Cory Michalyshyn, former Manager at Deloitte, is now the CFO/COO of Solink, a leading cloud-based loss prevention software for multi-site businesses based in Ottawa. We spoke with Cory about his transition from public practice to industry to start-up, and some of the differences he noticed.
The Family Impact
Starting a family made me take a look at what kind of impact busy season would have on my life moving forward. My wife was pregnant, and that was when I decided to make a jump to industry.
I became the Controller for a networking company in Ottawa. I suddenly had to learn a lot of things I never learned at Deloitte or university—like just how important on-time payroll is. It was this first role in industry that really prepared me mentally for what was to come in my eventual start-up role.
The Audit Attitude
When I joined Solink, a start-up, suddenly I was more than just the finance function. I had to learn and become HR, operations, and be prepared to help on any other task that came my way, from booking travel for staff to coordinating installation logistics.
Luckily, how I learned to approach problems while being an audit manager translated right over: when you find a problem, you roll up your sleeves with your team and get the job done—no matter what. This Get things done attitude is what succeeds in the start-up world.
The Culture Difference
At a start-up, there are all kinds of different people—age, disciplines, interests, priorities, etc—it’s a very different culture from audit, where everyone is more or less at the same life-stage as you. Everyone chooses to be at a start-up for the excitement and camaradery, but managing those different personalities, priorities and relationships can still be challenging.
As a leader of the organization, consistency is the best way to foster the right type of culture. You must be consistent in how you approach different scenarios and issues, since this creates the precedent that people will use to guide their approach in everything at work. Culture is much more than just perks and superficial things, its really how the company handles challenges.
The deeper you get into your career, the harder it will be to make that jump. It’ll never be easier than today. Eventually, you may find that working for start-ups will become an addiction. It’s hard to go back to a firm after you get a taste of what it’s like to make a meaningful impact every day.
Interested in diving into the start-up world yourself? Learn about our #FinInTech program to see how you can get placed with a start-up!