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A good controller never sleeps

30. Dezember 2015

Controllers having a coffee – 25th ICV Serbia Meeting

The 25th ICV Serbia Meeting was organised on December 16, 2015 in the DONCAFÉ factory in Šimanovci. The host was Strauss Adriatic, better known as the DONCAFÉ brand. The event was attended by 40 controllers of Serbia, with the aim of sharing their experiences relating to the challenges the companies face throughout the world as the consequence of competitor race and destabilisation of major currencies.

ICV Serbia coffee

The topic of the meeting was “Controllers having a coffee”. The organisers ensured to be the best hosts to controllers and invited them for a morning coffee.

The meeting was opened by Dragan Radosavljević, CFO, STRAUSS ADRIATIC. He welcomed the attendants and thanked them for accepting the invitation.

The speakers at the meeting were:

  • Zorica Đorđević, Production Technologist, STRAUSS ADRIATIC
  • Verica Teofilović, Financial Controller, STRAUSS ADRIATIC
  • Dragan Radosavljević, CFO, STRAUSS ADRIATIC

The meeting started Zorica Đorđević, Production Technologist, presenting DONCAFE products.

She briefly took us on a history trip, presenting the way in which coffee penetrated the global market to become the drink No. 1 in modern society today. She familiarised us with the history of the DONCAFÉ Group company, the brand development and the positioning in Serbian market of the Strauss Adriatic company, which has been the owner of the DONCAFÉ and C Kafa brands since 2005. Zorica presented the company products (DONCAFÉ, C KAFA and ESPRESO KAFA) to us.

After the presentation, the hosts took the participants for a tour around the factory. They intended to show us the road that each coffee bean has to pass to get to the consumer’s table. The controllers had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the processes of purchase, production, packing, degustation and transport.

ICV Serbia coffee factory

Then Verica Teofilović, Financial Controller, took the speaker’s floor.

She explained the goal of the company – to be No. 1. She presented the challenges which they face every day due to the developments in the local market and in the global market. She also presented the functioning of controlling at Strauss.

The meeting was closed by Dragan Radosavljević, CFO. Dragan invited the attendants to be interactive. He had a lively presentation, pointing out the need for innovativeness. Being a controller means not only helping the management but also helping all employees while encouraging research and development. The message of the presentation was that a good controller never sleeps. Dragan won praises of the attendants for an excellent presentation, and then he presented gifts.

ICV Serbia welcome

After the meeting, the return to Belgrade was organized and the socializing continued on the bus.

The report received from Slavica Vujičić

Sonstiges , ,

RE-CANONISATION and CFO of the future (24th ICV Serbia Meeting)

3. Dezember 2015

The 24th ICV Serbia Meeting was held on November 18, 2015 in the beautiful ambience of the Hyatt Hotel. The meeting was organized in cooperation with the Canon and IDC companies, and was intended solely for CFOs. The meeting was attended by 30 participants. The aim was to discuss challenges that CFOs are facing nowadays and possible solutions.

Bojan Šćepanović

The speakers at the meeting were:

  • Bojan Šćepanović, Director, Management Centre Belgrade, and President of the ICV Serbia
  • Nikola Pavlović, Business Development Manager, Canon Serbia
  • Uroš Ćamilović, Partner, BDO Business Advisory
  • Ademir Ćurtović, Business Development and Sales Manager MPS, Canon CEE, Canon Croatia
  • Aleksander Bende, Product Business Development Canon Business Solution, Canon CEE GMBH

The first speaker was Bojan Šćepanović, on the topic “CFO as a Business Partner”.

Very inspirational, as always, Bojan dedicated his presentation to the changes that every CFO should keep pace with. The changes affected most the following areas:

  • Environment
  • IT
  • Processes

Although we all look to the future, we often look back to sometime in the past, so the phrase “Back in my time…” is not unusual. That is how Bojan got us back in the time of the past by making a then-and-now parallel for each of these changes.

