GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Perry Steinberg, Chief Product Officer at AbacusNext
Perry Steinberg, Chief Product Officer at AbacusNext shares a few top best practices for fintech product innovators to keep in mind while touching upon his biggest fintech predictions for business accounting in this quick chat with GlobalFintechSeries.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Perry and your journey to your role at AbacusNext; what are some of the biggest Product Development and Learning experiences from your journey that you’d like to share about today?
I am currently the chief product officer of AbacusNext, where I lead the units for engineering, DevOps, product management and user design. I have over 20 years of experience leading document and data initiatives for Fortune 500 companies, including Lehman Brothers/Barclays Capital, American Express and Accenture Consulting. Prior to AbacusNext, I was GM and VP for products at Medidata Solutions, where I led business and technology development for multiple business units including document and content management as well as risk-based monitoring and payment processing.
There are two experiences that have shaped my product development journey which I’d like to highlight:
The first is an experience in leadership during a time of immense pressure. As a vice president at Barclays Capital, I led eight analysts producing reports for the managing directors to aid their decision process. As we headed toward the Lehman bankruptcy and subsequent Barclays Capital acquisition, I had to keep my team motivated and focused. By keeping focused on what we could control and collaborating effectively, we continued to deliver through the acquisition and transition of Lehman’s North American investment banking and capital markets business to Barclays Capital.
The second experience was a two-year long global product launch at Medidata. I led 250 global resources on a project that defined, built and launched an industry-first global risk-based monitoring SaaS tool. Working with the CTO and global product development leaders, the team of highly dedicated engineers, architects, product managers and designers delivered on time, on budget.
We’d love to hear a little about AbacusNext and some of the upcoming innovations that users can look forward to?
At AbacusNext, we are creating innovative solutions supporting practice management and business operations for legal and accounting firms. Three pillars allow us to keep focus and prioritize a strategic approach to serving customers.
The first pillar is practice management platform expansion. Our research shows that 70% of the SMB market across sectors, including various financial services markets, require common core capabilities, including, for example, calendar and email unification, task management, role and user management, dynamic workflow and document assembly.
The second pillar is our purpose-built cloud. Millions of accounting firms and law offices were forced to transition to virtual work during the pandemic. Doing so helped them realize the benefits of cloud technology.
The third pillar is automated payments, a great way for firms to automate manual tasks, reduce transaction costs and improve cash flow. AP automation is booming, in part too because getting away from paper checks allows firms to get business done while social distancing.
Can you take us through your typical product development plans and roadmap (how have you generally planned the process) – what are some of the biggest tips you’d share as one product developer to another?
I love this question, as it goes to the heart of my job. There are three main areas of the typical product development process that allow my teams to drive success:
- Customer & company strategy focus: Understand the needs of your customer and make those needs the foundation of your product development strategy.
- Create the plan: Document a four-quarter road map, with 75% capacity, so your leadership team can flex with the market conditions. This four-quarter road map will allow you to flex in certain ways to drive that success.
- Measure results: Once the team has a plan, the key function is the reporting to measure, monitor and deliver against the plan.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the global state of fintech and business accounting today, how do you feel this segment will transform in the next few years: what are some of the biggest innovations that users can expect?
According to me, Fintech and accounting processes – especially for the SMB market – will leverage core technologies that drive revenue and profitability, including cloud platforms, purpose-built practice management, data & analytics and B2B payment platforms. Cloud platforms will get smarter by leveraging AI and machine learning, and electronic payments will transform our business over the next decade.
Practice management platforms for firms will continue to improve productivity, drive efficiency and provide security and compliance. Data and analytics will power improved customer service and enhance customer value and unparalleled access. B2B electronic payment processing will become ubiquitous.
Can you share a few thoughts on what has influenced evolution in accounting and cloud solutions and where you expect emerging technologies (AI/ML) to take these solutions to?
Professional services firms will grow and thrive by better understanding their SMB clients’ business challenges and becoming a trusted advisor. AI and ML are key technologies that will automate manual tasks, freeing up resources to offer higher-value services. Analytics will serve up business and financial analysis, perform forecasting and explore “what-if” scenarios that allow firms to offer advanced financial planning, tax planning, auditing and business advisory services. AI also supports improved client engagement and customer service, simplifying and personalizing communications and collaboration with customers.
Before we wrap up, what are the biggest takeaways you’d share for future fintech leaders and innovators?
If I leave you with one thing, it’s that fintech leaders should know your customer, understand that leadership demands focus and a clear strategy and be aware of how platforms and the cloud have the power to simplify and grow your business.
AbacusNext is a leading vertical SaaS provider for compliance-focused professional services markets. Our purpose-built cloud infrastructure puts customers’ business data and vital applications into a virtual workspace that is accessible anywhere, anytime, and from any device, enabling small and medium-sized legal and accounting firms to grow an efficient, secure, client-focused practice.
More than 100,000 users worldwide benefit from the most complete product portfolio in the industry, including practice management and case management solutions, tailored cloud options, document automation and payment processing.
Perry Steinberg is Chief Product Officer at AbacusNext, where he leads Engineering, DevOps, Product Management and User Design. Perry has over 20 years of experience leading document and data initiatives for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to AbacusNext, Perry was GM and VP Product at Medidata Solutions, where he led business and technology development for multiple Business Units including document and content management as well as risk-based monitoring and payment processing. Earlier in his career, Perry was VP, Product Strategy and Corporate Development at INTTRA, the largest global supply chain platform for ocean shipping. Perry led the development of the companies algorithmic based solutions to solve artifact challenges within the global supply chain. Perry is an innovative technology and product leader, with a track record of success building and leading teams to deliver new products and experiences that result in higher user engagement and improved operational efficiency.