Denise Holbrook recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with the Imaging Office Systems family and brings the discipline and analytical mind of an archer to her role as controller and vice president of finance.
In this interview, I enjoyed getting to hear her thoughts on archery as a metaphor for finance, the intersection of finance and technology, and a few other interesting tidbits.
Q&A with Denise Holbrook, Controller & VP of Finance
You’re an archery enthusiast and teacher. As an archer, you have to consider various environmental conditions when taking a shot. Now, if somebody’s business is the arrow set in the bow and the target is making it to the post-pandemic world, what conditions should you be considering, financial or otherwise, when taking your “shot?"
With everything that has happened in the last year, I think you need to be cautious and not over-extend yourself or your business. I believe that the world has reminded us how quickly things can change and that is something we quickly forget when things are running smoothly. We’ve had things happen that nobody thought would happen, so that shows you need to be cautious and make sure the company has a solid foundation...and that’s true with archery, too. It’s all about your stance and foundation before you shoot.
As a finance professional, what’s the craziest or weirdest thing about money and finance that most people don’t think about?
That the little items add up and can become big items, whether in costs or sales. It does add up. If you put all your eggs in one basket—like relying on a single customer, for instance—things can go bad quickly. You want to have those big customers, but you also want to have a good assortment of other customers, too, so you don’t have to worry so much if something happens to one of them.
What do you enjoy most about your job as the VP of Finance/Controller of Imaging Office Systems?
I enjoy working with everyone and being part of the team. I have only been here a little over a year, so I have enjoyed learning the aspects of my job and meeting our employees. I’ve gotten to delve into the HR aspect a little more here, and I’ve gotten to work with our insurance and those providers a bit more in this job.
What are the most useful ways that technology intersects with finance and how you do your job?
Technological advancements have made my job easier; however, you still must understand accounting and finance to make the technology work and the data useful. Technology puts a lot of financial information right in front of you and allows you the ability to analyze that data in many different formats. I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years, and when I first started, computers were just coming around. You didn’t have all the technological advancements that we have today. The fact that the data is more readily available is very nice. It’s easier to do analyses and find the numbers you want. But with that comes a lot more data, and a some of that data isn’t really useful, so you do have to be able to know what data you’re looking for, what’s useful, and what you should just ignore.
If you won a million dollars, what would be the smart thing you’d do with your winnings...and what would be the dumb thing you’d do?
The smart thing would be to pay off my debt, donate to some charities, and invest the rest for the future. The dumb thing would be to waste it on a dream vacation. I had the opportunity to go to Hawaii a couple of years ago, and I’m sure my family would like to go back there, but there are plenty of other places in the world to explore, too. Europe...Alaska...just anywhere different, where we can do stuff we’ve never done before.
What makes your job easy, and what makes it hard?
Covid has made my job harder due to the government programs that have been implemented to try and help. It is good that we are trying to keep the economy moving but tracking and understanding the rules on the fly has been a nightmare.
What’s your prediction for the ways finance and/or money will change in the next 20 years?
We are already seeing a push to go cashless, but I don’t believe we will get there because people will always need cash for certain purchases. I do think technology will continue to advance and continue to make life easier, but at the same time, it will also open new ways for information to be stolen and used in the wrong way.