Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight. Today, we talk to Dan White who serves as financial controller. Dan is based in Sydney at our Australian HQ.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m part of the accounting and finance operation here. Depending on what’s required, my role has the potential to be quite different. When I first started, I was very hands-on with the day-to-day management of the company. Whereas now, I’m more focused on improving efficiency and setting Propeller up for long-term success.
It’s definitely evolved over time, and that’s really exciting. I’m constantly doing something new, and that’s just the nature of a growing company.
I handle everything from transaction bookkeeping to month-end close, financial analysis and planning, tax strategy, and compliance. These are amongst other tasks like payroll and expense reimbursements—all the standard financial practices a company would have.
There is some communication between us and the customers, and we do speak with our dealer network to make sure that relationship is fruitful.
There’s one other person on my team at the moment. We’re a small team with high impact.
What’s your career background?
At uni I studied a bachelor of commerce, majoring in accounting. Before that, I studied arts for a year. That turned out to be a pretty good decision. I quite liked studying accounting.
From there, I got a job at a mid-tier accounting firm called Crowe Horwath. That’s a firm based here in Sydney, but they’re also globally spread out. I worked in the Business Advisory team there. There were a lot of people my age working there who were at a similar point in their lives, so we all got to go through that experience together.
I learned a lot during that time, and developed all the skills I needed to move into a more commercial role. Then, in May 2017, I started at Propeller.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sydney, but I grew up on the Central Coast, which is about an hour and half north of Sydney. It’s a really nice place, a bit beachier. I was able to ride my bike around and play sports.
But there weren’t a lot of career opportunities, which prompted my move to Sydney.
You’ve been with Propeller for quite a while now. How has the company evolved since you started?
When I started, we had around 20 people, and three years later, we just hit 100—quite a significant amount of growth and change.
I was the first accountant at Propeller, which gave me the opportunity to build our accounting strategy from the ground up. It was an interesting and challenging period for a couple months there, but all really normal stuff for a company at this stage.
The biggest change is our continued focus toward international markets. That’s never really stopped since I first started. Back in 2017, we were based in Australia with one employee in the US, and we were looking to make that transition to the US.
Since then, we have a big Go-to-Market team over in Denver—sales, marketing, customer success. More recently, we’ve begun structuring our teams in a better way that supports long-term success. It used to be a very flat structure. Even though it’s still relatively flat, there’s a trend moving toward leadership and team structure. This is helping us improve our processes and work together better.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
I’ve had two jobs that fall in the strange category. My favorite job was Toys-R-Us. I worked there for five years; I got a pen and everything. My mom always used to say that the job is only as good as the people, and I think that one really lived by those words.
The other job was picking fruit—peaches and nectarines. Straight out of school, I picked some fruit for a summer. If the fruit is too ripe on the tree, it’s actually wasted because by the time it gets to the store, it’s rotten.
What’s your favorite Slack emoji and why?
My favorite is ultra-premium. The ultra-premium emoji is a picture of a former employee who was very into premium things. Originally there was a premium emoji, but someone took that a step further to create the ultra-premium.
It’s just a picture of his face with a golden star on his head. He hasn’t been here for about two years, but the emoji has lived on.
The geofence is another favorite–the ongoing joke that we can’t go outside a certain range from the office.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
A year or two ago, we were outgrowing the space in the Sydney office, and we had to renovate upstairs. During one of the weeks, there was going to be excessive hammering that would create a lot of loud noise. Everyone was encouraged to work from home that week, but instead of working in Sydney, myself and a couple others went up the coast and worked from my family’s home.
It felt like a mini team retreat. We went to the beach before work, cooked meals together. It was a really wholesome few days.
Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?
Speed-eating. Even after three years, people at the office are still shocked by how fast I finish my food. I can eat exceptionally fast, and everyone says I should do a competition.
What’s one thing you wish people understood better about your job or Propeller as a whole?
I’m going to do a solid for all accountants and say that I wish people knew accounting isn’t anywhere near as boring as its reputation.
Want to join our team? We’re hiring!