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International Finance Management

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

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

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

Managing Corporate Finance in Multinationals as a CFO – 1

When I started my financial manager career several good years ago (almost 15), I entered the ranks of the commercial finance professionals very idealistically. I thought:
a) everything is according to the books or even better
b) there is no room for politics or hazard in decision making and
c) I will change the world, even in a small way.Read More »Managing Corporate Finance in Multinationals as a CFO – 1

Divisional Finance Controller Role in a Multinational Company – A Presentation of Job Descriptions

Finance controller's job is to watch the money flow.

Finance controller’s job is to watch the money flow.

In the last months I was approached multiple times with the same question – what is a divisional finance controller doing in his/her job in the real life? How is it to be in charge with the financial management of a line of business for a multinational complex organisation, for a specific geography? What are the responsibilities of a divisional finance controller? What are the bosses or the peer expectations from a division finance controller? How should a divisional finance manager or controller approach his new appointment when they are nominated for such a job?

I tried to search the web and well… I was disappointed. A simple web search for the expression “divisional finance controller job description” returned no meaningful matches on multiple search engines (google, bing) etc. Then I refined my search and went directly on the websites of the recruitment agencies which specialize in commercial finance (Michael Page, Robert Half, Manpower – to name just a few). And again, I was disappointed, as these recruitment agencies had some basic information (short job description, salary ranges, some minor points from the interviews), but nothing so comprehensive.

The question from a novice asking what is a divisional finance controller doing and what is he/she doing in the daily practice remained unaswered. Which is a bad thing, because the regional/commercial finance management jobs are not only well paid (usually Read More »Divisional Finance Controller Role in a Multinational Company – A Presentation of Job Descriptions