International controlling - Slovenia
28th meeting of the WG Slovenia
The Slovenian ICV working group’s 28th meeting was held on November 22, 2013 in Ljubljana. The production controlling was on the agenda. This time we were invited to SILGAN METAL PACKAGING, a leading European manufacturer of metal packaging. Our host divided the afternoon meeting into two parts, high-quality presentation and explanation given by the Chief Production Officer was followed by a presentation of the production controlling, given by our member, Chief Controlling Officer in the company. Sixteen participants coming from all over Slovenia to see and discussed interactively the controlling in production company. The whole organization met high participant expectations and participant feedback was that the workshop was extremely useful. That was very important message given to two new members that joined the WG recently.
Value Paper of the ICV and the IGC in Slovenian
The current state of the understanding of controlling and role of a controller was formulated by the International Controller Association (ICV) and the International Group of Controlling (IGC) a policy paper and was presented on the evening before the 38th Controller Congress in April 2013 in Munich. Now you can read the document also in Slovenian language!
Controlling is an important factor of company’s success in German speaking countries, says the policy paper [ENG}. Simultaneously there are a lot of uncertainties what’s the heart of controlling. The goal of the project is to formulate the current state of the understanding of controlling and role of a controller as a policy paper of the ICV and the IGC.
13. ACC Adriatic Controlling Conference
13. ACC Adriatic Controlling Conference was a success in many ways, but most of all because of its record-breaking attendance. There were more than 200 participants, 50 lecturers from Slovenia and abroad - they came from 7 different countries - a very interesting managerial panel and great speakers in 5 afternoon sessions.
This year’s topic, Beyond Controlling, tried to find an answer to the question: “What is that ‘something more’ in controlling that makes companies successful, aside from methodologies and information systems?” Some suggested answers were trust, intuition, leadership style, competent coworkers and perhaps management reporting systems. We agreed with Mr. Rolf Hichert, also a guest speaker at the 13th ACC: “Most strategic and important decisions we take are not fact-based, either in private life or in business. Usually we selectively take all the facts we need to support our preconceived opinion. And in many cases the content of a report is less important than the trust we have in the source or person that reports to us.”
Among the international speakers were also ICV members Dr. Herwig Friedag, Prof. Dr. Martin Tschandl, Guenther Pichler, Jasmina Očko and Conrad Guenther. Together with our guests we spent a great day discussing how controlling can affect the efficiency, productivity, innovation and sustainability of a company, not to mention the guests had an opportunity to exchange experience and socialize.
You are invited to see the atmosphere of the event at http://youtu.be/L_ULOFzDhYM CRMT 13. Kontroling konferenca, Bled.
ACC 2014 will take place on October 16.
Details of the 13th ICV Adriatic Contolling Conference
The speakers of the ACC Adriatic Controlling Conference are known.
Plenary lectures will take place between 9.00 and 13.00 with some renowned experts presenting their points of view:
- Daniel Potočnik with “Connecting the dots”
- Bani Brandolini with “Closing the GAP between the CFO and CIO”
- Nevenka Kržan with “Strategies for a profitable company growth”
- Andrej Vizjak with “Success formulas for the new decade” and
- Rolf Hichert with “Why many managers don’t (or can’t) understand their own reports"
The Management panel will be moderated by the Executive Director of the Managers' Association of Slovenia Sonja Šmuc, who will invite some key actors from the Slovene business sector to join her. Tomaž Berločnik - President of the Management Board of Petrol, Zvonko Ivanušič - President of the Management Board of Pozavarovalnica Sava, Drago Kavšek - Member of the Management Board of Mercator, Nevenka Kržan - Senior Partner KPMG, Stojan Petrič - President of the Management Board of Kolektor group, Boštjan Škufca Zaveršek - Member of the Management Board of SiMobil, Andrej Vizjak - Senior Partner PWC and the Slovene Manager of the Year, who will be announced at the end of September, will all discuss the topic "Beyond Controlling".
