Five Days Without Xledger:
A CFO Story
Last time on Five Days Without Xledger: Part 2, we followed non-profit CFO Roger Dalton as he learned what sets Xledger apart in the ERP market. We now join CEO Chip Zello, who’s taken on the burden of selling Xledger to a change-resistant board.
Late Tuesday Evening
“After a long search…” CEO Chip Zello kneads the stress ball between his hands. Long—no, not long–sedulous. “After a sedulous search…” He pushes the stress ball against his forehead. Tonight he and Marilyn, his wife of forty years, are taking their grandson out to celebrate his LSAT scores. Tomorrow the board will expect him to explain the ERP System blurb on their agendas. “Yes, Mr. Hayek, I know money’s tight. That’s why…” Why what? He imagines the creased-map face of the chairman. “That’s why I’m announcing a capital investment.”
Tomorrow the board will expect him to explain the ERP System blurb on their agendas. “Yes, Mr. Hayek, I know money’s tight. That’s why…” Why what? He imagines the creased-map face of the chairman. “That’s why I’m announcing a capital investment.”
He pictures it: Faces go white, eyes narrow, throats clear. Candice Millward tilts her head. John Kellog’s pen beats a tattoo on the desk. Oh, is that all?
Chip dons his coat and gathers his things. He lets the intern go home an hour early. He gets ready, and he and Marilyn meet Zachary at the trendy new restaurant he picked out. They smile and nod as Zachary delivers his usual monologue on politics and law school prospects (I know it’s your alma mater, Gramps, but Notre Dame is a bit less than what I’m looking for.)
Marilyn helps him choose a tie. He arrives an hour early and connects the boardroom projector to the Xledger sales office. Board members trickle in by ones and twos. CFO Roger Dalton enters, a smile playing across his lips. Chip opens the meeting with a canned joke from his Toastmasters days and watches Mr. Hayek’s face crease further. Scarcely has the chairman opened his mouth than Chip preempts him. “You’re all wondering, I’m sure, about the ERP System on your meeting agendas. We have Xledger’s sales team on hand for a remote demo, and we think you’ll understand the hoopla when you’ve watched it.” Hoopla—good touch.
The demo starts. A voice clicks through items on a screen—screens, each multifunctional, all on the same monitor. The speaker explains Xledger’s scalable, grow-with-your-business design. He stresses its automation—effortless bank reconciliation, inventory, document storage, payroll, accounts payable. His mouse drills down to data at its most granular level, selects what he wants to see on her dashboard, searches, draws up pivot tables and heat maps, the board members all the while interested despite themselves, Hayek adjusting his glasses to see better.
Chip ends the call, fields a few questions: How much is it? How much for updates? Can we do without it? He answers them in turn—it’s a subscription model, one payment per month, updates and maintenance included. And no, we can’t do without it. Not if we really want to help those we serve.
The board votes 5-0 to implement Xledger, Hayek a begrudging supporter. As he walks members out the door, Chip realizes he should’ve given Roger more credit. But Roger’s already gone by the time Chip returns to the conference room. Chip can see him now, walking to lunch, grinning like a lab in water.
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