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CFO Congress 2017: The key is to understand the needs of the company and to help to fulfill its vision

The sixth edition of the expert meeting CFO Congress was held on May 17 in Czech National Bank with historically biggest audience composed of more than 150 financial directors. The main focus was on changing role of finance director in the company in time of uncertainty and big changes, digital transformation, rate volatility and also on solutions for investments and savings. The unique atmosphere of the whole day was encouraged by moderation of Daniel Stach from Czech Television.

The introduction of the conference was dedicated to the key areas of finance management. Macroeconomic indicators at the time of rate uncertainty were analyzed by David Marek, Chief Economist & Director, Deloitte. Both global and Czech economics is doing well. The challenges for the future are population ageing, insufficient digitalization of the public sector and inconsistent EU funding drawing on. David Marek focused on two topics in more detail: Czech Koruna rate and taxes. “The exchange rate commitment was not preceded perfectly; however in a matter of principle, it was correct. Koruna rate is stable at the moment; nevertheless, the volatility still may occur. In a long term, the strengthening of Koruna may be expected. The increase of interest rates may be expected from 2018." The taxation is specific areas is one of the highest in Europe. “Czech public finances are doing well – the creeping tax load increase contributes to this too. It is a needles obstacle to the Czech economy."

Marek Ditz, Senior Director for Transformation in ČSOB presented in his dynamic speech a critical view on the environment he works in. He stressed the need of change of inner company processes, including those of banks. With respect to the implementation of the innovation, Marek Ditz emphasized the need of “taking the chance of innovative approaches (not supporting the traditional business cases only) and overcoming of the time when the innovation is generating expenses only –to reach the time when break-even point is expected. It is a number of users what is crucial, not the amount of money earned." According to Marek Ditz, the future will be marked by flexible teams favorable to change and able to implement the change, and by robotics use extension and AI for investment uses (e.g. robo-advisory which will be launched in ČSOB next year).

On the digital transformation topic followed up Marek Kouřil, Director of Deloitte Consulting. In his speech, he introduced seven digital trends from finance management. Those include cloud, robotic automation of processes, visualization, advanced analytics, cognitive technology, in-memory computing and block chain. Some of the technologies are completely new, others are upgrades of what companies use already. Marek Kouřil also mentioned a challenge connected to the generation of Millennials: “Until 2025 there will be 70 % of the population composed by Millenials. These will expect to use at their work environment the technology they know from the personal background. It is a question of a generation shift."

Jana Tonová, CFO, Albatros Media Group based her presentation on her experience in diverse fields of business. CFO may be advisor, investigative journalist, changemaker or partner to CEO. However, the role is secondary, the key is to “fulfill the mission and to understand the needs of the company." In this process, it is important to maintain the combination of equilibrium – team – perspective.

Five CFOs and one CEO (who integrates the CFO in his position too) were discussion the topics of budgeting, rates, and role of CFO within the company management. At the open discussion participated: Filip Bělák, Director of Finance and Business Control, EP Infrastructure; Daniel Buryš, CFO, Kofola; Vladimír Mikel, CEO, ROSSMANN; Roman Navrátil, Finance Director Chropyňská Group; Ivana Prosecká, Finance & Development Director, McDonald´s ČR and Pavel Slanec, CFO CEE, Intersnack Group.

While Daniel Buryš shared his negative point of view on the rate commitment, Roman Navrátil had a positive feedback. Even though he agreed with David Marek that the way it was proceeded was challenging. According to him, the Czech National Bank shall be more transparent in its politics. He referred to the past when around 2007 Czech Koruna had a stable increasing rate. Banks were advising to its clients to sell Euro in advance. “Many companies were instead of assuring already in the area of speculation. After the 2008 crisis they had serious problems because of this." Roman Navrátil called for discretion today too.

The discussion moved to role of CFO. “What shall CFO fulfill? CFO shall be communicative, understanding and apprehensive. People with lack of experience who do not understand the basic principles are entering to the market. That is why the controllers shall learn everything. I believe in inversion into the people and I give them the maximum. It is worth of it." said the experienced CFO and current CEO Vadimír Mikel. He also commented on the CFO-CEO relationship: “CFO shall not enter to the company where CEO will not make him his closes partner and his deputy."

The speakers also opened a discussion on the topic how to minimize the agenda on operative means. According to Ivana Prosecká, CFO shall not be afraid to delegate his work and to give people the responsibility.

The final part of the conference was dedicated to the best practices for the finance management. The marketing budget use to be the one that suffers the shortage as the first one when the time of scarcity comes, because the benefits of marketing are not visible in the short term run. Jan Binar, President of Association of Agencies for Communication demonstrated that this strategy might be tricky. Using light hyperbole, he likened the marketing expenses to love relationship. He demonstrated the quantitative effect by marketing case studies of emotional, mixes and rational advertisement. The most positive effect (price, loyalty, market share and new customers) the emotional advertisement has. “Emotional campaigns make brands stronger. It takes time, but they are more effective."

How to cope with the IT expenses demonstrated Vladimír Šlachta, Partner and Jitka Kulhánková, Partner, from Expense Reduction Analysts. According to their study Barometr Cost Management, the highest inversion rates come from savings (up to 22 %) in the area of energy, logistics and IT. They spoke about the complexity of IT role and described three concrete cases where savings from 7 – 34 % were reached in the period of 1- 3 years.

Saving by using the services was the last case study of the program. David Lev, Printing Business Unit Manager, HP presented 40 % savings on print expenses in Plzeňský Prazdroj.

The 6th edition of CFO Congress was organized with a support of several important partners. The organizer was Blue Events and the expert guarantor Deloitte company.

More information:
Tereza Ordóñez, Blue Events
tel:+420 734 357 807, tereza.ordonez@blueevents.eu

Media contact:
Lukáš Koutník, Blue Events
tel.: + 420 730 804 077, e-mail: lukas.koutnik@blueevents.eu

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