After lunch the conference will continue at 14.00 with lectures delivered in five different sections focusing on:
- Methodologies and good practicesin the areas of controlling and finance, presented by many Slovene and foreign experts,
- The role of controlling, methodology and regulation in banks and insurance companies,
- Examples of good practicesof Slovene and foreign companies in the areas of controlling, finance and IT support for these processes,
- What should every finance and controlling expert know about IT,
- Overview of key toolsand technologies for efficient support
13th Adriatic ICV Controlling Conference
The 13th Adriatic ICV Controlling Conference: Beyond Controlling will take place on the October 17, 2013 in Bled in Slovenia. This is the day, when many controllers, managers, CFOs and others appear to Slovenia to discuss the influence of controling and controllers on the company's success.
What is the “the secret sauce” that makes the most successful companies excellent?
Leading companies from the Adriatic region will help us answer the question of how to achieve excellence by combining and integrating different areas of a company and what the role of finance & controlling is in this endeavour.
The Conference in Slovenia gathered more than 140 participants!
Portorož, Slovenija - The 12th Controllers’s Conference (October 25- 26, 2012), entitled »Experiences from the past in the methodologies of the future« gathered more than 140 participants, mostly from Slovenia. The speakers were experienced controllers, managers, consultants and finance directors from leading Slovene companies and also from Austria, Croatia and Italy. All speeches of foreign guests were in English, others were in Slovene.
The participants could hear interesting and topical issue of controlling, best practice, business solutions, trends in controlling, controlling in future. Topics were presented in 4 parallel sessions at the afternoon, among them one for banking and one for insurance and the participants valued them very high. There was a lot of possibilities to exchange expirience during coffee breaks and lunches and of course during the social gathering. At the evening there was an interesting entertainment program and a lot of fun.
A picture can tell more than 1000 words, the movie even more.
You are invited to see impressions from the event on http://youtu.be/ajV5Ol77A8g - CRMT 12. Kontroling konferenca.
See you next year! The upcoming ACC will take place on October 17th/18th 2013.
12. Controlling Conference
12th Adriatic Controlling Conference took place in Portorož, Slovenia on the 25./26. October 2012
This year’s motto was »Experiences from the past in the methodologies of the future«, since the turbulent times we are seeing, increasingly rely on already established and proven methods that are used in a modern way and with modern technologies. In conditions of rapid economic changes we need to find the methods and processes that enable companies to make better use of existing resources and increase the efficiency of processes and identify the risks at the same time. Communication, collaboration and education could help companies to avoid traps and take advantage of opportunities in business processes improvement.
This year’s conference highlights were:
• The impact of Controlling on Performance Management
• Financial Process Management
• Marketing and Communication
• Target Costing, Target Pricing
• Working Capital
• How controllers support their leaders in making important business decisions?
As every year many controllers, managers, CFOs, CIOs and others appeared in Portorož to discuss the influence of controlling in daily business. Praxis for praxis was the main point of the yearly conference; 2 days of quality lectures and relaxed discussions, transfer of best European practices, exchange of experiences with lecturers and participants from Slovenia and Europe and networking were just a couple of reasons why controllers couldn't miss 12th Controlling Conference.
Number of Slovenian and foreign speakers were invited to the 12. Adriatic Controlling Conference. We were honored to announce Mr. Heimo Losbichler, Vice-Chairman of the International Controller Association (ICV) and elected Chairman of the International Group of Controlling (IGC) as a keynote speaker.
10th Controlling Conference in Slovenia: Touch the future
10th Controlling Conference took place in Ljubljana, World Book Capital in 2010. The conference was organized by CRMT and Dragica Erčulj, ICV Regional delegate for South Eastern Europe. The conference motto was Touch the future. 90 controllers, accountants, managers, consultants etc. participated the conference. Meeting was enriched by local and foreign guests that shared good practices from their organizations. Besides lectures and valuable exchange of experiences the program was traditionally supplemented by evening program.
This year it was the jubilee controlling conference. In 10 years a lot of things have changed. Controlling has become an independent function that plays an important role in the companies. When the first Slovenian Controlling Conference in 1999 was organized, controlling in Slovenia was still at the very beggining and the structure of participants was much different than it is today. At that time controlling was, for some people, just another modern word. Some wanted to implement controlling because the world »sounded well« and because it was promising something new. Controlling had first come into the companies with foreign owners, later, though very slowly, also to the other companies in Slovenia.
