International controlling - Lithuania
A visit in Lithuania - report
Report of Aiste Lörgen – March 2012 - summary
after Controlling Conference in Kaunas a new acquaintance tempted me to visit Lithuania again. And last week I did.
I was invited to visit ISM University of Management and Economics, to take some lectures and participate in a meeting of the management of the university. I found the invitation very tempting and I wasn’t disappointed!
The ISM University is a private university of economics. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, master’s of business administration and doctor’s degree studies in economics and similar disciplines. The program of the master of business administration lasts over two years and the lectures are planed only for weekends (Friday and Saturday) in different modules (e.g. marketing or BSC).
On March 2, I could take a lecture and on March 3, there was a management meeting. All discussions were very interesting and I could tell a lot about ICV and controlling in Germany – of course not forgetting about mentioning how important it is to teach controlling at the university ;-).
I’m glad with the result of our discussion:
- Mrs. Edita Gimzauskiene (Head of the Work Group Lithuania) will give a guest lecture on the MBA – she will say something about the ICV and controlling
- Since autumn 2012 „controlling“ will be a separate module of the MBA program – classes on both days (Friday and Saturday) will be prepared and lead by Mrs. Edita Gimzauskiene and myself. When the solution proves itself, it will be a firm component of the curriculum of the MBA program.
I hope that this small step will bring closer the ICV and controlling in Lithuania.
That’s all from Lithuania. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Munich!
Convincing topics, committed participants: Successful meeting in Kaunas
On 17th September the work group in Lithuania held its 8th meeting with a total of 14 participants. Two of them were new to the group and attended the first time. The agenda of the meeting was: BSC, KPI and the various tools and instruments the controller uses today.
The topics and also the participants were so convincing that even the owner of the hotel "Perkuno namai", where the meeting took place, joined the discussions. “He became so enthusiastic about the meeting, the people and the topics discussed that he now wants to become a ICV-member as well. He has proposed to organise regular meetings from November on for the work group and also recommended us to two more interested people who may join the work group.” – Aiste Lörgen, ICV-Delegate for the Baltic states, was happy to see his enthusiasm.
The meeting began with news from within the ICV organisation. Edita Gimzauskiene gave an overview about the various tools controllers have in their day to day work. Already at that point the participants started a lively discussion on questions like whether a controller can judge objectively or how much influence on business decisions the controller in Lithuania has. "It was very exciting to see how the important task of the controller is appreciated also in Lithuania and perceived by the managers, slowly but surely" says Aiste Lörgen.
The next topic was presented by Mr. Vytautas from the logistic company “Sanitex”. He is another new member of the work group, attending for a second time. He described the different approaches and experience in handling KPI’s.
Mr. Paulius, who is one of the founding members, followed with a summary of his experience introducing the BSC at his new company.
At the end of the meeting all participants decided to meet more regularly on different occasions. Already at the end of November they will come together in Kaunas to discuss the topic “Mobbing at work”.
Aiste Lörgen was very satisfied with the meeting and said that she is very excited about the new initiatives. She is happy to say that three new members decided to become ICV-members after the meeting.
The next meeting of the work group in Lithuania will take place on 4th March 2011 in Kaunas, again at the "Perkuno namai" hotel. Main topics will be the preparation of the 4th Baltic Controller Congress and also discussions about controlling as a service.
When are controlling systems effective and efficient?
The Lithuanian economy upturns from crisis. Those signs are small though satisfactory. What kind of lessons did we learn? What was the role of controlling in overcoming the economic downturn in Lithuanian organizations? How do economic changes shape controlling systems? Trying to find answers, the Lithuanian controlling group continues to share knowledge and experience on the effectiveness and efficiency of controlling. Read more here (Download PDF).
Prof. Edita Gimzauskiene - the new head of the work group Lithuania
The ICV work group Lithuania met on 3-4 March for the 7th time since its foundation. The topics of the meeting were "TOC -The Theory of Constraints" and the review of the 3rd Baltic Controllers' Congress. 11 participants attended the workshop, five of them joined it for the first time: the 3rd congress "Controlling in the Baltic States" organised on 22 October 2009 in Kaunas by the Lithuanian work group aroused their interest in the activities of the ICV.
The first point of the agenda was the unanimous election of Prof. Edita Gimzauskiene as head of the Lithuanian work group. Ms. Gimzauskiene (the 3rd form r. to l.) is a Professor at the Technological University in Kaunas and a very committed ICV member: she is one of the founding members of the Lithuanian work group, its former deputy leader, she was the main organiser of the two editions of the "Controlling in the Baltic States" held in Lithuania and also delivered a speech at the one edition of the congress organised in Tallinn (Estonia). Prof. Gimzauskiene wrote an article about controlling in Lithuania which was published last year in the English supplement "Controller Magazin Special". Five further articles on controlling have been published in different Lithuanian newspapers recently. You can read more about Ms. Gimzauskiene in an interview at http://www.controllerverein.com/International_Controlling_Lithuania.
