Not all heroes wear capes, but some do.
NetSuite’s Superheroes of Finance series celebrates both the cape-less and the caped crusaders who battle not only the forces of evil but also the everyday challenges that growing businesses face. This series is an homage to the near-heroic work that members of the finance team perform every day, bringing various business functions together to understand the past AND see into the future, readying the business to pounce on new opportunities for growth.
We start with Captain Finance.
Things had always come easy to Jen Ledger. From math to athletics to business, she was a natural.
The daughter of two Olympic gold medalists-turned-CPAs, by age 8 Jen had transformed her lemonade stand into a 40-store operation in three states by closing a gap in the lemon supply chain, developing a cold-weather lemon drink, and writing a mobile ordering app with loyalty discounts for the sweltering summer months. By age 9, the Ledger’s Lipsmacking Lemonade month-end close was fully automated.
As a freshman, she was a nationally-ranked junior gymnast. Her freakish agility was jaw-dropping: She seemed to defy gravity and the limits of human flexibility. By 17, she had graduated with master’s degrees in both business and math from the esteemed Fiduciary University, tucked away in Reconcile, Nebraska (mascot: The Controllers). At 19, she was advising Warren Buffet on investments, Jimmy Buffett on merchandising, and Golden Buffet on menu changes.
Trapped in a Cell
Now, Jen faced a challenge like never before. Her parents, Sebastian “Seb” and Nomina Ledger had brought Jen with them as they consulted on a major project for a new client, Opacity, Inc. A string of acquisitions, new business ventures, and subsidiary launches had left the company with a massive, sprawling mess of Excel spreadsheets containing all of its data. It was up to Seb and Nomina to try and make sense of it all.
In one sheet, they found a string of formulas that led them to row 1,048,577 — just beyond Excel’s apparent limits. Unaware of the danger, Seb and Nomina opened the cell and suddenly disappeared. They could now only communicate in code through Excel.
Jen quickly deciphered the code and read her parents’ desperate messages: “A sinister force installed an Easter egg in this spreadsheet. You must stop it or it will cascade to lower cells and spread to all the spreadsheets on Earth, grinding business to a halt and banishing all finance teams to this dimension.”
Feverishly, Jen got to work, rewriting formulas and building pivot tables until she had deleted row 1,048,577. But now her parents were helplessly trapped, never to return.
Devastated, Jen swore to stop at nothing to eliminate spreadsheet sprawl and free finance teams from the cumbersome manual data entry that is the bane of their existence.
It was then, in a flash of light and a billow of smoke, that three cloud-like figures emerged.
“Jen, we are the Cumulons,” one said. “We have been watching over the Earth for decades. Your planet is in a dangerous place. It’s on the brink of massive business collapse due to inaccurate forecasting, siloed systems, currency manipulation, and manual data entry mistakes that will bring down the economies of entire nations.”
“It’s a path we know all too well,” the Cumulons continued. “The same thing nearly wiped out our planet. But we have found the way to overcome it, and we will teach you, so you can save the business on earth.”
The Cumulons sensed Jen’s perplexity.
“We now know, you’re the only person who can do this.”
Overcome yet determined, Jen Ledger rose, stepped into a cloud, and left Earth behind. She was teleported to the planet of Cumulus, where she would learn how this alien race had achieved 2,000 straight quarters of growth using methods such as data analysis and predictive modeling while mastering cloud computing and security infrastructures.
She also learned to use the Cumulons’ most advanced technologies, such as X-ray vision, so she could grasp insights beyond the ability of normal CFOs; telekinesis, so she could bend any out-of-control cost center to her will; and continuous close and stochastic multivariable scenario planning for . . . well, for obvious reasons.
After 10 years of training, armed with the Cumulons’ knowledge and a shield paired to an implant in her cerebral cortex that harnessed their technology, Jen returned to Earth. She took a low-level job as a mild-mannered auditor with the firm Snap Taurus, joining her colleagues Jack Fazbee and Irma P. Brand. But that was just a cover. Now, she was ready to use her newfound powers and her natural-born agility to free finance from the mundane, unlock the secrets to steady growth and vanquish spreadsheets and all who stand in the way of collaboration and success — as Captain Finance!
Continue this series by checking out “The Silo: The Origin Story“!