Explaining the changes in the environment, he touched sociological and economic changes. It is challenging and incomprehensible to many people, but these changes are integral parts of life of us all and the only thing we have left is to accept them. Tajči was our representative at the Eurovision contest in 1990s, but Conchita won the last year’s Eurosong. People used to walk their dogs in the park, and now they open Facebook accounts for their pets. Some of these changes are good, some of them we will condemn, but we cannot deny the fact that they are integral parts of our society.

IT is an area that is exposed to constant technological changes. It can be best explained using a simple example of buying and selling process. It used to be rather straightforward. You go to the green market and buy goods. Now the purchase is mostly made online. Letters used to be the main means of communication, and now Facebook, Viber, Messenger and Whatsapp took over primacy in everyday communication.

When it comes to processes, they underwent drastic changes as well. It used to be almost unimaginable to order a product from the US. Now it is a rather simple process. Not only ordering, but full customerisation. Products were not specially customised to consumers earlier. Now any customer can order e.g. sports shoes specially designed for him/her, and can do so somewhere from the US. In addition, corporate organisational chart was very simple earlier, while now there are drastic changes there as well.

Bojan called all these changes RE-CANONISATION! Considering that Canon keeps pace with the trends and constantly works on improving its solutions, this was a nice association for the whole story of changes. And where is CFO there? What would a CFO of the future be like? To summarise, three key things that a CFO of the future should have are:

  • Strategic orientation. A new CFO must know business, products, and sales channels.
  • IT orientation. A new CFO must be familiar with IT technology and keep pace with changes.
  • Focus on process optimisation. CFO should be ruthless in optimising processes.

The next speaker was Nikola Pavlović. Nikola talked about the position of CFO in a modern company. A modern CFO must accept changes and also know what it is that the market needs. In addition, it is necessary for all in this process to speak the same language and to perfectly understand each other.

Canon offers different printing-related products and what is interesting to CFOs is the possibility of managing this system. In order for Canon to take part in these changes, it spent a lot of time on surveys and interviews of its users. Three Business Insight surveys played a big role in this. The first survey was conducted in 2013 covering around 1.700 users. Interviews were conducted with all of them, with decision-makers as well as with service users. The survey findings were that document management was very important, as well as the value of printing and material security and safety of data.

Based on the second survey, it was concluded that the print-run need decreases, while in the third survey the decision-makers said that they did not know how much a printed paper cost them.

The latest Business Insight is made for 2016. Companies of all sizes and industries took part, 25% of them being business service and finance companies. All functions and sectors were asked questions, and 64% of the respondents take part in decision-making. Some of the questions were:

  • Why do you print in colour?
  • Is the company familiarised with the MPS solution?
  • What percentage of documents is digitised?
  • How much do you know about printing costs?

48% of decision-makers have no idea about what the costs of printing are, while 62% of the users do not know this information. 78% of companies do not have the Managed Print System (MPS) and do not manage these costs.

The next speaker was Uroš Ćamilović. The topic of his presentation was cost optimisation that is the way to efficient business.

The aim of cost optimisation is:

  • Improvement of business efficiency
  • Increase in profitability
  • Achievement of positive cash flows and
  • Creation of the basis for future business growth.

Uroš also made a parallel between cost optimisation and cost reduction. When we want to reduce costs, we often do not think of the long-term consequences, and companies simply cut costs. Optimisation, on the other hand, is a more complex process, but it has positive effects on the short-term and long-term prospects for business growth. Some of the areas for optimisation that he mentioned certainly are print management, which is an excellent example of savings, as well as the possibility of outsourcing. There are many benefits. Some of them include solving financial problems, better business results, more competitive position and added value to capital owners.

After the three presentations, the guests had the opportunity to take a coffee break and socialise and, of course, continue talking about MPS solutions and cost optimisations.

Pause

After the break, Ademir Ćurtović gave his presentation. In his presentation, he talked in more detail about MPS solutions.

If we want to reduce costs, we have to know how much we spend. However, many costs are invisible. Ademir gave a nice comparison with an iceberg. Little is seen above the water surface. But invisible costs are many. Companies spend 10,800 euros per year on printing.