One of the most important message of this years’ conference was the importance of cooperation and respect between management and controllers because this is the only way to achieve effects and long term sustainability. To practice controlling does not depend only on controllers but also on management. Quality controlling demands special business culture and managing style that has to be set by management. An essence of this culture and managing style are long term strategic operation, decentralization of duties and responsibilities. In practice, controlling is a result of a strong communication between manager and controller. Therefore controlling primary is manager’s function and secondary controller’s function. In successful companies controlling is involved in holistic support of Corporate Performance Management. Controllers as partners of the management play an important role in this process. Effective companies are also strongly connected to IT, and in this case business solutions take first place. Companies are aware of the fact that higher additional value request controlling system to assure stabile and successful growth without any bigger shocks. To achieve this, ambitious strategy of the company and effective controlling that is able to navigate the strategy is needed. In this field constant reviews of indicators, analysis of deviations and predictions of possible risks as well as suggestions for business process management are necessary.
10th Controlling Conference hosted many Slovenian and foreign experts from different companies, public administration and nonprofit organizations. The opening speech was hold by Siegfried Gänßlen, CEO at Hansgrohe and president of International Controller Association (ICA). He explained why controllers’ way is the right one and which are the ways that lead towards success. Effective controlling could protect the company against crisis. He stressed human factor and cooperation between management and controllers.
In recent years we witnessed the development of controlling in economy; lately controlling philosophy persistently spreads in non-profit organizations and public administration. A presentation showed how Results Based Budgeting effects in public administration, the other NPO showed good results after connected controlling with quality system. It is evident that controlling is a necessity in non-profit spheres as well.
The conference ended with creativity and different way of thinking, that should also be an advantage of every controller. Nastja Mulej from New Moment (the only licensed coach in this matter in Slovenia) represented the world of alternatives with technique “Six thinking hats” and “Lateral thinking”, founded by PhD Edward de Bono.
The main message of the conference was proactive role of the controller and the controlling. Economic condition strongly affects controlling and controllers everyday practice. That’s why it is not enough that controllers are creative, which means thinking, they also need to be innovative, which means action. “It is not enough that we react on changes, we have to predict them! And the best way to predict the future is to create it. Controlling creates the future” was the conclusion of the conference.
Dragica Erčulj, ICV Regional delegate for South Eastern Europe
Photos of the 10th Controllers’s Meeting in Slovenia here
See the people behind the figures
Focusing primarily on the financial situation requires more effort by all involved. Companies are forced to search for reserves and lower their costs on the one hand, and to increase efficiency and adapt the supply on the other hand. When we talk about reducing costs, we can not deal with different kinds of costs in the same way. Labor costs are the most sensitive. They can not be reduced as easily as, for example, telephone costs or magazine subscription costs. Read more here (Download PDF).
Successful Slovenian Controllers' Conference 2009
Slovenian controllers have their annual meeting traditionally every last weekend in September. Meet the challenges of Controlling - was the motto this year. As usual, there were also others, not only controllers: managers, CIOs, accountants, and so on. The meeting is meant to show new trends and development directions in controlling and according to the survey results the participants met their expectations so far. Of course, this year we could not avoid topics touching crisis but most of the people were optimistic: we should find opportunities and challenges in crisis; and controllers are here to help.
This year many Slovenian experts from the controlling area (also the ICV members were among them) presented practical solutions from their daily practice. There were topics from different sphere of activities, manufacturing, trade, services, also topics from the banking area - and these are always very desired. This year special guests were:
• dr Herwig R. Friedag, initiator of the ICV development in the new EU countries and internationally renowned specialist in Balanced Scorecard methodology. His topic was Management 2.0 and he presented the latest book (autors Dr.Friedag&Dr. Schmidt);
• dr. Veselin Perović, Assistant professor from University of Novi sad, Faculty of Technical sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia and a member of ICV; he persuaded us that controlling can be an answer in a time of recent crisisis;
• mag. Marta Kos Marko, well-known Slovenian trainer for management and sales training; she is among three best trainers in GKTI (Gustav Kaser Training International), last year she was the best on the world. Her topics was Is Stress to be Blamed on Ourselves? She gave us a few solid advises how to avoid stress in controller's everyday work.
