Photographic portrait image of Joy Mbanugo

Joy Mbanugo: EY Alumni Spotlight

Joy Mbanugo shares more about her journey from intern to executive and what energizes her in her current role as CFO of cloud-based IT service provider ServiceRocket.

In brief
  • Joy’s 11-year EY US career began in 2003. She worked in offices in Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, DC; London, England; and the Bay Area.
  • Her EY US experience taught her the essentials for success as an executive, including how to be a good leader.
  • Now a first-time finance chief of tech firm ServiceRocket, she is passionate about people development, mentorship and paying it forward.

Tell us about your career at EY.

I had an awesome career at Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and was fortunate to work in four different offices and complete four rotations in Cleveland, Washington, DC, London and the Bay Area.


I started my career in Cleveland as an intern. I was going to Case Western Reserve University for my Master of Accountancy and was offered a role after my internship, which set my career in motion. After I finished law school one of the partners with whom I worked closely put me up for a rotation in the National Tax practice in Washington, DC to work in the Capital Markets group. I learned so much by just sitting in the partners’ offices taking notes and listening to CFOs and heads of tax talk about their issues. I was then fortunate enough to do an international rotation in London working in financial services and the capital markets international tax space before moving to the Bay Area to explore tech.


I am proud to be an alum; it is an automatic stamp of approval that opens many doors.


Tell us about your role at ServiceRocket. What about it energizes you? 

I focus on accounting, finance (FP&A), treasury, procurement, payroll, workforce planning and people. I think my role as a CFO is also part and parcel chief future officer. With the current macroeconomic environment I have to anticipate what will happen. I can’t predict the future but I need to ensure our balance sheet can weather any storms if they arise.


As an organizational development junkie and self-help enthusiast, I really enjoy the people aspect of my role. There were great partners at EY who were passionate about putting people first. At ServiceRocket, we put emphasis on “building rocketeers.” My CEO, Robert Casteneda, trains executives on leadership behaviors, and some of those traits that resonate with me in my own work are to smartly anticipate, be a team builder and empower others.


How did EY help shape your career journey?

EY gave me a solid foundation in tax, treasury and accounting. If it weren’t for my rotations, I likely would not have landed my job as a CFO or any of my subsequent jobs.


I also learned leadership skills from working on large audits. One of my big audits was so much fun I would return from DC to work on it while the team had budget. Thanks to the senior manager and partner on the engagement, it was an account that people wanted to work on.


I was able to observe great leadership styles by watching how the partners ran the offices. The Cleveland office at the time I worked there really felt like family. I cannot say enough good things about the partners there. This closeness on a team continued in both DC and London, and I think the experiences have influenced my management style.


What is the most valuable lesson you learned while at EY?

The most valuable lesson I learned was to develop and invest in talent. I tell some people on my team that they should be nipping on my heels to become the next CFO. Public accounting is like this by default so I am not put off by my team wanting my job or wanting to be a CFO. I see my job as helping them get there.


This lesson is linked to two of my most rewarding experiences at EY. When the partner in Cleveland helped me get the rotation in Washington, DC, that was a very rewarding moment and a testament to his faith in me. This moment will stay with me indefinitely and I try to pay it forward to my staff as they look for new experiences. I would say the same about going to London. These rotational spots were coveted roles so it’s not lost on me the amount of faith the partners had in me to do well at the next level. I hope I continue to pay it forward.


What advice would you give past you?

I am laughing and cringing, but I would say spend more time in audit! Dig deeper into the numbers as an auditor. It will suit you as a CFO and maybe even a CEO. Audit provides a solid foundation in financial reporting, expertise in risk management and controls and a knack for process improvement. All three are essential competencies for success as a CFO.


Joy Mbanugo's career progression from intern to CFO at ServiceRocket, a cloud-based IT service provider, is a testament to her dedication and skill. In her executive role, she finds motivation in the dynamic nature of her work, overseeing financial strategies and operations. Her journey highlights the potential for growth within a company and the impact of strong leadership in the tech industry.

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