants to this space, where it’s illegal at the federal level, legalization is limited to a handful of states for now, financing options continue to be finite, and tax questions will persist for some time. Amid the risks lies real potential, and we’re running a series of blog posts on how cannabis businesses can set themselves up to fully embrace it.

During this exciting time, it’s essential for these companies to set a solid foundation that includes realistic assumptions about their viability and the competitive landscape over the next five years. To get started, we suggest folding in the following six questions as you prepare for a successful entry or expansion into the cannabis industry.

1. What’s the vision?

Work out a strategic vision and develop a roadmap to get you where you want to go. Here’s where you plot out how big and fast you hope your business will grow based on a host of assumptions. These assumptions need to be realistic and include plans for bumps along the way. Reach out to experts who know the space and have experience navigating similar territory.

2. What’s your value proposition?

You’re entering a hot market and the rivalry is going to be tough. Your value proposition needs to be defensible, to not only win over investors but to be sturdy enough to withstand a dynamic environment. Think of the roadblocks potential rivals will put in your way. Can you stop them with what differentiates your company and product from the rest?

Zero in on the unique value your company adds to the sector, and consider how that may evolve as you prepare to go to market. Without understanding your true value, you will be lost in the ever-increasing competition.

3. How can you build in agility?

From the get-go, aim for a corporate culture that practices strong operational and business know-how and can handle rapid change. Volatility is going to be with this industry for awhile, so build up and plan for nimbleness that can handle these change drivers:

  • Scalability: When the time comes, will what you’re developing be able to scale fast? Why or why not?
  • Competition: You’ve got a great idea and so do a lot of other entrepreneurs. Factor in realistic competitive pressures and how you’ll beat them or ride them out.
  • Deals: Opportunities and markets will open up—and when they do, you’ll need to be ready so that you can act fast. Be sure your house is in order so that you’re able to quickly take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
  • Complexity: It’s an ongoing reality—regulations for one thing are uncertain and will change. As your business grows, so will the challenges you’ll face. How will the business stay on top of regulatory changes and adjust when necessary?
  • Unexpected risks: When operating in uncharted territory, expect the unexpected, and prepare to pivot. That’s exactly what a Bay Area nursery did after their crops were stolen twice—the founders shifted their model from harvesting buds of cannabis plants to selling clones. This move differentiated them in the marketplace and gave them a way to get their product to market faster.

4. What’s your fundraising strategy?

Founder and family cash can run out mighty quickly. Be sure you know your cash flow for the next one, six and twelve month time frames for your operations. Map out a strategy for getting you through the ups and downs of the start stage and propelling you toward the growth phase.

Think through who you want your investors to be, how you’ll find them, and your expectations for what you want from them. Investors look for management teams that possess strong financial discipline. How efficient can you be with your use of funds—how will you make the most of it?

5. How can you ensure you always have an “A” team?

Throughout the lifecycle of your business, your skills needs will shift, but you’re always going to want top talent. When you’re not at the point of hiring full-time employees for all spots and specialties, you can lean on outside assistance to ensure that you have the right talent when needed, you don’t burn out the people you have, and outside assistance can fold in best practices for knowing when to hire up.

This isn’t a dilemma that should weigh you down with worry—in fact, it should bring relief. Get to know top-notch consultants who can expertly guide you on when a position should be outsourced or brought in-house.

6. How are you building in room to grow?

Everything feels “here and now” when you’re starting up a new venture, but long-term value is a goal you’ll want to start climbing toward ASAP. How can you build up a loyal client base and keep expanding it? How capital efficient can you operate to withstand the unexpected twists and turns ahead?

Create tight partnerships with a built-out ecosystem of specialists and experts (look for growth partners who have the expertise to help you expand and grow quickly) to help you make smart choices.

Ready to hit the gas?

What’s needed now is a clear picture for how the company will progress over the next few years. If it’s hard to envision on your own, experts who have followed similar journeys can work with you to develop a roadmap that clears the way forward. It should be built on best practices, clear checkpoints and helpful guidance. And leave some avenues open in case you need to course correct.

Use these questions to look past your present demands and adopt a forward-thinking mindset, and access the kind of knowledge and expertise that can help you make sure you’re going in the right direction.

Maureen Ryan, vice president, heads up business development at RoseRyan. From the early startup to the large enterprise, she has seen the emotional rollercoaster of finance challenges at cannabis businesses, tech companies and other fast-paced organizations. Maureen spent her early career in various engineering, sales and marketing roles at Nortel Networks, Bay Networks, Quantum Corp. and General Dynamics.

Chris Vane is a director at RoseRyan, where he leads the development of the finance and accounting consulting firm’s cleantech and high tech practices. He helps fast-moving companies calm the chaos at any stage. He can be reached at [email protected], or call him at 510.456.3056 x169.