The second subject of the first day of the meeting was the designation of the Lithuanian ICV press officer. Ms Gimzauskiene took over the coordination of the press activities.
The first day ended with a review of the 3rd edition of the congress „Controlling in the Baltic States" organised last October in Lithuania.
„TOC - The Theory of Constraints" was the topic of the second day of the meeting. Edita held an introductive, theoretical presentation. Two other participants gave an insight into the TOC practice: Algirdas from the chemical company "Achema" and Vytautas, a new member of the work group, from the logistics company "Sanitex" reported on different TOC approaches and their experience in this field. Both of the practical presentations contained tasks to be discussed and solved in groups.
It was a successful and interesting meeting. The next one is going to take place on 16-17 September 2010.
Women in the ICV: Edita Gimzauskiene
A lot of women are working for the ICV. We want to know more about them. Let's introduce Edita Gimzauskiene from Lithuania.
Women in the ICV: Aiste Lörgen
There are a lot of women working for the ICV. Right here we would like to introduce Aiste Lörgen. Read more about her here:
Controlling in the Baltic States
This was the topic of the 3rd ICV controlling congress entitled "Controlling in the Baltic States", which took place on 22 October 2009 in Kaunas, Lithuania. More than 40 participants from Lithuania, Estonia and Kaliningrad followed a highly interesting program organised by the Lithuanian ICV working group.
Changes in the economic situation have a strong influence on the nature of decision making at different management levels of companies. This is also the case for a lot of companies in the Baltic States, where the current economic crisis lead to a dramatic change in the economic environment. After years of prosperous economic development 2008 and 2009 were characterized by a drastic chute in economic activity and inflation rates of over 10 percent.
The controlling professionals, as the main providers of relevant information for the companies' decision makers, have to find out which are the most important topics to be addressed nowadays and how an effective controlling could serve companies as a mean not only to survive but also to stay socially responsible and competitive in the future.
Edita Gimzauskiene showed how the changes in economic environment reflect themselves in the organisational values and the performance measurement system. She illustrated this by research activities carried out in 2003, 2006 and 2008. It became clear that companies have moved towards goals which are orientated towards the management of uncertainty, new opportunities as well as the effective management of resources and processes. In comparison to the pre-crisis situation, such goals as customer orientation and market development together with the development of human resources became less important. The changes in the system goals are equally reflected in the performance measurement systems.
Lea Roostalu stressed that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) may serve as a new sustainable business model for Baltic firms. She gave a detailed overview over the CSR-concept and showed, based on data collected in Estonia, that CSR has not yet become an integrated business practice but is rather a playing field of around 50-100 companies. Controlling can play an active role in supporting the management by setting value judgements that are open to CSR.
Economic changes often require complex decisions. Katrin Bühl gave the participants some insides into better decision making based on the Vroom/Yetton/Jago Model. After a brief theoretical overview she explained practical usage of a decision tree. With the help of examples she invited the participants to follow her through some examples of successful decision making but also through experienced failures.
Cost cutting is ubiquitous nowadays. But for companies it is vitally important to cut the right costs. Frank Ahlrichs presented a holistic approach to cost reduction which leads to sustainable profitability. With the help of a process based approach companies avoid isolated cost cutting. He provided an example of a process controlling toolset that can be applied according to the degree and the cause of the crisis.
Controlling should not only focus on costs - Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offers the opportunity to build up a mutually beneficial relationship with the aim to fully satisfy customers' needs and maximise the company's profit. Elena Groznetzskaya explained the benefits of CRM in different economic situations and presented some practical experience from CRM deployment in Russian companies. She showed in detail how to set up a successful CRM-project and explained the major reasons why CRM might not work.
Controlling is still a pretty young business function for most Baltic companies, where the main source of financial information was and often is the accounting department. Algirdas Pukelis presented an overview of the current situation of controlling in the Baltic States. He stated for example that only a minority of companies uses modern management tools, the analysis based on bookkeeping data is predominant, controlling is often seen as an audit or accounting function. As a result there is a strong need to formulate, understand and operate Controlling as a management tool.
Daiva Slekiene showed again the drastic changes in economic figures which characterised the current crisis and the resulting impact on long running investment projects. From her point of view only the strict application of risk controlling measures and project controlling can prevent these projects from failing. It is important to adapt, on a timely basis, the relevant planning data and to calculate different scenarios.
