CFO Amy Corbin on Thriving in Structure

Amy Corbin explains how her strong upbringing and love of complexity have blended perfectly to help her lead the finance organization at Surescripts

Amy Corbin, Surescripts

After growing up in a military family as the youngest of seven children, Amy Corbin was used to structure. The five girls and two boys were led with consistency and high expectations, especially from their father, who served in the US Army, Navy, and Air Force. There were room inspections, chores, and set schedules. It became part of a daily routine that drove Corbin and her siblings to be strong both in their personal and professional lives, shine under pressure, and have the mind-set that no task was too tall.

“I thrived in it,” Corbin recalls of her structured upbringing. “It was almost as if my parents were running a little squadron. It was a really strong, happy upbringing.”

Today, that same structure and attention to detail drive Corbin in her role as chief financial officer for Surescripts, a health technology company that operates a nationwide health information network that delivers actionable intelligence, including prescription information, clinical information, and full medical records to enhance prescribing and inform care decisions. She still carries with her that same set of values from her upbringing—integrity, honesty, responsiveness—as well as a love for structure and complexity, both of which she has found in the field of finance.

Before joining Surescripts, Corbin earned her opportunity to solve some of the most complex issues during her twelve-year tenure at Deloitte. The company aligned perfectly with her background, and she found the structured, high-pressure environment and intense expectations comforting. But it also presented exposure in a diverse array of challenges.

“One week I might be auditing a bank and checking customer balances or loan covenants, and then the next week I might be at a railroad company tracking inventory that’s somewhere out on the rails,” Corbin says. “My background, integrity, and openness throughout remained essential qualities, and I didn’t always know what the next challenge would be. But I always willingly jumped in, regardless of the complexity of the task.”

After Deloitte, Corbin joined Genworth, where she spent thirteen years honing her problem-solving skills as global controller, division CFO, and head of investor relations. This role had her completing a multitude of transformational initiatives, such as leading a major finance restructure, eliminating redundant work, increasing efficiency, and reducing overall spend. As in her previous role, Corbin faced these diverse challenges head on.

A new challenge awaited her at Surescripts. The organization’s unique business model focuses on improving patient safety by connecting doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies to safely provide actionable patient intelligence to inform healthcare decisions. Surescripts is a relatively young company that has grown exponentially over the years. As a result, a major focus for Corbin, her team, and CEO Tom Skelton has been to improve the operational effectiveness across the company to match the pace and complexity of the growing business.

For Corbin, that started with a major undertaking in restructuring the finance organization. She needed to ensure that the finance operations were effective, efficient, and accurate. Additionally, she needed finance to be seen as an essential business partner. “I want this finance organization to be a sought-out resource by the business—one that provides the right information at the right time to support decision-making,” Corbin explains.

To kickoff the multiyear restructuring of the finance organization, Corbin knew the finance service model had to be redefined and the rebuild must include input from all stakeholders, identify all impacted processes, and take technology into account to be successful.

She and her team started by interviewing stakeholders both internally and externally to find out what their needs and expectations were, which initially led to substantial changes in the structure and size of the finance organization. Then, in 2017, Corbin and her team tackled the new service model.

“In order to do that, we had to take a hard look at all the product portfolios and understanding the financial commitments and expectations that were derived from our business model,” Corbin explains.

Corbin and her team also broke down all of the financial commitments and contracts. Then, they rebuilt the process and defined what the company needed from technology to be successful. After accomplishing the year-one goal of restructuring the finance team and the year-two goal of evaluating financial expectations and commitments, Corbin and her team are now perfectly set up in 2018 to finish product line evaluations and build out the necessary technology.

Those efforts over the past two years have not only helped improve processes and raise the stature of the team, but they’ve also invoked the importance of serving—something Corbin is more than accustomed to.

“Being from a military family, you learn the value of service,” she says. “Providing exceptional service is really important and is a big thing that I push for, in addition to ensuring my team is building strong business partnerships. In finance, we are in a supporting role, we enable the business to look forward, and we help them make decisions.”

Corbin notes that her upbringing has given her a natural tendency to jump into any situation and help make a meaningful impact. And it’s safe to say that’s been a cornerstone to the pace and success she has seen to date on her journey to restructure the finance organization at Surescripts.

“I’ve learned a lot about the organization, my team, and myself in the short amount of time I’ve been with the company,” Corbin says. “We are seeing the benefits of our work but know we’ve got much more to do, and we believe we’re on the right path to getting it done.” 

Photo: Mark Finkenstaedt