Digest: Ask Me Anything: Alessandro, CFO @ Odoo
Digest: Ask Me Anything: Alessandro, CFO @ Odoo

Digest: Ask Me Anything: Alessandro, CFO @ Odoo

Meeting Date
April 30, 2021
Event Type
XAnge Talks
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Last edited time
Aug 1, 2022 9:23 AM

Alessandro Mazzocchetti, CFO @ Odoo since 2016. A lawyer by training, he worked at the Brussels Bar and then studied finance. After training with American Express in the US and the UK, he joined Odoo after returning to Belgium.

Odoo's expansion in a few figures :
  • 7 million ARR in 2016 and 140 people. At the time, their headquarters were in Belgium, with some developers in India. They open Dubai in October 2018 (200 people in 2021) then San Francisco (20 people) then Hong Kong (10 people). They are recruiting about 120 and 150 people per month.
  • 100 million ARR in 2021 and 2100/2200 people!

First, what makes a good CFO?

He is a business partner: supporting operational decisions and being an architect of value creation.
It's a balancing act: knowing how to align with the vision and interests of your two bosses, the CEO and the board.
He knows how to interpret numbers from a strategic perspective: he is not just a number cruncher.
"I think it's the only person who is well positioned in a company to understand the entire chain of value from start to finish." - Alessandro Mazzocchetti, CFO @ Odoo

The organization of Odoo's Financial and HR departments

In the case of Odoo, HR is integrated with the Finance team.

Headquarters side:

  • In Finance: 1 financial controller and 6 people are in charge of the accounting at the central level. Every month, the team manages more than 3,500 sales invoices and 1,500 purchase invoices.
  • In HR: Head of people, Senior Human Ressources Officer, HR executive x 2, HR manager x 2, HR generalists x 3, HR officer, HR Talent Acquisition officer x 10, Fleet and HR Support, Fleet manager, Junior HR assistant.


Branch side :

Each subsidiary has 3 people (+/-) in accounting: 1 management controller, 1 accountant.

The HR aspect is managed at Headquarters.

What is their overall functioning?

At Odoo the company culture is key so outsourcing these functions was not the appropriate way to do it, according to Alessandro. The entire team is led by :

The implementation of processes and workflows. Example: The creation of the financial reports took Alessandro and his team one year!
Apply and replicate the workflow without changing it.

In Finance:
Definition of input and output: Clearly define the metrics for financial reporting. Example: Before computing the churn rate, Alessandro's team agreed on a single definition with clear rules on how to do the calculations.
Internationalization of accounting.
In HR:
The recruitment of team members is based on the number of people to be recruited: 1 person has to recruit between 50 and 70 people per year. Learn more about this:
HR Team Sizing For Rockstars
Each department has its own HR. Why do you want to do this? To create links with your manager.
β€œIf there is any essential data to keep internally, it is the accounting. This increases the CFO's credibility internally, positioning him/her as a business partner, and externally, as he/she is able to communicate on value creation.” - Alessandro

Recruiting and managing the team

A strong culture based on agility and team accountability.

At Odoo, no one is responsible for the corporate culture. However, it is embedded in all the company's processes.

"For example, any decision takes no more than 2 or 3 hours." - Alessandro

The company culture must be addressed from the beginning. It is the key to retention.

In particular, this culture requires teams to take on responsibility very early on. This helps to avoid heavy processes that would prevent quick decisions.

"I don't really use KPI's. I give them projects, goals to reach." - Alessandro
"When I feel that a team member is in a comfortable zone, I pull out the chair to get them out of their comfort zone (...). My role is to challenge the teams." - Alessandro

At Odoo, only 7% of employees leave the company each year. On average, people stay with the company for 12 years.

With young hires on board

Odoo recruits people relatively young to "start from a blank page" and forge their mindset. Thus, they are not influenced by their previous experiences, which would prevent them from thinking outside the box.

In-house promotions

At Odoo, managers are young and come from internal promotion only. For example, the San Francisco manager joined the company at the age of 27 and was promoted to manager only 4 years later.

"There is barely any external experienced recruitment. 99% of promotions are internal. I am the only counter-example." - Alessandro

Transparency and over-valuation of salaries and bonuses

Odoo publishes salaries and everyone knows almost everything about the company, it's a real flow of information.
There is a salary scale, based on benchmarking, which shows that salaries at Odoo are 20% above the industry average. This document is published within the company.
There is an evaluation grid with 5 levels: from "meet expectation" to "exceed expectation" and every year bonuses are awarded based on performance.
"Everyone knows exactly how much he will earn in 10 years, the person does not care what happens to his salary everything is transparent." - Alessandro

Odoo has its own Salary configurator : Based on the "Cafeteria plan", this tool allows the employee to compose his benefits as if he had to manage a budget: company car, days off, pension insurance...etc. Every year, following his salary increase, he can reallocate his compensation if necessary. The device improves retention.

Scaling the finance team: Alessandro's advice

According to Alessandro, you must look at "scalability" from the beginning and put in place the right tools and workflows. You won't have time afterwards!

Two pieces of advice came up frequently in his speech:

Duplicate processes that work quickly.
Recruit the right person to duplicate.
"Every business is different and can work differently but you need the right tool from the start." - Alessandro

Expansion: the role of the finance team Here are the secrets confided by Alessandro:

✨ Learn to delegate and empower your finance teams early on. ✨ Implement a strict schedule for financial reporting. ✨ Develop an internal knowledge of taxation at the various country level.


Do not hesitate to look at: -
Hiring Support by XAnge
Hiring Support by XAnge
: the ultimate guide for your next recruitments! - Our special
HR Team Sizing For Rockstars
International Organization Management Study
- The
CFO / Head of Finance
CFO / Head of Finance
tool box.