The final word of the Congress was given by Aiste Lörgen, ICV Regional Leader of the Baltic Region, who invited all participants to actively join the ICV work groups in their regions. She emphasized that the ICV working groups offer a wonderful opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with other colleagues. The ICV ideas may serve as a guideline to develop the controlling function and help to foster it's standing within the companies.
Download the article.
What’s the name of the game
In 2007 the controlling workshops in Lithuania started with a basic question: What is controlling at all? And a basic awareness for the participants: We already use tools of controlling like strategy, balanced scorecard and budgeting - we just didn't call them like that or knew the whole background. No problem. The controlling workshops found a remedy. Today the participants are very well informed. The evidence you may read here:
The 5th meeting of the work group Lithuania
9 of the 13 persons who had enrolled for this session did take part in it, 3 of them being new members of the work group.
The topics of the meeting were "Project controlling" and the preparations for the 3rd Baltic Controlling Congress. All the presentations contained a practical part, a task meant for group work.
The 3rd Baltic Controlling Congress will take place on 22 October 2009 in Vilnius and it will bear the motto "Controlling as a means to survive". The organisational team consists of 7 persons, most of which have taken part in the organisation of the 1st edition of the congress, too. The organisers are going to meet again for at least 3 more time in 2009.
The next 2 work group meetings are going to take place on 23-24 April 2009 at Achema in Jonava and on 19-20 November 2009 in Alytus.
If you are interested in experiencing the work group Lithuania, please contact Mantas Zilinskas (firstname.lastname@example.org), the work group leader.
"Kontrolingas": in the beginning was (also) the word
A "Controller‘s e-News" in April 2006 presented wonderful news stating that the ICV (International Controller's Association) was planning to expand eastwards. It was leading me to write an e-mail to the responsible person, Herwig R. Friedag, and to offer him my support. My supportive role was not only to translate or to give advice on Lithuania but also to be charged with the responsibility for the new work group "Lithuania". By then I had been able to gather three years of experience through working with the German work group "West III". However, introducing and leading a new work group became a completely new experience and a special challenge for me.
I was full of enthusiasm but also full of scepticism facing this enormous task. At the beginning my first approach took me to friends, acquaintances and relatives. I started reactivating old networks from school and university. At that point of time I was lucky to have been supported in an energetic and reliable way by Jurate Keblyte. After both of us had reanimated contacts, our next effort was to publish an article on the ICV and controlling in a newspaper - in which the ICV homepage was mentioned having been translated into the Lithuanian language before.
Because the addressed circle was not extensive enough we started a far-reaching marketing project giving precise information on the ICV and the new work group to 270 different companies. We had not foreseen the fact that in the Lithuanian language a word for "controlling" had not existed before but only a few vaguely correct English translations or "self-created" expressions. They all had one thing in common, i.e. they sounded more like supervision than controlling. Therefore we decided to use the word "Controlling‘as" being an artificial word from the English original language together with the respective Lithuanian ending. Unfortunately, each newspaper in Lithuania refused to publish our article with this expression and we had to start rethinking on the correct term. After long discussions within the work group and after having consulted the "Commission of the Lithuanian Language" we developed the Lithuanian word "Kontrolingas", which we have published very often ever since.
Encouraged by the extraordinary positive feed-back, I went on the first journey to Lithuania together with Dr. Walter Schmidt and Herwig R. Friedag of the ICV. There we found already interested people whom we could motivate to join the organization of the first conference initiated by the work group "Lithuania". Moreover, at this point in time the Lithuanian web site was frequently visited, meaning that the users could receive already a great deal of information on the controlling philosophy of the ICV.
With great tension I awaited 7 December 2006. Every single registration was increasing my delight and scepticism started decreasing. With the entry of the 15th registration I was confirmed that the conference was going to be successful. 14 curious people gathered already on the first evening in order to listen with excitement to the explanations of Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Friedag. It became already clear that great interest existed and further di-discussions were going to intensify the situation. Not without reason the conference is called "work group". On the next day in smaller groups we were working and quarrelling. The response of the participants was extremely positive. Each had been working with delight and enthusiasm, which made us decide instantly to organize an additional work group meeting in March and November 2007 as well as a regional congress "CIB - Controlling in the Baltic States" on 12 October 2007 in Vilnius. This one also became a successful premiere.
The enormous curiousness and commitment of the controllers from Lithuania has proven that a small spark from the ICV side and my person had been enough to ignite a huge flame like this. My dream has come true to convey my knowledge and the "unknown profession" to my country.
Head of the working group "Lithuania" until 2008
Here you can download the whole article.