David Worrell | Founder of Fuse Financial Partners
Success leaves clues
Finance Strategists sat down with David Worrell, founder of Fuse Financial Partners. He discussed the past, present, and future of the company, as well as some of the insight he gained from running the business.
Who is David Worrell?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I grew up in Ohio and received my business degree from The Ohio State University… with an emphasis on “The.” And perhaps the most important thing I learned there was the “The.” When OSU rebranded to “The OSU,” they were attempting to differentiate themselves from Oklahoma, Oregon, Ottawa…. And really from all universities. “The” is a small word, but implies a big difference.
I took that lesson with me around the world and have tried to differentiate my own career through unique influences and experiences. I lived for several years in Japan, have traveled extensively, and lived in several vibrant cities in the USA from Silicon Valley to Kansas City. I am now happily calling Charlotte NC home – and have been for the last 20 years.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
I’m influenced by people who take the time to analyze the world and present a different perspective – from classic Greek philosophers to modern TED talkers. But no matter what I’m reading or watching, I think it’s important to question the opinions and facts presented by each speaker – I evaluate the source as well as the conclusions carefully before making them my own.
For pure mental exercise, I especially like the kinds of behavioral sciences that have created Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Sinek, and the “Freakanomics” guys. I also like the fiction of writers like Ayn Rand who imagine how business, behavior, and politics all comes together in society.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
“Get a degree from an ivy league school. Go to Wall Street. Retire at 30.”
No, seriously, I had no grasp on the real world of work when I was in college, and so when I was setting the course for my life, I was not aware of all my options. I do wish I’d had a better education, and perhaps joined a large company or consulting firm to learn the ropes. As it was, I learned the hard way – and I’m still catching up!
What is Fuse Financial Partners?
Q: What is Fuse Financial Partners?
Fuse helps small business owners make their companies “More Profitable, Sustainable and Fun.” How? By applying the discipline of finance to every aspect of their operations.
Fuse sells a “Finance Department as a service” – we are a robust team of accounting and finance professionals who can take over the functions of accounting, finance, investor relations, etc. for any small or medium business. We have CFOs, Controllers, and accountants that work as much or as little as needed (we call it “Fractional Finance Staffing!”)
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
We are neither a staffing agency nor a one-person consulting company. Instead, each client receives the benefits of a dedicated team approach – an accountant, controller, and CFO working in harmony to bring exactly the right skills and solutions to your company.
We strive to provide “worry-free finance” in a way that relieves the business owner of the stresses associated with cash flow, accounting, and financial management.
Q: What led you to start Fuse Financial Partners?
In 1999 I was CFO and co-owner of a $2 million sales company. Each day I had a line of people outside my door waiting to ask me questions. I was unable to focus on building the business and it was endlessly frustrating. To solve the problem, I outsourced the pieces of my job that I least enjoyed — the daily accounting, the technology implementation, the budgeting and cash flow forecasting, etc. This left me able to focus on growing the company (and staying sane myself!).
When I sold that company, I realized that the “fractional CFO” I had hired was the lynchpin of my success. By outsourcing the majority of the finance and accounting functions, I was no longer “stuck in the weeds” and was free to set better strategies. Also, I was making better decisions because I was getting better data about the financial performance of the company.
That’s when I realized that I wanted to share that freedom and insight with other business owners!
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
Fuse is my 4th business. I’ve started and grown wildly different companies from the ground up. And with Fuse, the one thing I have learned is the value of surrounding yourself with brilliant people.
I’ve been fortunate to have great partners and crazy-smart employees. We’ve had the luxury of hiring market-leading vendors who provide exceptional value. And along the way, I’ve struggled less, succeeded more often, and been able to find my own way of contributing value to the company.
(In fact, we have a saying in Fuse… “Don’t Struggle! Ask for help!” It’s that same ability to recognize where we need a hand, and to reach out to the team that has powered our growth.)
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
While many companies continue to build walls around their employees and skills, we’re breaking them down. We want to share our expertise with the whole world. So Fuse is moving strongly online with a new brand called “diyCFO.” This is a way to help millions of small companies use more sophisticated tools in their business at a fraction of the cost. And it leverages the value of our team in amazing new ways.
So, imagine you own a small company. Rather than hiring a six-figure CFO, you need just enough finance expertise to “do it yourself” – thus the diyCFO brand. New technology and tools are part of this, but so is the knowledge – the human intellect – that comes from our existing team and can be shared and magnified so efficiently online.
We’re seeing tremendous acceptance and success as business owners learn that finance is not a foreign language and that simple financial tools can make a huge difference in how they run their business. When it’s presented right, the financial lessons needed to succeed in a small business can be simple and powerful. You CAN be your own CFO with diyCFO!