Varun Athi, Finance Expert in Paramus, NJ, United States
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Varun Athi

Verified Expert  in Finance

Finance Expert

Paramus, NJ, United States
Toptal Member Since
August 9, 2017

Varun has helped technology startups raise over $50 million in funding and built pricing models to win more than $1 billion in contracted revenue at Cognizant, a Fortune 500 firm. He has worked with management teams to build financial models, create strategic plans and improve their execution of operating margin and cash management. As a freelancer, he enjoys helping companies raise capital and build scale.

Career Highlights

Finance Business Partner
Cognizant Technology Solutions

Education Highlights

Certified MBA (CMBA) Degree
Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy

Case Studies

Work Experience

Head of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)

2015 - PRESENT
Vidyo, Inc.
  • Built the business case and financial model to raise over $50 million in equity and debt capital from existing and new investors.
  • Built the pricing model for SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) business offerings that scaled to $10+ million in recurring revenue within two years.
  • Created a framework to create and measure financial and non-financial KPIs across the organization; resulted in a decision to pivot into platform model and move away from plain vanilla conferencing solutions.
  • Created a new sales incentive framework, and implemented a sales incentive tool (Xactly) to execute the plan, which increased sales to strategic customer base by ~60% and reduced the commission payout time lag by more than 30 days.
  • Implemented Salesforce CPQ (Configure Price Quote) module and FinancialForce to transform the billing and financial operations and to enable real-time visibility of key metrics.
Focus areas: Debt Raises, Fundraising, Cost Management, Sales Compensation Structuring, Reasonable Compensation Calculation, Analytics, Sales, Sales Operations, M&A Modeling, Revenue Modeling, Cash Flow Modeling, Business Planning, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)

Finance Business Partner

2013 - 2015
Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Built the 3-year plan for the business unit to scale from ~$100 million to over $250 million in revenues.
  • Reduced quarterly days sales outstanding (DSO) by 22 days by re-engineering the accounts receivable process.
  • Negotiated contract language and pricing for multi-million dollar engagements and played a key role in winning over $40 million in contracted revenue.
  • Delivered $1.1 million in savings and improved margins by ~1% through optimization initiatives.
  • Set up budgeting, forecasting and margin review processes and cadence; drove financial acumen in the Business Unit.
Focus areas: Cost Reduction & Optimization, Profitability Optimization, Financial Modeling, Monthly Close Process, Accounting, Controller, Pricing Strategy, Zero-based Budgeting, Budget Controls, Operational Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)

Corporate FP&A Manager

2009 - 2012
Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Built and maintained the 'Forecast P&L’ Excel model for the CFO; defined and managed key assumptions with cost and revenue centers across the $12 billion firm.
  • Worked with the executive team to develop key discussion points on firm performance for quarterly earnings call and 10-Q/10-K filings.
  • Conceptualized and built a statistical revenue forecast model for the company that had a prediction error of less than 1%; this was used along with bottom-up forecasts as a primary input in the annual planning process.
  • Spearheaded the implementation of SAP BPC. This was among SAP’s largest implementations of the SAP BPC tool and was featured on the SAP website.
  • Analyzed the chargeback costs for infrastructure, vetted takeover targets, and designed processes to push down currency hedging costs into business unit P&L’s.
  • Executed the annual budgeting process and anchored the budget presentation deck for the board of directors.
Focus areas: Hedging, Forex, Treasury & Liquidity Management, Investor Relations, Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Financial System Implementation, Budgeting, Business Planning

Financial Analyst

2008 - 2009
Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Built a pricing model with scenario analysis and pro forma P&L to bid and win a $700+ million deal; partnered with the business team to obtain management sign-off on the contract terms.
  • Built financial models and participated in the due diligence of a $400 million acquisition target for the business unit.
  • Prepared and presented monthly revenue and profitability analysis package to business unit leadership team.
Focus areas: Financial Modeling, Price Analysis, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A)

Equity Research Associate

2007 - 2008
Credit Suisse
  • Built financial models for companies under coverage, which were utilized as a core part of investment decision-making process.
  • Authored industry-specific research reports for solar photovoltaic (PV) and biofuel companies that were instrumental in informing potential investors about the state of the industry and constructing investment thesis.
  • Created investment theme decks that generated significant interest in alternative energy from existing investor base.
  • Interviewed CEOs and CFOs across semiconductor capital equipment and solar PV industries as well as their supply chains as part of industry research and value chain analysis.
Focus areas: Investor Presentations, Investment Thesis, Industry Analysis, Equity Research
2017 - 2018

Program for Leadership Development (PLD) in Leadership

Harvard Business School - Boston

2009 - 2013

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in Investment Analysis

CFA Institute - United States

2008 - 2008

Certification in Financial Risk Management (FRM)

Global Association for Risk Professionals (GARP) - New York

2005 - 2007

Certified MBA (CMBA) Degree in Finance and Strategy

Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy - India

2000 - 2004

Bachelor's Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Madras University - India

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