What would participants like to hear on future meetings?
Many expectations and a lot of ideas were written in the survey; we need to prepare quite a few meetings to realize all the ideas or at least most of them. Controllers would like to hear what »kind of controlling« are used in other firms and other areas, they are (more and more) interested in best practice, they try to find "the recipe" how to communicate with managers, how to put team work (controller&manager) in practice, and most of all, how to persuade the manager about an advantage of having controlling. All the participants agreed to the fact that the most important advantage of the yearly controller's meeting is the possibility of exchanging controlling know-how and experience with colleagues and lecturers.
Head of the ICA-work group Slovenia
P.S.: I invite you to take a look at some photos from the 9th Controllers' Meeting in Slovenia - here.
While there’s life there’s hope
INTERVIEW: Meet a challenger of controlling
Slovenian controllers traditionally meet every year on the last weekend in September. The meeting is meant to show new trends and development directions in controlling. "I hope we will get fresh and innovative answers at the 9th controllers' meeting in Ptuj, 24./25. September 2009", says Dragica Erčulj, head of the ICV work group Slovenia. Meet the challenges of controlling is the topic of this year. Read here about the challenges Dragica Erčulj is facing organizing this event.
Meet the challenges of controlling is the topic of this year's controllers' meeting in Slovenia. What is the background of this topic?
Erčulj: I am sure we could have not avoided the crisis, but we should think about it and find opportunities and challenges in it. The main guidance at the meeting is praxis for praxis. There is a great stress on education, exchange of experiences and discussions about the ideas and difficulties in the controller's everyday work.
Can you give us a quick overview on your working group in Slovenia?
Erčulj: It was founded in March 2008 and has 29 members at present. Everyone is willing to come to the meetings, to meet other controllers, to be educated, to exchange experiences and to learn how others are doing "controlling". In every meeting approximately 15-20 members take part, more women (66%) than men. The members of our working group come from all over Slovenia, which is not a big problem, as Slovenia is a small country with 2 million inhabitants on an area of 20.000 km2.
How does the annual Congress, which already takes place for the 9th time, develop?
Erčulj: The development is pretty good. Every year there are more and more participants. Controllers like to hear what »kinds of controlling« are used in other firms, they are interested in best practice, experience from colleagues, how to communicate with managers and most of all, how to persuade the manager about the advantage of having controlling. Our participants are aged from 28 to 63.
If the share of women in your working group is bigger than that of men - is it the same at the Congress?
Erčulj: There (as well) are usually more women than men as well. Particularly in the beginning, in 1999, there were even 90% women. Throughout the years the percentage has been decreasing from 61% in 2008 to expected 60% in 2009.
How many visitors have come to the Congress throughout the years?
Erčulj: From 1999 to 2005 we had a pretty constant number of 70 visitors. Then all of a sudden the number increased to 80 visitors in 2006, 120 in 2007 up to the peak of 145 in 2008. This year the trend is declining back to 90 people expected.
Are you content with the number of registrations for the Congress?
Erčulj: Yes, especially if you compare it with the total population of 2 million people. This year there are less guests than expected, but of course it is a special situation because of the crisis.
Where do the visitors come from?
Erčulj: 99% come from Slovenia, others from Croatia, Serbia and even from Germany, where we have guest lecturers from.
If you have a look at the evolution of your meetings - what has changed the most throughout the years and what has remained the same?
Erčulj: People nowadays are more aware of the function of controlling. In addition participants are younger, they are much more flexible and have theoretical knowledge, but they need more practice and want to hear about practical experiences. They would like to get recipes for practicing (the) controlling.
Compared to Germany, Austria and Switzerland there are a lot of women working for the ICV in Eastern Europe. Why do you think it is like that?
Erčulj: I guess it is because controllers used to come from the accounting or planning department. In the past there used to be mostly women working in this area. But things are changing nowadays.
