Staying Ahead of the Curve: The Top 4 Communities for Finance Professionals
The traditional approach that finance directors and CFOs have taken when seeking solutions to workplace challenges is changing. In the past, these decision-makers may have been swayed by slick advertising campaigns or information presented at conferences. However, the landscape today is very different. Instead of relying on the same old resources, today's finance professionals are turning to alternative avenues for quick solutions to queries about people, processes, or technology.
One of the most important of these alternative avenues is "dark social." Put simply, dark social is a term used to describe the "invisible shares" and conversations that take place in channels such as Slack, WhatsApp, or SMS messages. This type of web traffic is essentially untraceable, and it is where you will find finance newcomers and experts in a private setting, discussing their jobs, careers, challenges, and needs for processes and automation.
Despite its name, dark social is not a part of the dark web, and it is not as secretive as it sounds. In fact, it has become a go-to resource for CFOs looking to quickly solve problems and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in finance.
As these decision-makers prioritize tech spending, they are inundated with emails from finance vendors seeking their attention. However, when a Slack channel is buzzing with activity, it is difficult for CFOs to resist taking a quick look.
If you're looking to stay ahead of the curve in the world of finance, there are four leading communities that you should be aware of.
Datarails, a financial planning and analysis platform for Excel users, launched its own global Slack community and resource hub for modern FP&A leaders last year. More than that, the FP&A Community is a safe space to connect with finance leaders from around the world who are dealing with similar challenges and willing to give real-time advice in order to see FP&A's best practices come to life. Some of the unbelievable FP&A talents in the group consist of:
Christian Wattig, former FP&A lead at Unilever, Squarespace and Procter & Gamble + runs FP&A Bootcamp (#1 course for FP&A)
Carl Seidman, FP&A Leader who works with Fortune 500 companies
Annette DeYoung, former FP&A lead at JL Clark and Berner Food and Beverage
Asif Masani, FP&A Manager, Coursera and FP&A Educator
Paul Barnhurst, aka The FP&A Guy, Host of FP&A Today has 12+ years of finance and FP&A experience, having worked in several industries, including the US government, travel services, finance, automotive, Cyber Security, and Ecommerce.
Established in 2020, CFO.chat is a Slack community exclusively for CFOs, providing a free platform for global professionals to connect, exchange ideas, and access expert advice and support to advance their careers and expand their networks. The community was created by Shiny, a marketplace for fractional executives, with the goal of replicating the same sense of community that has long been available to startup founders in the finance space.
For years, founders have had access to a wide range of Slack communities and Facebook groups to connect with peers, seek advice, and share ideas. Now, CFOs can do the same by joining CFO.chat, an inclusive and collaborative community that welcomes both part-time and full-time CFOs from all around the world.
Finance Alliance Community
In 2022, The Alliance, a professional development platform dedicated to high-growth organizations and individuals worldwide, launched The Finance Alliance. The goal of this initiative is to establish a global network of finance leaders who can support and empower each other to succeed in their current roles and beyond. The Finance Alliance has created a Slack community that is a welcoming, informal, and inspiring space for finance professionals to come together and discuss their ideas and experiences with like-minded individuals.
The Finance Alliance's Slack community covers a wide range of topics, from Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) to budgeting and forecasting, finance metrics, digital finance transformation, and more. They also provide insider tips to help members align with the C-Suite for optimal collaboration. As a result, whether you are a CFO, VP of Finance, Finance Director, Finance Manager, or an aspiring CFO, you will find a supportive community of peers who share your passion for finance and want to help you accelerate your career.
Off The Ledger
Airbase, a leading spend management software catering to businesses ranging from startups to IPOs, has launched a Slack community called Off the Ledger for finance and accounting professionals from all industries, including non-profits. This private space provides members with networking opportunities, advice, and exclusive events. Since its launch in January 2020, the community has witnessed phenomenal growth, with membership numbers skyrocketing from 50 to over 2,500 members.
Off the Ledger is a "sales-free zone," where accounting and finance professionals can interact and engage with each other on a wide range of topics, such as business trends, hiring, software recommendations, accounting treatment questions, and career guidance. Airbase identified the need for a platform that could bring together finance professionals to collaborate and share ideas online, leading to the creation of this community. When the pandemic hit and remote work became the norm, many professionals felt the absence of the camaraderie and collaboration of an internal team, leading to Off the Ledger's rapid growth.