Fintech went from a strange unknown business to a booming industry that is drawing some of the highest valuations in the market shares Garima Shah in this conversation with Global FinTech Series. Catch the excerpts of this interview for more insights and thoughts on how fintech is transforming the payments industry as a whole.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Garima, you’ve recently assumed your role as president at Biller Genie, what are some of the biggest highlights you are looking forward to here?
The biggest highlight is building something meaningful from the ground up. This phase of the business is by far my favorite, when something starts as just an idea and becomes larger than any of us could have ever imagined. I love seeing what happens when you combine a great concept with an exceptional group of people.
You’ve been a fintech leader since a couple of years, how have you seen the segment evolve over time? Specific to payments solutions and account receivables – what are the latest innovations in the newer apps/platforms that users can most look forward to?
Since I started in payments over 15 years ago, the industry has completely transformed. Fintech went from a strange unknown business to a booming industry that is drawing some of the highest valuations in the market. It touches every part of life from Amazon to Uber, technology just continues to advance in order to enhance the consumer buying experience.
In terms of accounts receivables, the process is still largely manual and therefore time consuming and costly. We will continue to see the proliferation of fintech software in these manual sectors, especially when it comes to B2B commerce. They have been slow to adopt but these transformational changes will increase output in every aspect of the business.
Given the current global challenges because of the Covid-19 crisis- what are some of the ways Biller Genie is innovating it’s features/platforms or offerings to help the customer base more during this time?
Helping businesses collect on their outstanding invoices is one of our core pillars. During this pandemic, most small business owners only have seven to eight days worth of cash on hand, so our ability to collect and replenish their cash flow is even more important than ever. We also give the ability for the entire accounts receivable process to be contactless and managed remotely. In a time where everyone is working from home, this is key and we will see more and more of a trend toward tech that allows people to work and be efficient remotely.
Building, scaling and constantly training a good team in new segments like Fintech is crucial to achieving business goals, could you share some of your top takeaways when it comes to hiring and building a strong team for the ever evolving fintech segment today – what should younger companies be looking at more?
My favorite aspect of business is the people. So building, training and motivating teams is what makes me tick. I think that the most important things that business should be looking for are soft skills and a good cultural fit. Individuals can be trained on products, pricing, processes and all else, but soft skills like diligence and logical thinking cannot be taught. It’s important to look for these skills and also see how they fit into the culture of your organization.
Be honest about the culture. If you are a company that is super serious all the time or likes to have water balloon fights on Fridays then, let candidates know and ensure they match the culture. Once you have a team, treat them as your best asset, because they are. Raise them up and always be their champion.
At a time such as the present due to the current Coronavirus pandemic where global tech companies and teams are working remote – what are your top takeaways for remote work on the whole, for maintaining high employee motivation and for the fintech and payments segment? What are the top factors you’d share for teams to keep in mind?
Great question – I actually just did a video series on this topic. These are the most important things to keep in mind when managing remote teams:
- You must trust that you have the right people with the right skill set in each position. You need to trust that they are working and handling their business even if you can’t see them. If you feel the need to micromanage, then they are either the wrong employees or you are the wrong manager.
- Setting clear expectations. Ensure that you are setting clear objectives with deadlines, deliverables, priorities and a plan. It’s not enough to just make a to-do list. It is important to ensure that you link these expectations back to an overall company mission and vision, otherwise people feel like they are working in a vacuum without a communal goal in sight.
- Maintaining a work/life balance. Not only should you as a manager embrace a work-life balance, but you must promote it to your team. When people work from home they often don’t turn off and that is harmful to productivity.
- Creating culture. Even though people are not in an office it is important to maintain your company’s culture. It can’t just be all work. Continue to build personal relationships, check in on your teams, and have personal conversations just like you would around the water cooler at work.
- Management is management. It doesn’t matter if someone is sitting across the desk or across an ocean. All of the things that you do to manage a productive team don’t change because they aren’t in front of you. In fact, it’s even more important to go back to the basics and manage the way you know how.
As a fintech leader – what are some of the challenges you face while running the day to day business, what would you advise peers to do to overcome these same challenges?
I think it is very easy to get caught up in the weeds and become a firefighter. It’s hard sometimes to take a step back and focus on the priorities and strategy of the business. If you are always putting out fires, you can’t see what is causing them in the first place. The best advice on this is to just keep trying to focus on the big picture and remind yourself daily what your top priorities as a business are.
How according to you will the fintech segment shape up in the next couple of years, given the constant innovations and investments in certain areas? What do you think this landscape will look like in future? And more specifically, how will the impact of the coronavirus pandemic change how the segment evolves globally?
I think the landscape will look completely different. It is already changing drastically with the amount of major mergers and acquisitions we are seeing daily. I think we will see more technology providers adding finance to their business and coming into the fintech realm instead of the traditional incumbent fintech firms. I think the segment will continue to evolve and change at the speed of light, even more so due to the coronavirus pandemic. People are looking for remote solutions for all their financial needs. The age of going to the bank daily to make deposits and withdrawals, while keeping a manual register, are long gone. The need to pay, collect, deliver, and balance finances hasn’t changed.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the fintech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
In a perfect world, I would say Satoshi Nakamoto. But outside of that enigma, I would love to see responses from so many fintech leaders I admire, including Payal Kakadiya Pujji, Travis Kalanick, Zach Perret.
Your favorite FinanceTech quote.
“Ignoring technological change in a financial system based upon technology is like a mouse starving to death because someone moved their cheese” – Chris Skinner