June 04, 2012, 10:56 AM — Name: David Cocchiara
Time with company: 10.5 years
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from California State University, Chico.
Company headquarters: Alpharetta, Georgia
Countries of operation: U.S., U.K., Dubai
Number of employees total: 95
Number of employees the CFO/COO oversees: 25
Areas of responsibility: Financial, legal, operations, customer care, services, production, IT and administrative functions as well as overseeing the company's corporate development activities, including strategic alliances and partnerships.
About the company: Lancope provides flow-based security and network monitoring software for enterprises across a range of industries.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started, like many CFOs, in public accounting. I was an audit manager with KPMG in Sacramento, California. The interesting thing about working in public accounting is that it affords you the opportunity to see a lot of different companies in a short amount of time and experience many different management styles. I was fortunate to work with many different types of companies from Fortune 500 companies with public reporting requirements to a small startup cattle company in Hawaii to Sun-Maid Raisins (eventually becoming an expert raisin auditor) to the usual array of manufacturing, retail banks, real-estate, construction, agricultural and technology companies.
In 2000, the founder of a startup technology company, who lived next door to one of my clients, asked my client if she knew anyone who could be the controller for a small technology company that was just getting off the ground. She recommended me and that's what led me into technology. It seemed like a good move, as I saw a lot of people leaving public accounting in the Bay Area and becoming rich overnight, however, shortly after the company started, the Internet bubble burst and we had to build a real company.
So, I began working with a handful of pure technology guys. We were able to raise money from some good investors and ultimately grew the organization to 90 folks. There, I learned a lot about running a business as I worked on all of the business planning and business strategy, in addition to all of the other financial and operational aspects of the business.