Finance professionals enjoying life in the fast-lane

Tiaan DreyerFast growing, entrepreneurial companies are a vital part of our economy, bringing innovation to every sector, from technology to retail and increasingly, financial services. PetSure is one such company leading the way in a high growth market – insurance to protect our precious four-legged friends. With 8 million Australian households (63%) owning a pet and cost of pet ownership on the rise, this is a business that is firmly in the fast lane. We talk to CFO, Tiaan Dreyer, about what it takes to succeed at PetSure and how he sources the best finance professionals. 

What's your career story? How did you end up heading the finance department of a fast-growing, innovative insurance business?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart and had a couple of business ventures of my own while studying to qualify as a finance professional. Following a career in corporate finance and a stint in enterprise risk management, I was looking to join a company where I could apply that broad skillset in a role that had impact on organisational outcomes.  

The opportunity at PetSure seemed perfect given the breadth (spanning commercial negotiations, business intelligence and finance) and depth (from high level strategic planning down to the detail of processing journal entries) it offered. The fast growth PetSure was experiencing and the brand partners it was joining forces with (Woolworths, Medibank and RSPCA to name a few) was particularly appealing. 

What does it take to find career success at PetSure? 

As an agile organisation, we have a flat corporate structure so roles tend to be big, broad and challenging. We need multiskilled professionals who know how to leverage the right tools and strategies for success. 

Right off the bat we want to see people own their remit. We don’t take any passengers, which makes for an exciting ride. This is a company where you can contribute and make a difference from day one. Because we have less hierarchy, career paths are less well defined. If managing a big team of people or working for a household name is top of a candidate’s priority list, we’re probably not for them. But people who like broader stakeholder management and getting their hands dirty in a fast-paced environment will really thrive here.

 How challenging is it to source finance talent that fits the mould?

I think people sometimes get a fixed mindset about their career stage and where they fit. Someone who has worked their way up the finance hierarchy in a large corporate often sees moving to a similar environment as the obvious choice. But sometimes people want to shake things up, to reinvigorate their careers and find a renewed sense of purpose. Fast-growing, entrepreneurial businesses offer a unique value proposition to people who find themselves in that position: Be part of building something special from the ground up without taking on the personal risk of your own start-up. It’s a compelling opportunity.

What's your recruitment strategy to find these people?

We found that going to the mass market didn’t offer the right quality of candidate and instead we needed to deploy search strategies for lower-level roles than you might do in a corporate environment. We developed a strong relationship with experienced search consultant, Tim Hutchinson, at Marshall McAdam. Tim was able to introduce us to high calibre accounting and finance professionals who wanted to engage with our story and be part of what we are building. That relationship has made a big difference. 

Describe the PetSure work experience. 

It’s fast-paced, diverse and participative. Everyone jumps in and gets involved. We all work together in a vibrant and engaging open space. The CEO doesn’t even have an office, there are pets on the floor and vetinarians mix it up with the IT department.  It’s a unique and stimulating place to come to work at every day.

If you are interested in career opportunities with PetSure, please contact Tim Hutchinson at Marshall McAdam on 02 8249 4363.