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Interview with Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America Vice President & CFO – Nathan Flora

June 29, 2017
Olivia B. Martin



Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America (SMA), part of Sumitomo Drive Technologies, announced Nathan Flora as Vice President & CFO January 1, 2017. Mr. Flora previously served as the Director of Finance.


Mr. Flora provides leadership and direction for corporate budgeting, financial reporting, internal audit, taxation, and capital investments. Over the past six months, he has settled into his role and is looking forward to continuing to new opportunities for growth and further improvement.

What was your journey like to get where you are today?

It was challenging but worth it. I knew I wanted to have a career in finance when I was in high school and made a goal to be a CFO in college. In fact, I even put my goal in writing around that time. I gradually researched what the position required, and I invested a significant amount of time to fulfill additional requirements to gain the relevant experience and credentials.

I earned my undergraduate degree in Finance and my MBA in Management Accounting. When I came to Sumitomo Drive Technologies, I started in the finance department as a Credit & Collections Specialist and then a Staff Accountant, but also had the opportunity to work in operational and sales roles before becoming the Director of Finance and now CFO. Having experience in a wide variety of positions and different departments have proven to be invaluable in seeing the big picture and understanding business's needs.

What is your vision for SMA?

My vision for SMA is to be the market leader. I want customers and industry members to look to us for innovation and information. I'm competitive in nature myself, so I want to be the best, and I want the company to be the best as well.

How do you see yourself shaping that vision?

Very carefully! I would like to help us to become a faster and more efficient organization in everything that we do. In order to achieve this, I will make sure that as we grow, we continue the appropriate level of investment to maximize our resources. This includes investing in people, where the ability to have talented and skillful employees will push us to become the market leader.

 

 

What is the key to a successful budget?

The key to a successful budget is to have it aligned with the strategic plans of the business. It's easy to come up with numbers, but not as easy to have it harmonized with the business goals. The same message needs to be clear, consistent, and well understood across the different elements in the budget.


In work or personal life, what is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

In my work life, passing the CPA exam was one of the biggest challenges I overcame. I was working full time and married with children. Staying focused was a tremendous challenge, but well worth it.

In my personal life, the biggest and most enjoyable challenge is being a parent. Each of my three children has a unique personality and trying to figure out the best way to parent can be difficult. Seeing them imitate me in unintended ways makes me realize there are behaviors that as a parent I need to change. They keep me in check and make sure I have a fresh perspective of myself.

What personal characteristics describe you the best?

Predictable, but not boring! I'm methodical, logical, and calculated. I like to be able to analyze facts and data to understand the task at hand better.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy socializing with friends and family and doing things with my children. I love watching them play their sports and practicing with them to help them improve. My daughter runs track, and my two sons play baseball. It's enjoyable for my wife and me to get out, meet other parents and have fun.

Personally, I like to run, play the guitar, golf, kayak, and kayak surf. We love to get to the beach when we can. Over the years, I've also become a bit of a health nerd. I like to learn about healthy food options and the best way to stay fit.

 


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