International Finance Management

Simplicient Controlling 7 – The CFO Profile to Fall in Love With

Back in September 2014, doitinvest.com published a researched white paper on the perfect profile of a Chief Financial Officer (in Central & Eastern Europe). It was quite well received, so I decided to revisit the topic today in this blog post, with more general notes.

After browsing several articles (see bottom for sources) on the CFO job profiles, I found quite interesting conclusions, 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 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 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 valued for the senior financial leaders, especially in the emerging markets & fast changing sectors such as industry, tech, pharma, IT;Read More »Simplicient Controlling 7 – The CFO Profile to Fall in Love With

Simplicient Controlling 2 – To Reduce or Not… Your SG&A Expenses

In June 1999, when Carlos Ghosn was parachuted by Renault to a little known (outside Asia) car manufacturer named Nissan, his reputation should have preceeded him. Maybe the Japanese board of directors underestimated the „Le Cost Killer“ nickname he earned at Renault during the previous 3 years – or maybe they thought that one of the most inner-oriented markets in the world would reform his views. The above simply did not happen. Instead, Ghosn went on to massively reduce Nissan‘s expenses, especially its huge Selling, General and Administration (SG&A) by 20% in only 1 year. He went on for the next decades, making the Renault-Nissan alliance one of the top car sellers on Earth (it climbed to no.1 in H1 2017).

Contrast this SG&A story with General Electric‘s one: between 2013 (SG&A expenses = 21,08 Bln USD) and 2017 (21,48 Bln.), there is barely any reduction in absolute terms. Read More »Simplicient Controlling 2 – To Reduce or Not… Your SG&A Expenses

Multinational Glitches in the Implementation of GDPR

Admit it, you have done this at least once: you were lured by the special offer / freebie / like into signing up for a newsletter… then you forgot about it. Or you installed an IOS/Android/Windows app which asked you for permissions to share with the Martians your accurate location, food prefferences or place of birth.
The personal data requests have become so ubiquitous, that now it is very hard to trace where it lands. It is then perfectly understandable why EU is seeking to make the various companies responsible for minimal safeguards of such personal data.
If you read the law (or the highlights), you would realize most of the requestgs are quite reasonable – and still theoretical. Fortunately for the consumer (and burdening for the companies), the burden of safeguarding and cleaning up the unnecessary data falls on the collectors. Read More »Multinational Glitches in the Implementation of GDPR

The World is Full of Noise

Let’s face it – almost all of us succumbed to this temptation: we could do the toughest, most important task or we could break all of them into pieces (“eating the elephant” as the management gurus say) and start chewing them. Or just give in to the boss’ latest request and answer his (sometimes lazy) easy to dig emails.
In this world of digital enrichment, our human brains are spectacularly assisted and enabled to do so the work. Simple exercise: close your eyes and try to imagine how long and how many people you would need to achieve what you now manage in a working day… without laptops, internet and corporate cloud software solutions. Hmmm… not too much, right?Read More »The World is Full of Noise

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