January 31, 2022
Posted by: DevDigital
Vice President of Finance Debby Sapp has been with DevDigital for almost nine years as of December 2021. Before that, she had over 20 years of experience in finance roles. She worked in the auto and music industries before moving into tech nine years ago. In her many years as VP of Finance here, Debby has tackled a wide range of challenges and learned a few tricks for keeping all accounts updated and accurate at all times. She has handled accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll matters, financial reporting, company health insurance, and financial analysis for DevDigital and several Kernel Equity partners over the years.
2021: A Year of Highs and Lows
Like all of us, Debby experienced some high points and low points in 2021. As a people person, getting back into the office was a high point for Debby. “There is just something about everyone being together instead of working remotely all the time,” she says.
A low point for her was having a good employee poached by another company that was able to offer a much higher salary. There was also some turnover in the India office. She remarks, “It’s not that we aren’t competitive, but we pride our company on being cheaper, better, and faster than other development shops.”
She’s also witnessed impressive growth and development at DevDigital and partner firms. After 20% growth in 2020, there was plenty of room to be optimistic about 2021, and it delivered some big developments. Selling one of the Kernel Equity companies was a highlight from a financial perspective.
Debby was involved in a couple of major developments at DevDigital in 2021. “Getting our PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans forgiven was my biggest accomplishment for 2021! Then, number two is being in the process of one of our equity companies (MaxxContent) being sold. It was a lot of work but fun seeing how it all worked out. When the wire hit the bank account it was like ‘Yes! That’s what all that hard work was all about.’”
MaxxContent is an educational technology company that provides educational content to correctional facilities around the country. They offer a learning management system (LMS), original content, e-books, and courses from major e-learning providers. DevDigital created their LMS and website.
Debby also had an insurance-related “win” last year. DevDigital offers health insurance with policy options that change every year. In 2021, the health insurance companies weren’t exactly wheeling and dealing to get our business. Everyone was raising their rates, by a sizable percentage in some cases. Debby worked hard to overcome that and, in the end, she put together some good options at reasonable rates.
Managing Money for Several Companies
Debby is still doing financial management for Dev Digital, Your Tempo, Other Left, and Hop doc. Each of these companies offers unique services to different markets, with the goal of making customers’ lives easier. Your Tempo is software for songwriters, agents, and tour managers who want to manage their work all in one place from a secure online portal. Hop Doc is a “virtual toolbox” for medical practices and clinics providing mobile apps and a cloud-based portal. Other Left is a design and innovation consulting firm that helps businesses design and launch innovative new products.
Debby loves the challenge of working with five companies. “It is amazing. I love all the different companies. I love watching them grow from nothing to something profitable and sellable. The end and first of the month can be crazy for me but I love it. So much fun producing those financial statements.”
Daily Discipline is Her Key to Success
Debby’s secret to staying on top of financials is pretty simple: she balances cash every morning before doing any other work. This daily discipline makes it clear where each company is, financially speaking, at any given time. Keeping up with money going out and coming in daily also makes it easier to produce end-of-month financial statements. Almost all of the work’s been done.
She learned quite a few things from Peter Marcum, President and Co-Founder of DevDigital. In fact, he gave her quite a bit of informal financial management training, which Debby has made good use of. Peter is a numbers person, so he likes her ability to say where each company stands at any time.
Great people are the key to DevDigital’s success. And, well, no business can succeed without close attention to profits and expenses. Debby has excelled in doing that work. Her continued dedication allows us to set accurate goals for 2022, which we are excited to achieve and exceed.