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Guest writer: Jess Molina: In Conversation: Julian So, CFO

By Jess Molina

Jess Molina  is a storyteller. That’s just who she is – a 20 something editor turned actor and TV host, chronic oversharer on the internet, flatlay enthusiast, pasta eater, writer, and fairytale believer from New Zealand. And that’s just her night job.


By day, she’s a cool corporate, helping bring stories to life through her unique brand of storytelling. Somewhere in there she manages to relax and live her best life eating all the food, staying up late to interview celebrities LA time, and sharing her ‘Instagram’ life.


This week she is writing a series of blog posts in the led up to our NZ Startup Bootcamp:

I've always been extremely fascinated in how other people's world looks like - especially those in very different industries than me. Today's interview is with someone from the finance industry, a far cry from my creative background. Reading up on Julian prior to this interview, I found his business so different, so unique, and even quirky. I just knew I had to include him in this series! What really struck me when I was learning about Julian and what he does is how friendly he's made being a CFO. Not that CFO's aren't friendly (in my experience some of them even bring their dogs to work on casual Fridays). What I simply mean is that he's made CFOs so accessible in his business, CFO4U, a contract/virtual CFO service that offers virtual CFO services to high growth and start-up companies. This concept is unique and valuable, and Julian is so interesting to chat to. We talk about the best about what he does and dispel the myth that accounting is boring...

What got you into your line of work and how did end up where you are:

I am a Chartered Accountant by background and had been in senior finance and executive roles prior to founding my own business, CFO4U. CFO4U provides contract and virtual CFO (Chief Financial Officer) services to high growth and startup companies. It all started as a side hustle when initially I helped some of the startup companies that I invested in their finance area. 

What are you looking forward to getting out of the NZ Startup Bootcamp?

Meeting and working with new people, whether they are mentors or participants of the NZ Startup Bootcamp. What I really enjoy is that one or two years down the track, I can see the positive impact of the event with some of the participants take the learnings from the event and start to build their own startups. 

Best thing about getting to do what you do: 

Working with so many different business and helping them to succeed!

Last book/song/or film that resonated with you and why:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A really worthwhile read for anyone who wants to be a better leader and better person. 

Best cure for a crap day:

Exercise. I am a bit of a gym junkie and HIIT (High Interval Intensive Training) is my exercise of choice. What I like about is that I get absolutely wasted after the exercise and all I can think about is recovery, but not the crap that was in my head prior to I step inside the gym. 

Dream guests for a dinner party:

I love political debates and discussions! Having a dinner party with all the NZ present and past PMs that I started to follow in their political careers like Jacinda Ardern, Bill English, John Key, Helen Clark, Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger will be the like best dinner party guests ever. Can you imagine the passion, the heat debate around the table? Sounds like heaven to me!

Advice you’d give your younger self?

Be patient. Things that really matter in life such as relationships, career or business take time to build.

Tips for anyone wanting to get into your industry/follow your footsteps:

Study accounting and work towards becoming a Chartered Accountant is a good first step. People often have this misconception that accountants are boring and the career options are limited. This is far from the truth! I've met a lot of interesting people and CEOs that are / were accountants.  Jolie Hodson, the recently appointed CEO of Spark was an accountant and there are so many others who have started their careers in this industry and have gone on to do other things!

Find out more about Julian and CFO4U HERE.

This post was created in partnership with JESS MOLINA.

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