FinTech Interview with Ryan Van Hatten, Chief Financial Officer at Prophix

FTB News DeskJanuary 2, 202430 min

Discover Prophix’s commitment to excellence as they prioritise the dynamic needs of CFOs and finance teams. Explore the interview to learn more.
Ryan Van Hatten Chief Financial Officer at Prophix

Ryan is a hands-on CFO and trusted strategic advisor with business, technology, and operational expertise. First joining Prophix as a senior consultant in 2005, he held senior-level positions related to services, operations, and finance before taking the role of Chief Financial Officer in 2022.

Ryan, could you briefly introduce yourself and your role as the Chief Financial Officer at Prophix?
As Chief Financial Officer of Prophix, I am the strategic financial advisor to the leadership team and across the company by providing guidance, solving problems, and creating positive change for sustainable growth. I first joined Prophix as a senior consultant in 2005, and then moved onto other senior-level positions related to services, operations, and finance before taking the role of Chief Financial Officer in 2016.

The CFO’s role has evolved significantly over the last few years, extending beyond the finance department to the linchpin across diverse business units and functions continuously looking for ways to maximize value creation for both short-term results and long-term impact. I perceive my role at Prophix in a similar vein; taking a thoughtful approach to the business, maintaining accountability for both myself and my team, and consistently fostering communication and collaboration with various departments and teams throughout the organization have been pivotal in contributing to the company’s rapid growth.


Can you briefly share Prophix’s journey from bootstrapped to financially backed and your role in fuelling the next stage of growth?
Prophix is a leading performance management platform that helps finance teams at mid-market organizations improve profitability and minimize risk by automating budgeting, planning and reporting processes for better decision-making. By automating these essential yet time-consuming processes through a cloud-based technology platform, finance teams are relieved of the manual tasks of working in spreadsheets and can redirect their efforts toward more strategic and value-added activities, such as data analysis, interpretation of financial insights, and decision-making. This modern approach to FP&A enhances overall productivity and enables finance teams to contribute more effectively to the strategic goals of the organization.

Prophix has always been an industry leader and disruptor, on a mission to provide its global client base with the latest innovative technology for transforming the Office of Finance. Starting as an on-premise software provider 35 years ago, Prophix recognized the value of shifting its business to a cloud financial management platform as the next step in enabling its customers to take advantage of newer data-centric functions and technologies for competitive advantage. Since then, Prophix has seen significant growth in cloud customers worldwide as finance leaders recognize the importance of being able to take advantage of advanced data analytics and scenario planning capabilities, integrated with AI and machine learning, to manage their business in today’s current landscape of constant change and uncertainties. By leveraging Prophix’s financial performance platform, finance leaders have the agility and speed they need for strategic decision making to drive their business forward.

After an extremely impressive growth trajectory while completely bootstrapped, in January 2021 Prophix announced an investment from Hg, a leading global software investor, to help accelerate and scale the company’s future growth and development of its product capabilities. This investment enabled Prophix to acquire Sigma Conso, a Belgian-based FP&A software leader with strong capabilities in financial close management, further augmenting Prophix’s capabilities. Most noteworthy, in November 2022 Prophix reached  $100M in annual recurring revenues, a significant milestone in the company’s history.

With many awards to its name, and consecutively receiving one of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry, Prophix has a strong foothold in mid-market FP&A. Our goal from the very beginning has been to help finance professionals improve the way they do their jobs to achieve greater business success, and as a result, Prophix has become a much-needed and desired partner for businesses across the globe. Throughout our history, Prophix has made the right investments, especially with technology capabilities and features, to support our customers while achieving our aggressive growth goals. This approach is what will continue to fuel the company’s growth moving forward.

Business objectives

What is Prophix’s primary business objective in addressing the growing needs of CFOs and finance teams?

Finance departments are central to an organization’s strategic planning and decision-making process. This was especially evident during the pandemic as CFOs were forced to make quick, reactive decisions to steer their companies through economic uncertainties, many of which persist today. Thankfully, those organizations that leaned on financial planning and analysis tools, like Prophix, were able to successfully manage their business remotely by leveraging scenario planning based on real-time data across all departments and functions, giving them the kind of ‘if/then’ agility they needed to make instant decisions to keep their business on track.

While the pandemic is behind us, businesses continue to grapple with market volatility, with elevated interest rates and inflation. This underscores the importance for finance executives to have the capability to plan for unforeseen circumstances, collaborate on budgets, and seamlessly consolidate data. This is essential for guiding businesses effectively in today’s dynamic environment, demanding both speed and flexibility.

That’s what we’re all about at Prophix: helping finance professionals be the true leaders they want to be, making strategic decisions that can impact both the short term value and long-term success of the business. Prophix’s financial performance platform’s ease of use and flexibility for finance teams, combined with a robust customer success program, provides finance professionals with automated planning, forecasting and budgeting along with strategic data insights in real time, helping them to make smart timely decisions and reach their business objectives.

Automation and time efficiency

How does Prophix’s budgeting, forecasting and reporting capabilities contribute to helping finance teams save time and make smarter and more strategic decisions impacting their business?
Prophix’s financial performance platform elevates the role of finance teams to become mission-critical leaders in achieving their companies’ success. Through Prophix, time-consuming processes of budgeting, planning, closing and reporting processes are automated on one simple to use platform, saving finance professionals from valuable time they could be spending elsewhere. Cycles like budgeting, forecasting and reporting can be set up with the necessary dependencies to allow the next step of the process to be started up automatically once its predecessors have completed. This encourages engagement and collaboration with status on upcoming tasks and deadlines, along with reminders to assure your processes are completed and on time. Additionally, it ensures stakeholders are informed on the next steps and timelines.

