From FP&A to RevOps: Jeff Ignacio, Head of Revenue and Growth Operations at Upkeep, on the Being Planful Podcast

Jeff Ignacio, head of Revenue and Growth Operations at UpKeep, joined me on the Being Planful podcast to explain why and how he transitioned from FP&A to the operational side of Sales. At UpKeep, Jeff is part of a fast-growing company that’s helping hard-working technicians, facility managers, and maintenance teams become more productive. But how did he get from FP&A to revenue operations?

In this episode, Jeff talks about his experience working at companies big and small, and how an early career in FP&A led to his current role in Revenue Operations. That’s an interesting leap, but as Jeff explained, he’s always been interested in the intersection of strategy and finance. That curiosity helped him transition from being a technology consultant at Accenture, to working in FP&A at Intel and Google, and then moving into sales and revenue operations across several startups.

Here are a few highlights of this episode.


Bridging the FP&A-Operations Gap

In Jeff’s past FP&A experiences, particularly Google, he worked closely with Sales Operations. He discovered similarities between those two roles, but being so specialized as to equate FP&A with operations was unique to being at a large company because it afforded him the luxury to specialize. In fact, Jeff was one of six or seven people on an FP&A team devoted to just enterprise sales. 

But, after moving to smaller startups, Jeff was forced to become a generalist. That, coupled with a transition to Sales Operations, was quite the challenge. 

“When you’re coming into sales ops from an FP&A background, you lack a couple of things,” Jeff explained. “You lack the business acumen from a sales perspective, what it takes to run a successful sale, generating interest, developing engagement, asking great discovery questions, proving value. You don’t learn that in finance.”

FP&A is, obviously, much more quantitative. As Jeff puts it, knowing finance is knowing the business from a spreadsheet perspective. But a successful business needs to bridge that gap, where FP&A can better understand those who are actually executing, such as sales and operations. 

Helping FP&A Understand Operations

FP&A and Revenue Operations are both focused on metrics, but from opposite sides of the coin. Both may look at bookings and revenue, for example, but where FP&A uses those metrics to determine resource allocations and headcount, Operations digs into the sales funnel to understand how prospects convert to customers along their journey to revenue. That analytical bent, which both roles require, is what helped Jeff transition from FP&A into operations. 

“One of the reasons I think great sales ops or rev ops folks come from FP&A backgrounds is because of the rigor of their analytical prowess,” explained Jeff. “That is something that’s hard to teach.”



But, it’s not just the analytical process of understanding why something happened, it’s using that knowledge to then determine what will happen next. That tends to require a bit more than just the numbers, especially for FP&A. So FP&A has to build those relationships with the business, specifically sales operations, to inform and improve how FP&A plans, models, and forecasts. 

“(FP&A needs an) understanding of the nuts and bolts of our sales motion,” said Jeff. “How long does it take to close a deal? What’s the distribution of deals that aren’t gonna close and by what segments? Those are great pieces of insight that you can then place into any sort of FP&A model.”

Jeff further dove into sales commissions and quotas, sales bonus disputes, the multitude of data sources connected to sales, and more. Combined, Jeff’s FP&A experience has made him what’s invaluable to FP&A: a finance pro who deeply understands his area of the business in both financial and business terms. People out in the business with high financial IQs make great allies for FP&A, and we could all use more of those! 

Subscribe to Being Planful

To hear more about sales operations from an FP&A perspective, and FP&A from a sales operations perspective, listen to episode #10 of Being Planful

This podcast series explores the benefits of adopting a “Planful” mindset by inviting your FP&A peers, analysts, industry experts, and more, to share their experiences and insights. Podcasting also lets us stay socially-distant while giving you a more flexible way to learn about Continuous Planning, whether it’s watching it on your phone, listening during your morning run, or tuning-in whenever it’s convenient.

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