Paro started with a simple concept of matching highly qualified freelance finance professionals with companies in need of expert support. Companies would have access to the specialists they needed without the expense of hiring them full time. The professionals would be able to use their skills while having the flexibility to work remotely or on-site
It soon became clear, however, that the best person for the role wasn’t always located near the company with the need, said Paro Co-Founder Dan Wywrot. That presented a challenge. Would companies be interested in hiring people who wouldn’t come to their office? How would Paro assure them that their financial data was safe? How would the professionals ranging from accountants to financial analysts to CFOs respond to not being able to meet with their clients in their offices?
After evaluating the benefits and challenges, Paro did a hard pivot and started making matches based on talent alone without taking geography into consideration. The benefits of the additional opportunities far outweighed the complexity of managing teams from a distance, Dan explained.
“This gives us a lot of additional flexibility to get the right person into the right role with the right company,” he said.
It turned out that companies were more interested in having access to specific skill sets than having a person at a desk in the building. The professionals like it because they aren’t locked into being in a certain office at a certain time. Some of them do freelance work full time and manage several clients at once. Others are doing this as a side gig.
Corporate operations are managed through Paro’s Chicago office in a co-working space. It’s a modern office with a shared kitchen and Dry Erase Walls filled with other growing companies. While Paro’s full-time employees come together in a central location, they regularly work remotely as well.
Even before the pivot, Paro was set up to manage professionals virtually. The founders designed a complex system to screen and then match people with open positions. But with the pivot, they needed additional infrastructure to make it possible for the professionals to work from anywhere without setting foot in the companies they worked with.
One of the concerns was whether companies would be willing to trust professionals they wouldn’t meet or see working. But Paro has always carefully screened their professionals to make sure they were qualified and a good match for the company’s culture. That hasn’t changed.
“We have these systems in place and we work diligently to address any issues that come up,” Dan said. “In a sense, it’s no different than when you have someone right there. You need to know that this person has your best interest in mind and will do their best work for you. It shouldn’t matter where that gets done.”