Prophix’s platform is integrated with multiple business systems across the organization, including ERP systems and Excel spreadsheets, providing one single, unified view of your financial truth while also supporting and encouraging enhanced collaboration across the organization.

Prophix’s built-in AI and machine learning capabilities enable even greater accuracy and high-level actionable insights for strategic decision making, augmenting the way finance professionals work. We are continuously exploring new technologies like generative AI and looking for ways to further enhance our platform capabilities and features while also ensuring our customers’ mission critical, business sensitive information is secured and protected.

Meeting future needs

How do Prophix’s expanded capabilities, including its robust analytics engine using AI and machine learning, support finance leaders in today’s dynamic business landscape?
One of Prophix’s key differentiators from other FP&A providers is its passion for continued innovation, which is reflected in its product portfolio that incorporates advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to reinvent the way finance professionals do their jobs.

Prophix introduced its AI-powered insights capabilities to provide finance executives with meaningful information more quickly than ever, positioning them in a more strategic role within their company. The AI-enabled implementation enables chart insights that eliminate time-consuming manual tasks, as well as anomaly detection features to help finance professionals quickly conduct “forensic analyses” of their data to spot and mitigate any potential risks not detected by the human eye. These advanced features are an essential step forward in the digital transformation of the finance industry.

User experience and confidence

Could you elaborate on how Prophix’s new capabilities, especially Advisor, enhance user experience and confidence for FP&A teams?

Having earned its reputation for its industry-leading corporate performance management (CPM) software, in the last year Prophix expanded its software solutions capabilities into one integrated platform to better meet finance leaders’ needs today and into the future. New capabilities include: Advisor, which provides users with benchmarks and optimization advice to enhance the user experience and confidence for FP&A teams; and Predictive Forecasting, which helps finance leaders accelerate budgets and planning, by comparing actuals, variances and forecasts supplying finance leaders with support for agile reforecasting and planning.
Prophix’s Advisor is a tool that analyzes a finance team’s Prophix models for inefficiencies and then recommends where and how you can make changes to improve performance. (If Advisor returns zero findings, you know that your model is completely optimized.) The tool examines models using a set of rules developed by Prophix. For each issue found, Advisor suggests specific modifications that are based on best practices developed over the years by our own in-house experts. What’s more, Advisor’s rules and recommendations are constantly updated so that they always reflect the most current best practices.

Strategic planning support

With predictive forecasting, how does Prophix provide support for agile forecasting and planning, considering actuals, variances, and forecasts?
As forecasting demands have become more complex, the days of static or fixed forecasts are over. Rolling forecasts allow you to work with constantly updated data to reflect even the slightest changes in your business or market dynamics. By leveraging live actuals, historical forecasts in the system, carry-forward capabilities, and the flexibility to apply assumptions at any level. With Prophix agile forecasting features we make it quick and easy for finance teams to create and evolve rolling forecasts to gain greater insight into the future and stay ahead of their competition.

With the ability to set owners and approvers of tasks while helping team members adhere to deadlines with reminders and deadlines, all stakeholders are constantly informed and aligned in a unified planning process.

Through Prophix’s forecasting features, teams have the flexibility to customize their planning models to match their business needs; regardless if you plan “top-down” or “bottom-up,” you can plan your way. Additionally, users have freedom to update forecasts, approve plans and manipulate numbers using the software they are most comfortable with – whether its the Prophix web interface or the familiarity and convenience of Microsoft Excel.

Challenges addressed

In developing new capabilities, were there specific challenges or pain points in the finance industry that Prophix aimed to address?
Prophix’s financial performance platform is built specifically for the needs of CFOs and finance teams, an area of the business where inefficient data processes cost U.S. companies roughly  $7.8 billion per year.

According to a Prophix survey of more than 500 global finance leaders, more finance leaders are committing to cloud-based FP&A software for more accurate, real-time data insights to more nimbly forecast, plan strategically, and manage risk in today’s volatile markets.

The survey showed finance teams value quick, automated budgeting, planning, closing and reporting processes, but equally important is having a platform that is simultaneously simple to use, feature-rich, and is integrated with multiple business systems across the organization, including ERP systems and Excel spreadsheets.
This supports and encourages enhanced collaboration across the enterprise. Additionally, more finance teams globally are ready to embrace more advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to elevate their data insights and strategic decision making or greater business outcomes.

At Prophix we are always making product enhancements with our customer in mind. Prophix’s financial performance platform addresses all these requests with the objective to continuously meet our customers’ evolving needs – empowering them to remain nimble and competitive now and into the future.

Personal advice

As the CFO, what advice or insights can you share with fellow finance professionals based on your experience at Prophix?
Treat the business as if it’s your own business and act accordingly.

My job is not to tally up numbers and tell a story—it’s to actually be involved in the business every single day from an operational perspective. I think that it’s so easy to get caught up and not really think about the world in this way—you just want to get through the day, get through the month-end, get through the audit, get through whatever step it is. But actually, sitting back and focusing on the business and helping it as best you can—being of service to the business—is critically important.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, what thoughts would you like to share regarding Prophix’s journey and the innovative strides in the finance technology sector?
Looking across the corporate landscape, finance leaders find themselves at a true inflection point – embrace the possibilities that new, advanced financial performance technology can deliver for their businesses and their employees or continue to rely on processes that just barely meet the standards of the modern finance department. For organizations that are ready to embrace substantive progress within the office of the CFO, Prophix has never been better positioned to fundamentally improve the overall experience for its customers. We’ve built a platform that enables global finance leaders to eliminate the manual processes that inhibit business performance, while accessing, interpreting, and reporting critical financial performance data with agility and precision.

The office of the CFO has never been more critical to business success and Prophix has the expertise and technology to let them meet this moment. We’re truly excited for what lies ahead.

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