Here are some more interesting pieces of information:

  • Companies have 10% more devices than they really need.
  • It takes 25 hours to re-create a lost document
  • Employees spend 40% of time by searching for a lost document

Such challenges are eliminated by implementing an MPS solution. The implementation process takes place in five steps:

  1. Taking a snapshot
  2. Designing a solution
  3. Implementation
  4. Monitoring
  5. Review

The implementation of an MPS solution achieves multiple benefits such as:

  • Increased productivity
  • Document safety
  • Environmental protection
  • More efficient management

The last presentation was held by Aleksander Bende. Aleksander works on the development of products for process improvement. According to his words, a CFO should know what is happening in the environment and how to achieve the best results with new technology. Modern IT tools in all areas may be used for business optimisation. Some of the frequent challenges are: how to interconnect information, how to protect document ownership, how to communicate information and how to monitor information. All of this can be done with Canon.

Special attention is paid to the following processes:

  • P2P process
  • Invoice processing
  • Cost impact

The key question that arises is how to connect purchase to payment. There is a solution that monitors this process automatically and thus helps in cash flow management. With this solution, the whole process from purchase to payment develops 50% faster. Everything that is quickly completed leaves us time to do some other activities. All the time, you have insight into what is happening through different reports and dashboards. The control is full, you know what the costs are, and the documents are totally safe.

Discussion panel

After Aleksander, a panel discussion followed. The moderator of the discussion was Bojan Šćepanović, and the participants were:

  • Dragan Vještica, Head of Controlling, Metro Cash & Carry
  • Ivan Tadić, Controlling Director, Hemofarm
  • Uroš Ćamilović, Partner, BDO Business Advisory
  • Aleksander Bende, Product Business Development Canon Business Solution, Canon CEE GMBH

Bojan asked the participants the questions relating to:

  • Changes
  • IT and
  • Processes

We single out just a few of them here. The answers to the question “How do you look at changes in finance?” were very interesting. According to Dragan, the Finance used to be a department that records things, while now no decision is made without the Controlling and Finance Departments. Ivan Tadić thinks that CFO as a partner is the biggest change. Earlier, CFO was, in fact, an accountant and was engaged in “counting the dead”. Now he is oriented towards the future.

Panel participants

Uroš responded to the question “What do CFOs mostly look for?” by saying that the role of CFOs in recent years had been directed to improving the process and increasing the efficiency.

Aleksander responded to one of his questions by saying that CFO was transforming into technologies, which Canon noticed. So it would be best for CFO to develop into Chief Financial Technical Officer (CFTO); it will be the position of the future.

We also had a small prize contest during the discussion, where the guests had the task to guess how much a printed piece of paper costs.

The answers were very different and interesting, and so was the continuation of discussion. The socialising continued at lunch in the pleasant ambience of the Hyatt Hotel.

This was the 24th ICV Serbia Meeting. The RE-CANONISATION is under way; the question is just whether we recognise it and whether we can keep pace with it.

Sonstiges , , , , ,

Smart analytics for smart controllers (Serbian Work Group Meeting)

11. Oktober 2015

The 23rd ICV Meeting was organized on September 30, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Belgrad, in cooperation with the Bisnode company. The topic of the meeting was “BISNODE SMART ANALYTICS”, and the meeting was attended by over 100 controllers and CFOs. On this occasion, Bisnode presented the tools that could be of use to controllers and CFOs in conducting analyses. Special attention was paid to Portfolio Intelligence.

The meeting was opened by Bojan Šćepanović, President of ICV Serbia and Director of Management Centre Belgrade. As is his custom, Bojan shared a few anecdotes with the participants, and this time he was in the mood to link the Farm show, Mimi Oro and controlling. What’s the connection? Well, one should come to an ICV meeting and listen to Bojan – there’s always a lot of laughing in addition to controlling.

