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Webcast Summary

Although ride-hailing and lodging have emerged as the most emblematic exemplars of the sharing economy, by 2020, 43% of the U.S. workforce, including finance and accounting professionals, will be freelancing.

If all the best workers are moving to the freelance economy (with autonomy and independence as the lures), how will you find and retain top talent for your finance team? By going to where the talent is going: the freelance workforce.

Technological advances (cloud accounting and better communication channels), coupled with significant shifts in demographics and societal priorities, now give companies the option of bolstering their finance teams – or even building them entirely – with freelance talent.

But many companies are still wary, which is why it's critical for CFOs to gain a thorough understanding of what the freelance economy is and how it is transforming the way people work, as well as the risks of ignoring this sea change currently under way.

During this Webcast we will discuss:

  • What finance executives need to know about the underlying economic and technological developments that are driving the mass talent migration to the gig economy,
  • How Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft are tackling the future of work,
  • Why the finance profession has become increasingly amenable to a freelance employment model, and
  • How CFOs can apply best practices of cultivating a freelance workforce specifically within the realm of finance.

About the Panelists

Michael BurdickMichael Burdick, Co-Founder and CEO, Paro

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of Paro, where he and his team are empowering finance and accounting professionals to embrace the future of work and disrupt the more than $150 billion accounting industry. Michael believes that freelancing is an unstoppable and inspiring force, and he wants to pave the way to a future where freelancers can realize the intangible benefits of the future of work – working on passion projects, working from home, and being their own bosses – while having income predictability.

Prior to joining Paro, Michael was a consultant with Deloitte, where his drive for recreating the finance and accounting value chain via tech began. Michael has been a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, Forbes, and HuffPost on topics relating to the freelance economy, the future of work, and remote work. He is a graduate of Duke University and received his MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. At his core, Michael is passionate about helping people achieve the best versions of themselves.

Paul EstesPaul Estes, Senior Director, Microsoft

A few years ago, Paul Estes was a Chief of Staff at Microsoft, juggling a high-stress job and a young family. His wife also worked full time. Something had to give. A friend recommended he hire a Virtual Assistant. That decision changed his life, reinventing the way he worked, lived, and thought. Today, Paul is an unstoppable advocate for the Gig Economy. He's relentlessly curious, ridiculously energetic, and radically passionate about inspiring others to embrace THEIR profound potential IN the "future of work." By accessing a global pool of talent, Paul believes every person can re-imagine what is possible. Reclaim our time. Grow. And gain the skills for a better future.

Today Paul leads a cross-disciplinary team at Microsoft focused on the early adoption of freelancers in enterprise companies, and currently is writing a book on the subject. He also shares his insights as a speaker and panelist at conferences. Informed by more than 15 years of business development experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Dell, Paul's vision has helped DRIVE multiple large tech deals and transformative partnerships. Outside of work, Paul now thrives with an on-demand lifestyle and outsources most of his life, which gives him more quality time with his wife and two daughters.

Jennifer WarawaJennifer Warawa, Executive Vice President, Partners, Accountants, and Alliances, Sage

Jennifer Warawa serves as the Executive Vice President of Partners, Accountants, and Alliances with Sage, a global technology company operating in 23 countries around the world, with a customer base of more than three million, and a partner, accountant, and bookkeeper ecosystem of more than 120,000. In her role, Jennifer is responsible for the strategy and execution of Sage's partner program worldwide to drive success and generate revenue for Sage's partner network.

In addition to being a thought leader on the future of work and the freelance economy, Jennifer was named among Accounting Today's Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting for the last seven years, was on CPA Practice Advisor’s Top 40 Under 40 list for six consecutive years, and has been named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting for the last four years by CPA Practice Advisor.

Bryan PeñaBryan Peña, Senior Vice President, Contingent Workforce Strategies, Staffing Industry Analysts

As the Senior Vice President of Contingent Workforce Strategies with Staffing Industry Analysts, Peña is internationally recognized as an expert on contingent workforce management strategies and tactics. His primary function is to manage the unique needs of the CWS Council globally, helping companies that are members of the CWS Council deploy cutting-edge strategies for managing their contingent labor and, as required, provide buy-side view points to staffing firms. He is also responsible for drafting and executing the CWS Council's research agenda, with the ultimate goal of advancing thought leadership around the growing field of contingent work.

An accomplished speaker and presenter, Peña has expertise that comes from more than a decade of strategic sourcing experience in Fortune 500 companies and includes services pricing and negotiation strategies, contract construction, risk management, and international managed service provider (MPS) and vendor management system (VMS) program delivery models.

About the Moderator

Chris SchmidtChris Schmidt, Senior Editor, CFO Publishing

Chris Schmidt is the senior editor with CFO Publishing, overseeing the development of custom-content Webcasts and other tailored outreach to senior finance executives. Chris also works with CFO Publishing's research team to conduct studies on a variety of topics. Before joining CFO Publishing, Chris served as director of corporate communications for Oliver Wyman, a global strategy consultancy. He is a graduate of Colby College. Chris is based in Boston.

About the Sponsor

This Webcast is brought to you with support from Paro, which empowers finance and accounting professionals to embrace the future of work.

Attend this webcast and earn FREE Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credit
Webcast Inquiries: For inquiries as well as complaints concerning this webcast, you are welcome to send an email message to
Please note that only those who attend the live Webcast will have the opportunity to earn continuing professional education (CPE) credit in connection with this Webcast. Because there is no charge to register for this Webcast, there are no refunds following registration for this Webcast.

Fields of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: None
Advance Preparation: None required
Delivery Method: Group Internet-based
Recommended CPE Credit(s): 1

Free CPE Credit

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