Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Members are successful leaders from world-class financial companies, each bringing a wealth of experience to the table. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you. This week: Paul Paradis.
Paul Paradis is the chief business development officer at Sezzle, a financial technology company that has created a next-generation payment platform for e-commerce. Its bank login authentication technology enables consumers to pay businesses directly from their bank account, with lower processing fees and cash-back rewards.
How did your career as a finance executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
I’m not sure I’ll ever consider myself a “finance executive.” It sounds much too formal. But my career definitely got a boost when I decided to attend the full-time MBA program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The curriculum, the experiential learning and, most importantly, the connections I made laid the foundation for the rest of my career. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that people like doing business with those they know and trust, and I was fortunate enough to meet some of the best people in the world while attending Carlson.
How do you keep yourself motivated and driven by your work, regardless of how busy you are day to day?
The key for me is to make sure that the work I do is meaningful and has a large impact. If my work is improving someone else’s life or work, I’m happy. Whether that’s providing a customer with a better solution or connecting two people that can help each other, if I can provide meaningful value, I have no problem staying motivated.
What do you see as the future of the financial world?
As the co-founder of a fintech startup, I may be a bit biased here, but I believe the financial world is ripe for some serious disintermediation. It’s one of the few industries in which the same handful of players have dominated the industry over the past 30+ years. And most of them have grown through acquisition instead of innovation. Ideas like blockchain, real-time payments and robo-advisors have and will continue to disrupt traditional institutions to the point where the largest players in financial services will be technology companies in 10 years, not financial services companies.
What is your best finance-related tip for businesses?
Take some time to explore the new finance tools being offered to businesses. Our company uses some outstanding applications to help with everything from bookkeeping to benefits to payroll. They’re easy to use and much cheaper than your traditional solutions. Xero, Gusto and Zenefits are all worth a peek.