Afterwards, Bojan presented three main speakers – the three musketeers of controlling. The speakers at the 23rd ICV Serbia Meeting were:

Controllers at the Serbian Work Group Meeting

The first speaker was Nenad Radunović, Factory Controller at Bambi. Nenad shared his factory controlling experience with the participants of the meeting.

Nenad focused his presentation on several key issues in the work of a factory controller: cost standardisation, work with managers, reporting, ERP and alike. Here are a few interesting points from Nenad’s presentation about factory controlling:

  • As for reporting, Excel still rules.
  • The main ERP to work with is UPIS and everyone is very satisfied with it. In a way, the users became innovators because they create by themselves the tools they need for analyses.
  • One of the interesting things is having large displays in production area, where the data are presented about the units produced in each shift. This awakens the spirit of competition among the workers because they can see at any moment whether they have met the set production quota.
  • The cooperation with production managers is…”challenging”.

The next speaker was Branislav Lončar, CFO at Leo Burnett. Branislav familiarised us with the philosophy of Leo Burnett, the largest marketing agency in Serbia with over 150 employees.

Bane had a few great video clips, one of them telling about how Leo Burnett was created in 1930s in Chicago.

Branislav described controller in several different ways:

  • rally co-driver
  • robot
  • navigator

The “robot” description was especially interesting. Controllers at Leo Burnett exist at the local level in Belgrade as well as at the Paris headquarters. There are also controllers at the Shared Service Centre for Serbia located in Hungary.

Considering that time is the most important resource in the work of a marketing agency, one of the interesting things was the way of managing projects and people. Each department has the so-called Traffic Manager, whose role is similar to that of a bus dispatcher. Traffic Manager gets a project or an activity and then distributes the activity to the employees. An activity sometimes takes 15 to 30 minutes and sometimes even several days. Precise measuring of activity per project, or per customer, may give profitability per customer.

Bane also presented several commercials made by them.

After two great lectures, the controllers took a break with plenty of refreshment and socialising. As our people say – both food and drink.

The next speaker after the break was Marko Srabotnik, Business Solutions Manager at Bisnode Slovenia. Bisnode is a Swedish company dealing with business information and having representative’s offices in 17 countries.

When entering the term “controlling” in Google, Marko found the following photo. Judge for yourself who of the people in the photo are managers and who of them are controllers…

According to Marko, the key steps in controlling are:

  • Plan
  • Do
  • Check
  • Act

Marko then gave the presentation of Portfolio Intelligence tools. It is an online application whose database covers the companies in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia. This application provides an insight into the analysis of credit relationships in the region and does monitoring for more than 80 critical events in the portfolio. Marko thinks that a great advantage of this application is its simplicity.

This application is simple to use. Companies define groups with which they work (customers, suppliers) and the system calculates in a few seconds credit ratios for the portfolio and for individual companies. There are several parameters that are analysed:

  • financial rating
  • dynamic rating
  • payment index
  • Bisnode Performance Index

The application also provides the opportunity of smart monitoring in the form of most important news. In addition, the application includes a customer grouping template.

Marko also presented a case study, i.e. the application of Portfolio Intelligence tools in a Slovenian company. After the study presentation, the controllers showed great interest by asking a dozen different questions. At the end of the meeting, our friends from Bisnode presented gifts to the participants of the 23rd ICV Meeting.

This ishow the 23rd ICV Serbia Meeting looked like. Once again, thanks to our friends from Bisnode for a great evening.

Sonstiges , ,

XXII ICV Serbia meeting – Beer & Pizza Controlling

4. August 2015

On Friday, 24.07.2015, we gathered in restaurant “Lavina” for the summer party in the ICV. This is the first Serbian  -ICV meeting where there weren’t speakers and presentations. Topic of the meeting was „Beer & Pizza Controlling“, and we tried to discover how this kind of controlling functions in Serbia. Thanks to our friend from Carlsberg, Đorđe Koprivica, who provided us with beer and Somersby refreshment, we reached impressive results. One of the findings was that the beer and delicious pizza are amazing combination for controllers.

