Employee Q&A: Angela Luong
Apr 4, 2022
9 min read
By: Lucy Bragg

Angela is the Director of Finance at Mappedin. We discuss the most challenging and rewarding aspects of her role, top finance recommendations for software & tech companies, and what makes a good leader in finance.

Angela, thank you for chatting with me today. To begin, can you tell us about your current role at Mappedin?

As the Director of Finance, my role is to ensure effective and efficient management of all aspects of accounting, financial reporting, and recording. I manage all the payroll functions and any financial reporting and analysis. I'm also responsible for any tax related filings, budgeting and expense approvals, or casting audit and review engagement as well. 

Recently, I’ve also been quite involved with the Sales teams by collaborating, reviewing, and providing insights into our current order forms. I touch upon HR functions when it involves employment contracts and helping to define the onboarding process as it relates to new hires. I ensure that they know everything regarding payroll and things like that. I’m also involved in accounts receivable and accounts payable; so the full accounting function and then some.

You started at Mappedin just over a year ago. What made you decide to join the team? 

Mappedin is actually my third startup environment so this is not new to me. Prior to joining Mappedin, I took a slight detour from startups because I wanted to work in a very different industry and try a corporate environment. It was a great learning experience, but after two years, I was ready to make another change. 

Mappedin was looking to backfill the VP of Finance position so Gerry, the CFO, reached out to me and asked if I was interested in this opportunity. I had worked with Gerry previously, and was familiar with startup environments, so I went for it. The timing was great, and I was excited to get back into what I enjoyed most, which is working in a smaller organization. 

What do you like most about working in a smaller work environment like Mappedin?

In a smaller work environment, you’re able to wear multiple hats and do a lot of different things whereas in a bigger organization, you’re usually in a hyper specific role. I was excited to join Mappedin because I knew that I’d get involved in quite a lot of things. In a smaller company, you can also see your direct impact and contribution to the organization. You feel like a part of the company’s growth and success as it scales, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. 

You’ve worked at a variety of notable tech companies, including Microsoft and Communitech. Are there any particular considerations that need to be made while working in finance for tech or software companies? 

Yes, I'd say creativity and innovation are important to grow the business. In tech, it’s fast-paced and constantly evolving, so you need to have a creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial mindset. You also need to be comfortable with adapting to constant change because things are always changing in technology and software. It’s a stimulating environment that forces you out of your comfort zone, and you might have to shift directions at a moment's notice. 

What is the most challenging part of your role? What is the most rewarding? 

I don’t know if challenging is the right word, but I'd say the uncertainty of each day and what it will bring. Usually I have a planned agenda or set of priorities that I think I’ll be tackling in a day, and sometimes it’s thrown out the window. Things come up that weren’t planned, and all of a sudden, your day consists of doing those unplanned things, rather than what was on your original checklist.

Being able to embrace the chaos and remain flexible is important, because some days are exactly like that. For individuals that like structure and a planned out day, this style of work can be challenging. To me, it can be exciting and extremely rewarding. 

What’s most rewarding is being part of a team with no politics or hierarchy. You’re a team member and you dive right in, roll up your sleeves, and do pretty much anything and everything; including things you’ve never done before. You might not know how to do something, but once you figure it out, you get to see the direct impact of your work and gain confidence in your abilities. 

Knowing that you can really achieve whatever it is that you set your mind to is probably the most rewarding and satisfying part of the job. For me, this includes presentation skills. Often in larger organizations, you might not necessarily present in front of a lot of people, but at Mappedin you’re asked to speak in front of the company at times. As an introvert in finance, I was nervous at first, but I’ve enhanced my ability to speak and present in front of people which was something that I had very little exposure to in the past.

What are some top finance recommendations for smaller companies? 

Cash flow management is key. You need to know where every single dollar is coming from and how it's being spent. Especially in the early stages of a startup, cash flow is very important because capital is fixed or limited. It’s important to try to limit or minimize fixed costs as much as possible. 

But I’d say the most important thing is that time is money. There’s nothing more important than your time, especially in a startup when you have so little time in a day. You need to consider your priorities and what it is that you focus on to ensure it’s the best use of your time. In a smaller organization, you get pulled in so many different directions so you have to be really mindful of where you spend your time. Make sure it’s in the areas that are the best bang for your buck

What is the key to ensuring that a company is compliant with relevant financial industry best practices and laws?

Every industry is a bit different. The first step is to identify what regulations and laws are specific to your business. In our industry, security and data protection are really important. Once you’ve identified those, you have to put together a plan to ensure your compliance. This would involve looking at your company policies and processes through an audit. 

You must then look for potential gaps and determine how to address them. This might mean establishing policies and documentation, and monitoring them continuously to make sure that you’re always keeping up with changes in your industry. 

What qualities and skills do you think are important for a job in Finance? 

I’d say interpersonal skills; the ability to work cross-functionally, put yourself in other people’s shoes, and reframe discussion. In finance, you touch upon a lot of different teams, so it’s really important to get your message across and act as a liaison across multiple departments.

Of course, analytical skills are also important in finance. Being able to spot patterns in random information to draw appropriate conclusions. Then, use your interpersonal skills to communicate these insights in a meaningful way to others. 

Leadership is another one. I think the best people in finance are really the ones that understand that in order for them to succeed, they need to ensure that others succeed. As a leader, you’re not just in front leading others, but you’re also there in the trenches with them. Being able to lead while rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever is required to get the job done is a sign of a really great leader in finance. 

In finance, we live in a world with a lot of deadlines, so prioritization is very important. There’s payroll deadlines, tax deadlines, auditor deadlines, and more. I’m always living by my calendar. You have multiple competing priorities at any given time, so it’s important to focus on those of higher urgency.

Having a solution-oriented mindset as opposed to a problem-oriented mindset is another important quality. Coming up with solutions to a problem is key. When I’m presenting to my boss, I don’t just come with a problem, rather I propose a solution to the problem. I think the best leaders in finance are strong communicators who are able to offer insights and analysis in a solution-focused way.

We’re currently hiring for a Senior Accountant. What advice would you give to someone applying for this role?

Expect to take on more than what you're originally hired for. Over time, your role is going to evolve and change, and you’re going to learn a lot of different things and take on multiple hats. This is also an advantage to working at Mappedin - you’re going to learn a lot quicker than you would in a larger organization. 

Definitely come with a positive and can-do attitude. Be a team player, roll up your sleeves, and be willing to learn and do pretty much anything and everything. It’s a great opportunity to gain some really good experience and build skill sets that you can transfer into any other role you might have.

You're also going to have the potential to really grow with Mappedin. You’re going to be part of the team helping to implement new processes, policies, solutions, and systems. It’s such a great opportunity, and I encourage you to apply!

Interested in working with Angela? We are hiring a Senior Accountant to join her on the Finance team. Also, check out our Careers Page for all open roles, or send an email to our recruitment team at careers@mappedin.ca.