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Transformation of the Finance Role

Coca-Cola Hellenic BSO was presented at SlavConf Decipher by Ekaterina Sourkova, Service Delivery and Transitions Manager, and Nikolay Boev, COGS Controller, who discussed the transformation of the finance role and the future opportunities for career development in the sector.

Ekaterina Sourkova kicked off the presentation with some key statistics about the Coca-Cola Hellenic BSO. She underlined that out of a young team of 750+ employees with an average age of 33, more than 70% are in finance roles. The international work environment currently consists of 23 nationalities who speak 19 different languages with more than 20% of the employees speaking 2-3 languages. The 5 corporate offices are based in Bulgaria and Greece with main offices in Sofia and Thessaloniki. The job opportunities include various benefits, internal training and opportunities for career growth, resulting in 120 promotions and 20+ talent exports in 2022.

Over the past 50 years, the finance role in the company has been very important and has evolved significantly with the vast application of technology in every aspect of the business. The main focus of the company is driving cost efficiency through digital automated services and E2E process optimization, delivering great customer and employee experience while ensuring strong governance and building an engaged and capable talent pipeline as well as cultivating a growth mindset.

Over the past 10 years the current state of the role is shifting more and more to guiding the business growth with proactive financial insights, focus on finance partnering and stakeholder management. Nowadays, the finance profession is distinguished by analytical skills which are the ones appearing in every CV as a requirement. Ekaterina and Nikolay explained that the future of the sector will be defined by technology expertise, soft skills and advisory as it will be a more creative and more strategic role. Therefore, the new finance professional is expected to be a hybrid talent with a colorful set of different skills.

Currently, the recruitment processes are focused on two main aspects: recruiting the right people for the right positions based on their capabilities and planning for the future needs of the company by recruiting the best talent early on.

Nikolay Boev explained the implications of technology on the future of finance, estimating the extent to which different types of roles could be automated. He stated that processes like data collection and data processing are easier to automate with more than 60% of the work which will be performed by robots in the future. Compared to those processes like expertise application, stakeholder interactions and management are 20% or less automatable.

In conclusion, Nikolay shared what to him is one of the key messages of the presentation: “I have personally seen how much the job of the finance professional has changed in the last 10 years. It is very clear where the profession is heading with the influence of technology which is making our life much easier but is also giving us a very big new scope of activities, which are shifting from traditional advisory accounting and governance activities to strategic management and business advisory roles that are going to provide value for the entire business. It doesn’t matter if we are at the start, the middle, or towards the end of our career, we need to be adaptable to this, to learn new things and change with the times.

In the Q&A section Ekaterina and Nikolay gave some insight into the various paths that are available at the company for new talent.

Nikolay Boev explained that there is a place in finance for anyone who is able to be adaptable and think ahead as long as they have the motivation to pursue it: “If you are scared of numbers, finance is not for you. But it is also not rocket science, if you like it, you can learn it fast.

To a question by a philologist, Ekaterina Sourkova answered: “We welcome people with languages, we have quite a lot of people who speak various languages and they are all supporting the finance processes. This is how they learn the profession.

In conclusion, she stated: “The business is responsible to nurture the talents in the organization by training and by providing different opportunities. Given that someone has the right mindset and qualities, everyone is welcome.

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