Darren Heffernan is the President of Mid Market and joined Trintech in 2001. Darren has spent over 25 years in finance and operational roles driving innovation with companies such as GE, Paramount / Universal studios, IAWS and Anglo American. Darren is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and sits on the Financial Executives International’s (FEI) Committee on Finance & IT (CFIT).
Michelle: Hi Darren, it’s nice to meet you. We are so excited to have some time to chat with you today! To start off, tell us how long have you worked in Finance and Accounting?
Darren: It’s nice to meet you too! Well it’s been about 30 years now.
Michelle: So, by my math, you started when you were five years old?
Darren: Yes, that’s about right. I was quite the prodigy! (both laughing)
Michelle: Yes you were! During that time, what positions have you held?
Darren: I’ve been a Financial Accountant, Managing Accountant, Treasury Manager, Controller, Vice President of Finance, Director of Finance, Vice President of Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and now the President of Adra.
Michelle: That’s an impressive list of accomplishments. How long have you worked for Trintech/Adra?
Darren: 18 years. I worked for Trintech in Dublin, starting in 2001, and I moved to Dallas in 2004.
Michelle: So you’ve been with the company from the very beginning! And what about your family? How many children do you have?
Darren: I have three. My first son is seven, my next son is five, and my little girl is 18 months old. They are my mini-consultants. I don’t know about your upbringing, but in mine, I never got asked what I wanted for dinner, where I wanted to go on holiday, or what I wanted to do on Sunday afternoon.
Michelle: Very true. I never got those choices either, but I give those same options to my children all the time!
Darren: Exactly right! Modern parents ask their children all these questions, and we’ve turned them into mini-consultants on everyday life! It is crazy, but at the end of the day, I want to spend as much time with my kids as I can. I love to watch my kids grow and change. As adults, we don’t have many firsts any more, but my kids, they have a new first almost every day. My wife and I find it fascinating and wonderful to watch our kids experience those moments.
Michelle: Tell us a bit about your wife. How long have you been married?
Darren: My wife also worked for Trintech, and we were married in 2010. She left Trintech in 2016. She’s Irish like me, and we have our 10–year anniversary coming up in August.
Michelle: Congratulations! That’s wonderful. So we’re going to shift topics to learn a little more about your personal likes by having you answer a few “This or that” questions. Are you game?
Darren: Sure, I’m game.
Michelle: Rolling Stones or Beatles?
Michelle: Barbeque or curry?
Darren: I’m in Dallas, so I’m going to have to say barbeque.
Michelle: Tea or coffee?
Darren: I’m going to say I’ve not had a drop of coffee in my life. I’m Irish. We drink a lot of tea.
Michelle: Dogs or cats?
Darren: I’d say dogs, though I am allergic to dogs. One day we’ll have a dog because my children are highly persistent about getting one. But the only dog I can have is a labra–doodle (Labrador and Poodle combination) or a golden-doodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle combination) because they don’t shed.
Michelle: Morning person or Night owl?
Darren: With an 18 month-old baby, the only answer is both because you have no choice in the matter! When I was younger, I was a night owl, but now that I’m older, I’ve been forced to become a morning person. I work out every morning because that’s the time I get to myself before all the hustle of the day.
Michelle: Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
Darren: Coca-Cola. I just really don’t like the taste of Pepsi.
Michelle: Rugby or (proper European) Football?
Darren: I’d have to say Rugby because the World Cup is on just now, and Ireland has an important match coming up against New Zealand.
Michelle: Reading or writing?
Darren: I’d prefer to read more than write.
Michelle: What is a great book you’ve read recently?
Darren: Good question. I was really interested in a book called Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, which is a fascinating story about two families that are rivals. The story takes place over a few generations to show how the rivalry changes and evolves. But what I liked is that the two sides find a way to come together in the end. It really was a great story. I really enjoy autobiographies and books about sports. Like Peter Crouch had a fantastic book about sport (How to be a Footballer). A personal hero of mine, Roy Keane, also wrote a great book that I enjoyed (The Second Half). And Trevor Brennan wrote a wonderful book I enjoyed as well (Heart and Soul).
Michelle: If you could travel back in time, where would you travel to and why?
Darren: Wow, that’s a tough one. I’ll have to think about that. I think that I’d like to go back to when I was living in Australia in my mid-20s. I was young and free, and single, and I was living life to the fullest. It was fantastic!
Michelle: What is your favorite television show to binge-watch?
Darren: Peaky Blinders on Netflix
Michelle: What is your favorite phone app?
Darren: Waze is my favorite, for traffic and navigation. Every morning I get in the car and check the Waze app to make sure I can get where I’m going in the shortest amount of time, in the most efficient way. And I never assume the way will be clear. I always check.
Michelle: What’s your favorite thing about Dallas?
Darren: Dallas is amazing for families. I love raising my family here. The people are humble and friendly. I really like how people here lookout for one another. And that’s the kind of community I love, and the values I want for my family.
Michelle: What’s your least favorite thing about Dallas?
Darren: The Dallas weather in the summer. During the summer, the weather is just awful here, so hot! The weather is finally starting to turn, it’s been getting nicer in the last week, so my family and I can enjoy going outside again.
Michelle: Personally, what are you most excited about in 2020?
Darren: I’ll be married ten years in August, so I’m excited about that. We’ll be taking a special holiday for the occasion. We’ll probably fly some family out from Ireland to watch the children which will be a treat for them and us. The trip is going to be really great, I’m working on the details, and I’ve got a bit of time to get it all sorted out.
Michelle: That sounds like an exciting adventure. Switching gears a little, I’m curious to know, what do you want Adra to be known for in the marketplace?
Darren: When people think of Adra, I want them to say that we stay true to our customer commitments and that we have our customers’ backs. I want people to know that at Adra we offer top quality service, and that we don’t just meet expectations, we go far above our customers’ expectations all the time. I also want the customer to understand that with every interaction, from the first consultation to dealing with implementation, to troubleshooting problems, we all relentlessly strive for excellence.
We are looking after the Accountants of Tomorrow, those mini-consultants I mentioned earlier. The up and coming generations are used to sharing their opinions and having so many options for technology to improve their lives. I think they have a few lessons to teach the older generations. For example, the Accountants of Tomorrow do not want to needlessly spend their time on jobs that can be done for them by best–in–class programs with top quality automation.
When I was an Accountant, we just put our heads down and worked through the drudge, the menial tasks that consumed our day. We didn’t look for a better way; we just put in our time. Millennials are changing the view of finance because they are pushing for ways to make their lives easier and better. They are teaching the older generations more efficient and better ways to work, and all generations are benefitting from these changes. I want people to know that because of our software, Work-Life Balance for Accountants is not a fantasy; it can be a reality!
Michelle: Professionally, what are you most excited about in 2020?
Darren: As a company, we have such a huge opportunity to make a difference in the marketplace. The total available market is massive, and I’m most excited to move Adra away from being the best-kept secret in financial close software. I want Adra to be well-known and appreciated for all we can offer our customers. We have such potential, and I’m excited and ready to take us into a space where we can improve the lives of our customers, our employees, and Trintech as a global brand.
Michelle: Thanks so much for your time today, Darren! I learned so much about you, and now I have a few new books and a new show to add to my queues!
Darren: Thank you! I really enjoyed our chat.