After a great networking evening event, the second day of the Controlling Intelligence Adventure Congress started punctually at 9.00 o’clock. The speaker was Dr. Konrad Marchlewski, Vice-President of the Management Board, CFO at the Atlas Group with the topic “The road to finance 4.0 in the Atlas Group”. He described the digital world and its challenges for the company. Atlas digitalized a lot of processes (e.g. documents and their flow, data exchange (EDI), recurring accounting schemes (robotization), cash flow management, budgeting, consolidation, taxes on turnover and assets) but there are still processes that are difficult to digitalize (e.g. strategic management, liability, optimizations, evaluation and motivation system, exceptions / changes, income tax, VAT and business orientation of the financial function).

After the speech the organizers offered the participants a discussion panel with practitioners: Andrzej Derkowski, Head of Controlling at Neuca Group, Head of the ICV Work Group Toruń-Bydgoszcz, Dr. Konrad Marchlewski, Vice-President of the Management Board, CFO at the Atlas Group, Grażyna Knap, Head of Controlling, Górnośląskie Przedsiębiorstwo Wodociągów and Jakub Tomaszewski, Head of Finance and Operations at Hansgrohe Polska.

The panelists answered some important questions in the volatile times:

  • How will digitalization affect Polish controllers?
  • How are the controlling processes in the companies changing?
  • What are management’s expectations towards controllers?
  • Can we learn anything from a failure in digitalization?

The essence of the panel: Digitalization cannot be the goal itself. It helps achieve the company’s goals.

After a coffee break the participants could once again choose the session among three offers.

“Controlling in a family business – management in the ownership strategy” by Jakub Tomaszewski, Head of Finance and Operations at Hansgrohe Polska and Jakub Wtorkowski, LUG S.A. was once of the speeches. First Jakub Tomaszewski described the situation of the Polish family business – they will soon face the succession process. But only 8% of the successors want to take over the business. And only 30% of them will succeed… The situation is difficult, but there are companies that don’t have to be afraid of this challenge… Jakub Wtorkowski is the successor at LUG (670 employees, 3 plants). In the company the longevity is very important to the business family. That’s why the formulating and introducing the strategy was so important: it was processed together with employees – this way the engagement and motivation is much higher. LUG is an innovation leader in the sector. After formulating the strategy the business family realized that they need controlling in their organization. They see controlling as a part of the company culture.

The speakers showed why controlling in a family business is different from the controlling in other companies:

  1. In a family business there is a strong owner (founder) who doesn’t want to pass over responsibility. All decisions and processes concentrate on the owner.
  2. There is an experienced team (working often since the foundation of the company) – after their retirement, the company realizes that the processes aren’t formalized and it’s difficult to pass tasks over
  3. The young generations of employees starts working for the company, but they often only for 2 years. That’s why the processes must be built so that it would be easy and quickly to learn them.

A new expert work group will start soon in Poland: Controlling in family businesses. Details soon.

The next speech in this session was “Profitability modeling and optimization – how does the controller act as a business partner using the RPCA concept?” by Dr. Tomasz M. Zieliński, CEO of ICV POLAND. He focused on the business partnership of controllers and managers, described how to model costs and profitability, explained how to achieve operational excellence and presented the RPCA concept as the base for communication.

Parallelly two other interesting sessions took place. One of them was ICV Young Controllers Barcamp with key competences of controllers and erspectives on working in controlling. The panel showed a great cooperation between the ICV and universities.

The last session started after a short coffee break. Dr. Tomasz M. Zieliński and Prof. Marlena Ciechan-Kujawa summarized the Congress. It was a great event with over 260 participants, Polish and foreign speakers, many speeches and discussion panels, with live translations into / from English. The interesting choice of topics made the Congress an interesting event for the controlling community.

The organizers invite for the Congress next year: May 27-28, 2019, Warsaw.

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