2021 marks our 25th Anniversary!
We are celebrating throughout the year by engaging in a variety of service projects and making financial contributions to 25 very meaningful non-profits.
As I reflect on this 25th anniversary, I am immediately thinking: where did the years go? A lot has happened since 1996. We started vcfo as virtual cfo, a heavily borrowed name these days, but one for which we hold the trademark. We pioneered the concept of fractional work as an alternative to an in-house team.
In our early days, Tivoli had just done an IPO in Austin, a remarkable event in the timeframe, making millionaires out of many Austinites and proving the investment model that Austin Ventures had been following with their investments in local tech. Tech here surged after that, only to go bust in a few years. The Austin economy diversified more broadly after that and we did as well, both in our client mix and our geographic expansion to Dallas, Denver, Houston, and Seattle.
Through the years, I have had the privilege of working with so many talented team members here at vcfo. Together we have supported more than 5,000 incredible teams of entrepreneurs. Oftentimes, these teams meet us worried that they don’t know enough about finance, but with an awareness they need help. I’ve often told them, and it is truer today than ever – thank you for coming to see us, as we wouldn’t have a job if you weren’t doing the critical work of innovation and job creation that you are doing.
I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had to build and lead this company over the past twenty-five years. Not everyone gets up every morning enjoying what they do and looking forward to more of it as I do.
I am also pleased to be able to give back to the community. This was modeled for me 26 years ago, when an entrepreneurial parent in our son’s school gave a $10,000 check from his company to support a reading program. As a PTA member working on the program, I saw how immensely impactful that gift was, and for the first time I saw a company giving money without expectation of any marketing return. He gave it because it was needed, and he could do it. That was eye opening and heavily influential to the actions of vcfo. To celebrate this milestone, we are investing in a year of giving rather than a big celebration by honoring 25 special nonprofits with our time and financial contributions.
To colleagues, clients, and friends in the market past and present, thank you for your trust and for the opportunity to work together. The individual relationships and friendships from the years are without question the best part of this anniversary.
— Ellen Wood
Co-Founder and CEO
VCFO THROUGH THE YEARS
JUST SOME OF THE NON-PROFITS WE PROUDLY SUPPORT
25 YEARS OF RELATIONSHIPS
Chief Compliance Officer, EVP
Years with vcfo: 24 years
I joined vcfo on January 1, 1997. There are for sure some significant memories and experiences I’ve had during the twenty-five years that I’ve been with the business: the “Year 2000” computer program crisis where all our accounting programs were predicted to stop working after December 31, 1999; the dot.com valuation bubble and ensuing correction in 2002; the Great Recession of 2008-2009; and of course, the impact of COVID-19 on how we now work and communicate with one another. Still, thinking back over all these years, perhaps the memories that remain of most value reflect what were the earliest days of our company. The principles and goals we set out to achieve early was not a long list, but the list has had long-lasting value.
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Principles and Values
Ready to Play: In alternative business settings, some might refer to this as ready to perform. However, the distinction we made to this concept early always included the message to have fun! It was always important to us and our team to remember that our roles were more than a job – they were chances for us to identify and perform those roles we just plain enjoyed doing.
Perseverance: In business, as in life, adversity is guaranteed to come. How you react to that adversity is a reflection of the person that you are. Being part and relying on our team has always been a strength of vcfo that has enabled us to meet and overcome the challenges that have been thrown our way.
Respect: Perhaps an over-used word, respect comes down to living the golden rule: to treat others as you treat and respect yourself. Respect can be discussed and presented in words, but our actions have truly identified our willingness to go above and beyond what’s called for when working with our customers, partners, and our internal team.
Loyalty: If you had asked me twenty-five years ago if I would have a single career with the same business, I would have predicted that was highly unlikely. (In fact, I have worked for the same boss for the past twenty-nine years.) The basis for this long-lived connection and relationship comes down to the trust we have in one another. More so, it’s the trust we have in one another to make the difficult but right long-term decisions about how we go about performing our services. Loyalty is related to respect but broader in its application. It’s something rare to have in my experience but an experience that is highly cherished at vcfo.
Growth and Potential: There are many opportunities to learn and apply knowledge at vcfo. Our day-to-day activities and experiences are ever evolving and for me, the diversity of experience offered was as evident on our first day as it is on this our twenty-fifth anniversary.
