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Embark’s New Strategic Alliances Team Is a Win-Win Across the Board

by Clancy Fossum, CPA* - September 2021 7 min read

In case you haven’t noticed, Embark’s built up a substantial amount of momentum lately. Between new offices in Tampa and Charlotte, getting our Valuation and Transaction Advisory practices up and running, and just the typical heat we bring to everything we do, things are gloriously busy these days.

And because we’re not ones to sit on our laurels, we’re taking full advantage of this momentum by officially announcing something that’s long been germinating within our firm – a dedicated Strategic Alliances team.

So sit back for a few minutes as we discuss why this is such momentous news for our clients and partners and, just as importantly, introduce the Embarker leading our strategic alliance charge – Managing Director Erick De La Fuente.

 

You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best

The marketplace isn’t lacking for vendors and solutions. In fact, trying to choose between the seemingly countless digital marvels out there is enough to make a CFO’s head spin, especially when every vendor promises analytics glory and efficiency wonderment. So what’s financial leadership to do? Who can they trust?

The Digital Finance Revolution: The Road to Data-Driven Decision Making

The answers to those questions can get complicated, at least for organizations determined to make such decisions on their own. But that’s the thing about forming genuine, reliable partnerships with the right specialists – you can lean on their experience and expertise to ensure every vendor and tool is the right one for your people and needs.

Granted, we might have buried the lede on this one, but that’s precisely what Embark now brings to the table with our Strategic Alliances team. We’re vetting those vendors and solutions, forming those relationships so our clients don’t have to. This way, when we sit down with a client to determine exactly what they need and want to accomplish, they can rest assured the solution we come back with is the best one for them.

 

A Full-Service Consultancy for CFOs and Their Teams

We’re not saying we haven’t focused on strategic alliances and business partnerships before. For instance, our long-standing relationship with Workiva has been a tremendous benefit to many of our clients over the years.

What’s different now, however, are the resources, time, people, and attention we’re devoting to our strategic alliances and partnerships. Whereas before, our perspective was limited to individual relationships, now we’re building out an entire ecosystem of relationships which can all be accretive to each other, one where there are no knowledge or experience gaps and we truly become a one-stop-shop for CFOs.

Remember that momentum we mentioned up top? Well, it’s allowed us to think on this much grander scale, to both invest in new practices and greatly expand existing ones – valuation, finance transformation, transaction advisory, and FAAS, of course, to name a few.

Simply put, the success we’ve realized thus far with our business model and plan has allowed us to continuously edge closer and closer to becoming the full-service consultancy we’ve always aimed for. And with this significant and permanent commitment to Strategic Alliances, we’re now able to effectively address the full spectrum of needs falling under the Office of the CFO, from digital transformation to the capital markets and all points between.

 

Spotlighting Our Partners

You’ve probably noticed our frequent use of the word relationship by now. To that point, we absolutely understand that alliances are a two-way street. Unfortunately, as many service and technology providers can attest, that seems to be a forgotten notion these days. Or at least isn’t as prevalent as it should be.

However, like most things we do, we’re approaching our alliances and relationships a bit differently. In this case, it’s not so much the typical ``what have you done for me lately” attitude as it is “what can Embark do for our service provider partners?” We fully understand the value our partners bring to our engagements and clients, and will always offer them the hospitality that’s become one of the trademarks of our firm.

Put another way, forming a strategic alliance with Embark will probably be quite different from usual, and that’s nothing but a great thing. The partnerships we form with innovative, game-changing providers will help fuel our firm’s growth, and we will never take that for granted.

 

Erick De La Fuente: The Ideal Embarker for the Job

Of course, these musings would all fall under the cart-before-the-horse category without the right person guiding the way. But that’s exactly why we’re so fortunate to have Managing Director Erick De La Fuente at the wheel, the ideal combination of hands-on experience and innovative mindset to align our firm with the solutions our clients need to thrive.

Having cut his consulting and technology teeth at Deloitte, Erick has implemented countless technologies for countless companies on the finance transformation front. And it’s that time he spent rolling up his sleeves and digging into such technologies that allowed him to see the nearly endless value they can bring to organizations of all shapes and sizes.

That’s what initially brought Erick to Embark as VP of Digital Finance back in 2018, where he spent a significant amount of his time building relationships with vendors that could add genuine value to our engagements.

In fact, Erick liked this side of his responsibilities so much, he left Embark to join Workiva, primarily to gain a better understanding of how an industry-leading vendor to accounting and finance organizations operates. Needless to say, Erick succeeded in his roles at Workiva, first as a Sales Manager on the Integrated Risk side of the platform and later as a Director of Partnership and Alliances.

And as if you didn’t see this coming, Erick soaked up everything he learned at Workiva, combined it with his already substantial skillset and knowledge base, and brought it back to Embark to become Managing Director for our new Strategic Alliances team. Hence, our absolute excitement over what the future looks like for our firm, clients, and partners.

 

Speaking of the Future…

Although Erick’s only been an official Embarker again for a few months, our strategic alliance count has already grown from three to ten – and counting. And while we could extrapolate some future alliance number that would truly be both accurate and astounding, you get the idea. The future is bright, indeed.

The Digital Finance Revolution: The Road to Data-Driven Decision Making

From here, Erick will continue to grow our Strategic Alliances team, adding new people to the framework that will ultimately become a center of excellence for our people. Therefore, when an Embark client has a specific issue to address or goal in mind, our Strategic Alliances team can sort through the many relationships we establish with industry-best vendors to find the perfect solution for the job and organization.

In the end, this new team will drive the two pillars we’ve built our entire firm around – our people and client hospitality. From here on out, our own team will have an in-house group of experts to turn to when looking for the best tool for any given situation. Likewise, our clients get to benefit from our network of partnerships and alliances, no longer having to worry about who to trust and which solution to choose.

In other words, second-guessing and technology missteps are officially a thing of the past for CFOs working with Embark. And it’s only getting better from here, so buckle up. It’s going to be a fun, productive ride for all.

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