Archive for Radu Haraga

Post-modern Controlling vs Classical Financial Controlling

When it comes to financial controlling, many CEOs and even CFOs mention that it is boring. After all, controlling rotates around themes such as financials reliability and accuracy, predictability of the forecasting, solid safeguards in place, sound accounting, compliance. And immediately after this, the same senior leaders can be heard saying: “well, this way it should also stay”. Nobody’s hiring a controller to be creative and change the accounting standards, right?
Yet, when you browse through the job descriptions (and through the magazine interviews), the set of skills required looks different. Besides a long list of standard attributes (as per below), the differentiating factors ask for a different story. Many employers list (even in their performance reviews) required attributes such as:
– critical view on the business
– (being a) sparring partner for the CEO/business leader (maybe a hats down to characters such as Dr. Watson)
– change agent, especially for the local ERPs
– strong communication skills … and the list goes on Read more

European Bank’s Shares Shattered or Under-valued?

The last few days saw the European bank’s shares substantially going down. Deutsche’s Bank shares went down from around 25 EUR/share in December 2015 to 13,68 today (Feb 12th, 2016). Other German banks suffered also losses of 10-20% on their share prices, whilst French and Italian ones did not fare very well too. Most of the hit banks were from the invesmtent banking sector – but the traditional commercial ones have not been spared too. Unicredit, the biggest Italian bank, has seen a similar fate too (down from 6 EUR/share to 3).
This downfall share price trend is ggetting super-serious for the bank sector itself, badly hurt by multiple factors. Amid most concerns are the (relatively) capitalization rules, which requires the banks to maintain a higher capital-to-loans ratio – and most of these mammoths have failed on the stress tests. Of course, this is a measure of efficiency – and most of the investment banks are trying hard to keep as low a ratio as possible, since this means for them doing business with other’s (mostly central banks) money/funds. A nice business model indeed for the banks, who have become mostly asset managers, rather than loan-making machines. Read more

How To Kick-Start Your Multi-Country Finance Management Career

wpid-IMAG2654.jpg You are a good country finance director or head of finance. You have a stable department, the knowledge of the local systems and legislations, and you have been very successful in this role for quite a while. Your multinational company is very happy with your financial directorship – the operating income flows are steady, your reporting is on time, subordinates act professionally and are satisfied with their jobs. And then you wonder – what is next for me? How can I do more? What is coming next in my career in multinational finance management?
You of course know the answer: the next natural career step is to take on a role in multi-country financial management. The usual path leads to a cluster or regional controller (or finance director) role. You should be heppy with that, since it gives you the chance to expand your financial management skills at multi-country level, as well as to embark on a path of multic-cultural and complex corporate finance learning.
There are also lots of questions – and the successful country finance directors are usually unsettled by them:

a) What does the new role require from me in terms of skills, experience, interactions?
b) How do I cope with the new role and the pressures associated?
c) How do I manage not one, but multiple legal entities/countries – whilst keeping the same success levels as in the past?
d) When do I start and where do I stop? etc

It is hard to answer all these questions in a short blog post such as this one, however – I will give you here some practical (and theory based) insights on how you can become a successful regional finance manager/director quickly and with little associated stress: Read more

(An Almost) Perfect Profile of a CEE CFO (2)

As usually, when you start analyzing a topic, other collateral findings start to pop up. More recent articles, written by practitioners, shed a more enlightning picture on the CFOs’ hurdles in East Europe.

First of all, most of these new articles show that CFO’s have been really abated and overwhelmed by the depth of the crisis. With the massive deleverage taking place in 2009-2011, markets are still suffering and CFO’s are still trying to find new sources of profitability. And if there was any reluctance of restructuring the finance departments during the initial years of the crisis, in 2014 the situation changed – restructurings are still taking place, with many companies still having finance (and others) hiring freezes – or even promotion freezes.

This might make the CEE CFO’s more risk averse than ever, with an ever increasing amount of work on their desks. Read more

What Is The Perfect Profile Of A Central East And East Europe CFO?

Recently I was browsing a few articles on the CFO job in Central East and East Europe. Actually quite interesting readings, even if you are not a boring finance professional trying to make his/her way to the top. Whilst reading them, I had two major surprises:
– The articles on the topic were few and far in between, and quite old (we are in 2014, they were from 2007-2010, when probably the enthusiasm and the PR needed to recruit high-caliber professionals for CFO jobs were substantially higher);
– Surprise to surprise – despite their aging, the CFO blogs had some interesting insights which are still valid so far.
What were the key findings of these headhunter blogs related to the ideal CFO?:
– CFO’s in CEE need to have superior technical finance knowledge, especially related to the complexity of accounting standards, fiscal requirements, M&A’s and financial analysis (the Western Europe CFO’s who deal with much fewer and more developed countries need paradoxically less of such technical skills);
– Communication skills are highly priced in CEE for the senior financial leaders of the companies; Read more

Requirements for Payday Loans Minimal, Despite Economic Conditions

While the economic situation in the United States does not look good for much of 2011, at least one bright spot is how those individuals with jobs can get online loans with relative ease.
The basic requirements for payday loans if you have employment are simple: verify that you have a job and a bank account. This is a factor enabling many who lack a good credit history, and therefore access to credit charge cards, to still be able to weather emergencies without loss. Read more

“Valuation – Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies” (by Tim Koller, Marc Goedhart and David Wessels) – a Financial Book Review

It is hard at least not to have a look at this book if you find it on a library shelf. This is valid for multiple reasons:

– “Valuation – Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies” is a book written from a practical perspective by McKinsey practitioners (among the best in the world in the non-bank investment advising for M&A’s)

– The book covers almost any aspect of the corporate valuation, from a stock market perspective to an internal projects point of view;

– “Valuation” comes inside the rigorous “Wiley Finance” collection where you can expect a detailed approach on most of the finance topics.

These said, my expectations were quite high – also the promises made were substantial. And after all, I was just curious why “Valuation” is the bestselling guide on corporate valuation.

The book has a logical system building approach. Read more