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Is there more that could be shared or said from those early days? Well, yes. I remember the first clients we worked with, the large and slower desktop and tower computer systems we had back then, working from our kitchen tables and cardboard boxes that contained our company folders and records. I remember transferring files and data on floppy disks and doing hard drive backups onto manual tape drives. I remember Netscape as the standard internet browser and using AOL accounts for email. We’ve certainly come a long way in twenty-five years and life happened to all of us along the way. Still, the earliest values of who we are remain evident to me today. They are part of our DNA and who we are as we celebrate this milestone. Happy Silver Anniversary, vcfo! Here’s to the next twenty-five years!
Senior HR Consultant
Years with vcfo: 7 years
Corporate Accounting Assistant
Years with vcfo: 6 years
If you could pick one theme for vcfo to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?: Generosity. My friend, Cheryl Wilson, told me about her new job here and told me there was a potential job opening for corporate. Intrigued, I asked her more about the company and then I researched it. The core values on the website were displayed differently back then – I think it listed 10 values but giving back to the community was one of them. This was important to me as giving and generosity is a personal core value. In my role, I soon saw that it wasn’t a core value in word only, but was lived out. Now six years later, on our website, it isn’t just one of our core values but has now been elevated to one of the top three goals and is called vcfogives. I have seen our commitment to generosity grow and I’ve seen it manifested in vcfo’s accounts payable, and I see it personally in our leaders. We have all learned that giving not only blesses the recipient but also the giver. I believe vcfo continues to reap blessing because vcfogives continues to be a priority. What are three words to describe vcfo?: Generous, experienced, and helpful.
John Sertel, Jr .
Senior Human Resources Consultant
I joined vcfo as a Sr. HR Consultant in late 2020 and have the pleasure of working with a great client base with no two days ever being the same. The variety of work and the relationships I’ve established with my clients has been really refreshing. Our consulting team as well as our internal corporate staff are all top-notch professionals that are extremely helpful and are a constant resource for collaborative ideas. I truly enjoy my role with vcfo and really enjoy being part of such a great team. The training, tools, and resources vcfo provides to ensure we are successful in our roles has been evident from my first day of employment and shows clearly that individual development is a priority for our organization. Happy 25th Anniversary to vcfo! The tenure of success is a testament to the top-level services provided by our F&A and HR consulting teams.
Years with vcfo: 3 years
Consulting Senior Controller
Years with vcfo: 15 years (in May!)
I have had the pleasure of working with vcfo for the past 15 years. The list of clients during my tenure include tech, oil and gas, financial services, non-profit, manufacturing, and education totaling over 50 various businesses. I have been fortunate to work with one client for the entire 15 years that I have been with vcfo and another for 13 years. Time flies when you enjoy what you are doing and the people you work with. I have vcfo to thank for making that possible for me. Happy 25th Anniversary.
Dallas Practice Manager & Consulting CFO
Years with vcfo: 4 years (in May!)
If you could pick one theme for vcfo to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?: I think this should be focused on the dramatic differences we have made through our work. It’s so much more than it may appear. Over the last twenty five years, vcfo has woven a powerful mosaic in which our work has transformed companies, whether by helping build them into a more robust version of themselves, saving them from financial missteps or disasters or by assisting to pivot companies into a more sustainable future. The end effect of all this is vcfo has helped individuals, families, companies and the public good more than we can possibly know. What are three words to describe vcfo?: Turning information into knowledge and then into wisdom (I know. More than three words.)
Years with vcfo: 5.5 years
I chose and enjoy working for vcfo for many reasons. vcfo targets companies in their critical growth stage when they are going through many related challenges and it is very rewarding to work with them during this period. The variety of clients – non-profits, professional services, SAAS providers, just to name a few – and the ability to work flexibly add to the appeal. Being part a team of a highly talented, ridiculously supportive and very amusing colleagues is a bonus!
MAKING COMPANIES STRONGER
vcfo is a professional services firm making companies stronger by bringing the wisdom and experience of senior level Finance, HR, and Recruiting executives to each client engagement. Our team of consultants guides CEOs and business owners in making strategic decisions, optimizing operations, and providing people support. Since 1996, vcfo has supported more than 5000 clients nationwide with offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, and Houston.