CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

DocuSign’s CFO sees ‘green field opportunity’

June 15, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

“We find that once people move from pen and paper to online and automated ways of agreeing, they don’t move back,” says DocuSign CFO Cynthia Gaylor. 

Portrait of Docusign CFO Cynthis Gaylor
DocuSign CFO Cynthia Gaylor.
Courtesy of DocuSign

The San Francisco-based tech company that offers organizations an eSignature solution and trades under the ticker DOCU had a strong first quarter of 2021. Revenue for DocuSign was $469.1 million, an increase of 58% year-over-year, and the company reached a milestone of 1 million subscribers. Its annual revenue was $974 million in 2020. “We’re seeing strong customer demand and usage of our products that’s really helping drive our top line growth,” Gaylor says. 

eSignature is one way DocuSign is helping drive what it calls the “anywhere economy,” where agreements and work can be completed from any location, she explains.

“We’re in a very nascent space, where there’s lots of green field opportunity,” she says, adding that the company is seeing strong ROI across product categories. One metric she scrutinizes is “net retention rate,” which measures how customers who have been on the platform for at least a year are using DocuSign’s products, and “if they are growing their dollar net retention rate with us,” Gaylor says. “We had a net retention rate of 125% this past quarter, which was a historical high for us as a company,” she says. 

In an era of cyberthreats, within Gaylor’s teams across finance and operations, cybersecurity is “really embedded in all the back-office processes and operations used to support the company, particularly as we’re growing so quickly,” she says; and best practices also require collaboration between departments. 

“We’ve made investments, and we’ve hired some senior leaders across the company, in all of our departments, that focus on security,” she says. “Not only do we have a [chief trust and security officer], but we also recently hired a new CIO [chief information officer]. Within our product teams, security is very important.”

Gaylor didn’t take the traditional path to the CFO role. “I focused my entire career, over 25 years, in software and internet,” she says.

Gaylor started out her career as an investment banker in the technology sector for 18 years, served as head of corporate development at Twitter, and then began a practice as an advisor to “CEOs, CFOs, and boards, across their most strategic imperatives.” She went from advising the C-suite to becoming a CFO at two different companies. 

“I was on the board of DocuSign for a couple years before becoming the CFO, and I was chair of the audit committee,” she says. Beginning the role of CFO in September 2020 provided the opportunity to “really partner with our CEO, the rest of the management team, and the board from a different lens, and really help operationalize the tremendous growth we were seeing at scale as a company,” Gaylor says. 

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

Big deal

Edward Jones' and Age Wave's study released June 14, The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes, found about 69 million Americans said the pandemic has altered their retirement timing as of March 2021. And about one out of every three Americans planning to retire think they will now retire later, according to the research.

 

Going deeper

A new survey by Gartner, Inc. found that external audit fees are expected to increase at 62% of organizations. The increase is due to COVID-19 impacts, acquisitions and divestitures, and inflationary pressures. Automation of internal controls may combat this increase. Companies that automate at least 25% of their internal controls, on average, paid 27% lower audit fees, according to Gartner's report. The data is based on a survey of 166 publicly traded and privately held external audit firm clients across industries. 

 

Leaderboard

Becky Roof was appointed interim CFO at Lordstown Motors Corp., a producer of electric light duty trucks, effective immediately. Julio Rodriguez has resigned as CFO. Lordstown has hired an executive search firm to identify a permanent CEO and CFO. These changes come as the company begins to "transition from the R&D and early production phase to the commercial production phase of its business," according to the announcement.

Jeffery L. Taylor was named VP and CFO at Franklin Electric Co., Inc., a manufacturer of products geared toward the management of water and fuel, effective June 14, 2021. John J. Haines has retired from the role but will support Taylor through an interim period. Most recently, Taylor was the CFO of Blue Bird Corporation.

Overheard

"We've actually been effectively stockpiling more and more cash, waiting for opportunities to invest at higher rates. So our balance sheet is positioned (to) benefit from rising rates."

—JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon on positioning the bank to benefit from higher interest rates, expressed during a virtual conference held by Morgan Stanley on June 14, as reported by Reuters

Our mission to make business better is fueled by readers like you. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.