Bojana Pejčić

ICV Serbia meeting

Sonstiges ,

News from Serbia

18. Juni 2015

3rd ICV Congress of Controllers – What does controller need to be pro and fit?

This year, as well as the last one, 20th of May was all about Controllers in Serbia. The 3rd ICV Congress of Controllers with the main topic “Controller as a Business partner” attracted the whole army of controllers who were interested to hear thoughts and experiences of their fellow colleagues and speakers. There were 350 Controllers and CFOs. Congress was opened by Bojan Šćepanović, president of ICV Serbia and director of Management center Belgrade. After a quick introduction and greetings to participants he offered center stage to Milica Šćepanović, who was Master of Ceremonies.

Jovana Kondić’s  company Mercator S recently faced the integration with another company called IDEA. She explained what was the role of the controller during that process. Jovana talked about strategy of the company, organisational culture, synergy and information systems. Company values are its greatest strenghts which lead to successful integration.

Next speaker was Milan Bukumirović, Head of finance at Knjaz Miloš. During his presentation he discussed what are the main roles of controllers. In his opinion, controller should be:

  • Navigator
  • P&L Gate keeper
  • Performance booster
  • Support
  • Change manager

The 3rd speaker was Miša Lukić, symbol of marketing in Serbia. Miša talked about profit. If a company wants to make profit, it should be Pro and Fit. Pro means Know How and fit means Know Who.

We had a great pleasure to hear from Saša Trandafilović who is a Head of budgeting sector in the Ministry of Defence. He showed up in his military uniform and in his presentation he showed many similarities between controlling in companies and in the government (military). Only difference perhaps was different terminology.

Next speaker was Andreas Graf, CFO at VIP Mobile. Andreas explained how digital controlling looks like and what are its benefits.

Aleksandra Paunić, Head of controlling at Wiener Städtische Insurance, presented how the controller acts as a business partner in this industry. Interesting fact was that insurance was introduced to Serbia by Miloš Obrenović (Serbian king at that time). Besides insurance, Aleksandra talked about controlling processes, reports, KPIs and planning.

Tatjana Lukić, Regional sales director at Microsoft, talked about what she means by sales controlling. Tanja’s job is very challenging because she has to travel a lot. She is responsible for 24 countries from Malta and Cyprus to Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Main purpose of sales controlling is…to bring us to green (variences).

Ljubomir Skupek, Head of controlling at Raiffeisen Bank revealed where controlling data travels to and from. “Board of directors is the mother and the father…”, “Accoutning is the older brother…” and “IT is your best friend from school” are some of his thoughts.

Nikola Petreski, Controlling and risk management director at Telenor proved that to be a better business partner, controller needs to have certain characteristics:Integrity, Humbleness, Simplicity.

Dalibor Jevtić, Head of treasury and operation finance at Victoria Group, believes that for a successful controlling you need:Team work, Focus, Flexibility. He finished his presentation with a joke where he put an equal sign between a good fairy and the controller.

Nenad Kovačević, Head of finance at Tetra Pak SEE, talked about changes. Changes are something that we frequently face when we want to go shoulder to shoulder with the time. Whether it is about controlling or your personal life, every change demands learning. On that path the most importants thing is that you have support.

The last speaker was Ivan Tadić, Head of controlling at Hemofarm. Ivan believes that controller is an internal consultant and a little bit internal auditor. Because Ivan started his career as an auditor, he came across interesting findings. He drew paralel line between german and russian view of controlling.

Congress was a great opportunity for controllers to meet coleagues from different companies and to exchange experiences.

Audience of the ICV Serbian Congress of Controllers

Serbian Controlling magazine

Meanwhile the ICV Serbia presented the third issue of Controlling magazine. After Germany and Poland it’s the next country where the ICV has its own pages in a controlling magazine. The main topic of the magazine is management reporting – one of the tasks of each controller. Therefore, the publishers are very pleased to present Professor Rolf Hichert, a real report magician and the author of the famous SUCCESS rules.

Serbia Hichert

Sonstiges , ,

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