Get to know some of the best and brightest at Revel Systems® in our recurring “People POS” question-and-answer series. Our previous spotlight featured Senior Event Specialist Morgan McMains Fraser, the brilliant talent elevating Revel’s brand at events across the globe.
Revel’s Sr. Marketing Operations Specialist Grace Halverson sat down with Sr. Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst Andy Friedt for a Q&A session to learn more about his experience in finance and his role here at Revel. Read on for a deeper dive into the man behind the data and get Andy’s take on what makes Revel financially successful (Spoiler: It’s the people).
(Q): Hi Andy! To kick things off, I’d love to know what brought you to Revel and how you would describe your role here?
(A) I started with Revel about two and a half years ago, right in the middle of COVID. We had a transition at my old company, so I was looking for a new company and I really enjoyed working in the technology industry. You know, when it comes to finance, it's not something that is required, obviously. I can work in manufacturing or whatever, but I really enjoy the culture and the people that work in the technology and software industry. So, that's what led me to Revel. It just seemed like a really good fit.
I do a lot of work with the different sales teams, helping them with commission plans, offering assistance when new reps are hired, getting them set up with factor commission plans and quarter numbers. And then making sure that all the systems are also set up for reporting. When it comes to all the different sales reps I also do a lot of budgeting and forecasting for the different teams. Right now, we're busy with putting together the 2024 budget, so I have a lot of meetings with the different vice presidents around the company to help them get their numbers in the system for next year. I also have my hands on a lot of the monthly reporting that gets presented to our executive team and the board. So each month we put together about a 20 page report that has financial metrics, operational metrics; a pretty good snapshot of how revenue is doing as a company.
(Q): For those of us who may not be as familiar with the finance team here at Revel, could you give us a peek at the people behind the numbers. Would you say you work pretty individually or with other departments?
(A): Yeah, we have it split up, so I work with marketing and sales. I've worked with engineering in the past, but that's with one of the other guys on the team now. So, we definitely have our hands on a lot of different things. And we're still kind of a small business, so we can still do it that way, where, you know, larger corporations and companies, the finance team might be more specialized or focused on one group or a smaller task. We do everything, so it's always interesting.
(Q): When you think about the tech industry and cloud services in particular, what would you say were the main KPIs (key performance indicators) that help you gauge success in software development?
(A): I think a big one is retention. When it comes to customer retention, and how well we do with that, it's one of our key focus items and we really want to reduce customers leaving but also make sure that our customers are happy. That goes along hand in hand with our net promoter score and things that everybody around the company does to make our customers feel like they have our support.
(Q): What role would you say technology has played in advancing your field of expertise? Are there any tools or software you rely on that help you excel?
(A): Over my career, I've had my hands on a lot of different kinds of financial planning systems. Here at Revel, we use a few different budgeting and planning tools, like Domo, a lot and things tie together across systems. When I was starting here at Revel, we had new systems that I really hadn't used before, but I always hop in and just get my hands on them and see how things work, and do as much training as I can.
I think one good thing we did when I started was we had a lot of team interactions with a different system. Our goal was to answer: How do we go in and create that from a reporting perspective? It's always a work in progress. I think there's always room for improvement.
For our system, the software’s there, but we're always coming up with new things and new additions to it. We’re always looking to improve and make things a little bit easier and streamlined for the end user.
(Q): You live quite a few states away from our various offices. As a remote employee, what keeps you engaged and motivated?
(A): Well, I think working remote and working from home – it's something I've done for over three years now. I have been to the Atlanta location and the San Francisco location each one time and met the accounting team out there.
I'm not really a big city person. So, I've never really worked in a downtown environment. It's kind of nice if I need a break, I can go outside and ride my bike down through the woods. It’s a little bit more flexible. I think overall it's been a pretty positive experience, and it works for our finance team. We still have our daily, catch up meetings and we do a lot of collaboration through Zoom meetings. So it's definitely a team environment, but working from wherever.
(Q): You’ve been involved with finance for pretty much your whole career. Were there any defining moments or a particular experience you had that really solidified your decision to stay in finance?
