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Jamie Arnold: A Lifetime of Collaboration

Led NextGen’s Transformation

Jamie Arnold is not your typical CFO.

During a decades-long career at various software firms, the team-playing finance veteran often acted more like an operations head, with a collaboration-first mentality.

This was especially true at NextGen Healthcare Inc. (Nasdaq: NXGN), where Arnold worked closely beside then-CEO Rusty Frantz to rebrand and revamp the nearly 50-year-old healthcare software provider into a $1.3 billion-valued company.

NextGen provides electronic health records and practice management tools to streamline operations at dental and medical practices.

Arnold’s work continues with the firm’s current CEO, David Sides, who joined late last year.

“Jamie’s commitment to our mission and his industry expertise has been instrumental in our ability to navigate market conditions and excel operationally,” Sides said in a statement.

The company, which got its start as a dental software platform in Irvine in 1974, moved its headquarters to Atlanta about a year ago as part of plans to cut costs. The firm still counts an Irvine presence where it employed about 300 people as of a couple years ago.

Today, it employs some 2,600 people between the U.S. and India and serves over 155,000 healthcare providers.

Storied Career 

Throughout his career, Arnold has led numerous acquisitions, IPOs, and every transformation in between at various software firms, from Massachusetts-based Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) to Irvine-based Kofax Ltd.

At NextGen, Arnold led a “multi-pronged” transformation of the company’s product, which required several acquisitions, more R&D investment and a complete upheaval of its existing revenue model.

Arnold on May 5 was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Business Journal’s 15th Annual CFO of the Year Awards at the Irvine Marriott.

“A lifetime achievement isn’t about me—it’s about what a group of people can do. When they come together, they make great things happen,” Arnold told the Business Journal.

Not Just a CFO

Arnold, who holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University, held several titles with Nuance, from senior vice president to chief financial officer, in the early 2000s.

During his tenure, Arnold and his team led 17 acquisitions and completed several debt and secondary stock offerings.

In his last year there, the company grew from “roughly $200 million to $930 million” in revenue, he said.

In his five years as Kofax’s CFO, Arnold led six acquisitions and oversaw the company’s transition from a listing on the London Stock Exchange to an initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange.

Latter Stages

After laser printer manufacturer Lexmark acquired Kofax in 2015, Arnold moved onto his next chapter at NextGen Healthcare, where he recalled quickly hitting it off with Franz.

“With Rusty, I got to not only fill the CFO role, I was also involved in the operating side of the business, working intimately with the sales and marketing team,” Arnold said.

This was crucial, as the firm revamped its name and brand from Quality Systems Incto NextGen Healthcare in 2018 to better align with the company’s vision.

Arnold found it more fulfilling to be “deeply involved” in NextGen’s operations as well as CFO, he said.

That helped him carry out an “aggressive growth strategy” for NextGen, which kicked off with the acquisition of five companies to expand its offerings in telehealth, patient engagement and population health analytics, to name a few.

NextGen also shifted its memberships from a perpetual license model to a subscription model, in which its clients would pay on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Recurring revenue would become the “growth engine for the company,” Arnold said.

Today, it represents more than 90% of NextGen’s total revenue.

“Wall Street was looking for proof points. It’s one thing to tell people you’re doing something, and it’s another thing to do it,” Arnold said. “Their faith has gone up which has always been part of the plan. Their confidence will continue.”

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Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp is a staff reporter and occasional photojournalist for the Orange County Business Journal. Her beats include — but are not limited to — healthcare, startups, and education. While pursuing her bachelors in literary journalism at UC Irvine, she interned for New York-based magazine Narratively Inc., wrote for Costa Mesa-based lifestyle magazine Locale, and covered the underground music scene for two SoCal-based music publications. She is an unwavering defendant of the emdash and the Oxford comma.
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