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2024 Best in Finance: Matt Willinger

2024 Best in Finance: Matt Willinger

This article was written by Allison Stines and originally appeared in Louisville Business First on June 17, 2024.

Matt Willinger

CFO and co-founder, Pluris Real Estate


Years in current job:6

Years in the industry:18+

Hobbies:Golf, spending time with family and friends

What has been a major turning point in your career and what made it so important?

In 2008, I took a leap of faith by moving from working at a Fortune 200 company to a family-owned business with roughly 30 employees.

This transition was certainly an eye-opening experience. However, I learned two completely different ways to operate a business which enabled me to take bits and pieces from these organizations and apply them to my own company today.

Why did you pick finance as a career?

My father was always a huge influence on me. He worked as a CFO since I was young, and I always thought I would follow in his footsteps.

It didn’t hurt that I was good with numbers. I enjoyed my accounting classes because there was always symmetry in debits and credits.

At one point, I loved the idea of being an architect. I am fascinated by what architects can imagine and draw. I feel like I have found my spot utilizing my strengths in finance while working in an industry where I can appreciate architecture.

How do you go about solving a complex financial question or problem?

Like any good finance guy, I turn to Excel! While funny, it is usually true.

Thinking systematically through a problem while working it through a model usually helps identify all the variables that can affect the outcome. It is important to get as much information from the various stakeholders as possible.

While I may have a general idea of the inputs, ensuring I have the right data to analyze is ultimately key to determining the appropriate solution.

What do you wish people understood about your job?

While I am a CFO, I’m also the co-founder of our small company, which requires me to wear multiple hats at once.

At any given time, I may need to be an IT professional, head of HR, a property manager, a maintenance tech and the list goes on. Some days are filled with simple bookkeeping duties, while others are spent in collaboration with my team navigating a complex underwriting.

While stressful at times, the exposure to every facet of our business has only helped me expand my knowledge and leadership.