(A): Yeah, I really enjoy helping other people run their teams in their business. When it comes to learning new things and learning new businesses, that's what interests me. Every sale seems a little bit different. For me, it was like learning about how the businesses run and how we can impact that from the finance side of things.
I majored in accounting in college. Accounting is the numbers side of things, but I think finance is more like working with the people and the business and that's the part that I really enjoy. There's numbers but you really have to know people and learn how people work to be good at finance.
(Q): What are some of the skills or fundamental life lessons you’ve acquired and carried with you to your role at Revel specifically?
(A): I think one thing that I've always pulled with me is being a good listener, because everybody has a story to tell. So, I think that's the key—listening and communication. It’s not just a one way street there. It's taking information from one person or group of people and digesting that and providing them with something useful.
And when I always meet new people and see how things are running, I can ask, “What do you currently have? How can I help that or those processes? And how can we push things forward and make it better?”
(Q): Are there any projects or upcoming events that you are excited about that you care to share?
(A): One of the main projects I'm working on for the rest of the year is our 2024 budget, but I am also working on our commission plans for next year. I get to really see what the sales organization is going to look like next year, and how we can adapt our current commission plans to really push Revel up over our goals for next year.
So, there's a lot of interesting pieces that go into the plans and we put them all together like a puzzle. There's definitely some strategy there and some advocacy for the reps.
(Q): I’m not sure if you’ve heard our podcast episode about Red’s Savoy Pizza, the Sota-style pizzeria bound and determined to rid the world of “skimpy wimpy pizzas,” but they are a beloved Revel client and I was wondering if you’ve ever visited one of their many locations in Minnesota or participated in their meat raffle bingo during the lockdown?
(A): I haven't heard of the meat bingo, but I've been to the location here in Woodbury and actually went and talked to them not too long after they installed their new system. There's a bunch of different locations. They do really try to cater to their people that come in and get pizza in person and you can get to know them a little bit.
And as far as the pizza itself they do have a thin crust, but the sauce is a spicier sauce. So I enjoy it because I enjoy spicy stuff. The “Sota-style” sauce has a little bit of extra bite with the spiciness. I think the Red’s Savoy Pizza, it's pretty good if you ever come up this way.
(Q): Since you got your collegiate start at Notre Dame, but now reside in Minnesota, are you more into your Fighting Irish team and college ball or do you consider yourself more of a Vikings (NFL) fan these days?
(A): Definitely Notre Dame. Yeah, I’m a diehard college fan so all sports, football, basketball, women's basketball, hockey, you know, if Notre Dame's on TV, I’ll watch it.
I did football and wrestling growing up and then at Notre Dame I was actually a student manager. So I worked for the football team. Like Rudy, or, you know, paint the helmets, all that stuff. And then, my junior senior year I was the head men's basketball manager and traveled all over the place. I was in charge of the business operations and travel, which led me to this opportunity.
(Q): Could you share with our readers more about yourself? When you’re not at work, what are some things you do for fun or within your local community?
(A): Sure. So we have two kids, a seven year old and a four year old, and they're always keeping us busy with different activities. We have a boat, so we do a lot of boating during the summertime as much as we can. I enjoy mountain biking.
And then, you know, you mentioned hockey—everybody up here in Minnesota does hockey. So my daughter a couple of years ago, she's like, “Dad, we're gonna play hockey!” I’m like, okay, I hadn't skated in probably 20 years. So you know, I went and got my own skates, gear and a helmet and I was like, well, if you want to play hockey, I'll go out there on the ice with you and help coach. So I've had to teach myself how to coach hockey a little bit over the last couple of years. But it’s a lot of fun. And I just enjoy helping kids out as much as I can when it comes to sports and, you know, different activities like that.
So, it's always fun helping our kids with sports – When it comes to sports and different activities you can just see in their eyes how much they appreciate learning new things. And that's really the fun thing for me.
(Q): Okay, the seven year old playing hockey, Does she still have all her teeth?
(A): Well, yeah, kind of, but she's lost a couple of them just naturally so she looks like a real hockey player.
Think you or someone you know would make a great addition to Revel’s team? Check out the open roles on our careers page to see if we have a position that fits your skills and interests! Whether you’re a event specialist like Morgan or have a different set of passions and qualifications, we are constantly looking for more great additions to our team.