How about the location for the Slovenian Congress - is it the same place you meet every year?
Erčulj: No, we change the location every two years in order to be in different parts of Slovenia so that we can learn more about the regional particularities.
What are the biggest problems when organizing the congress?
Erčulj: To get lecturers! This problem is not solved yet, but it becomes easier for two reasons. First of all at the beginning, controlling was just a nice word in Slovenia and only few people were aware of the meaning. After we started the School of Controlling, workshops and the congress, controlling has become better known and now it is easier to get the lecturers. The second reason is that nowadays it becomes easier to get people appear on the stage.
Where do you get your lecturers from?
Erčulj: I ask people I meet on seminars, workshops, at our School of Controlling, on conferences, I ask our members of the working group Slovenia and so on.
Why is it important to visit your congress?
Erčulj: The meeting is meant to show new trends and development directions in controlling; to see best practice, to exchange experience with colleagues, to find solutions how to communicate with managers and most of all, how to persuade the managers about the advantages of having controlling. And of course to exchange experience with other countries. That is why I also invite foreign lecturers every year. This year for example the guest of honor will be Dr. Herwig R. Friedag, initiator of the ICV development in the new EU countries and internationally renowned specialist in Balanced Scorecard methodology. Another prominent speaker will be mag. Marta Kos Marko, well-known Slovenian trainer for management and sales training; she is among the three best trainers in GKTI (Gustav Kaser Training International), last year she was the best in the world.
What is the main theme for controllers in Slovenia in 2009?
Erčulj: Unfortunately, it is the crisis. But also reports, how to get data on time, reduction of costs, Key Performance Indicators and how to get better IT for controlling.
A bird’s eye view of the economic crisis in Slovenia
Edyta Szarska: Have you noticed an increasing demand for controlling during the last months in Slovenia?
Dragica Erčulj: Yes, I think I could say that. Controlling knowledge is in great demand. More and more people are willing to learn about controlling as well. We are experiencing an interesting situation here: this year much more people are willing to attend our School for Controlling, however, firms have but little money for education right now.
Edyta Szarska: Do you see any correlation between the global financial crisis and increasing expectations and demands from controllers? (additional analyses, after hours, or liquidity problems, etc.)
Dragica Erčulj: I can not say if there is a connection between the global financial crisis and the growing demands on the controllers' job in Slovenia, but one thing is clear: more analyses are required at the moment. Everyone is interested in indicators. Even those who otherwise do not like to hear about controlling. Companies are facing liquidity problems more and more often, while the forecasts for the months to come are not very optimistic.
The modern role of controllers - seeing the people behind figures
One of the special guests attending the 8th Controllers' Meeting in Slovenia (25 - 26 September 2008) was Dr. Walter Schmidt (Berlin), member of the board of the International Controller Association.
He held a speech on the topic "The Modern Role of Controllers - seeing the people behind figures". His presentation can be downloaded here.
The 8th Controllers’ Meeting in Slovenia: 25-26 September 2008
Controllers' Meeting in Slovenia, an event to enter in the yearly calendar
"The 8th Controllers' Meeting (25 - 26 September 2008) in Slovenia was entitled "Controlling creates future". And how could controlling create our future? A formal organiser, CRMT d.o.o. Ljubljana, Slovenia, the leader in Business Intelligence, prepared a rich 2-days programme. A lot of knowledge and practical experience were shared by experts from different business branches. Over half of the topics were prepared and presented by Slovenian controllers, members of the ICA-work group Slovenia. There were also two special guests joining the meeting: Mr. Tadej Vidic, a member of the board of Iskra Avtoelektrika (automotive industry), Slovenia; he presented the manager's point of view on the role and the challenges of modern controlling, and Dr. Walter Schmidt from Berlin, the member of the board of the International Controller Association; his topic was "The Modern Role of Controllers - seeing the people behind figures". Both of them made a profund impression on the participants.
We found a very good response during the meeting, as well as after the conference. Having more and more participants every year is an evident proof of how badly such professional meetings are needed in Slovenia. This year's survey results: the participants found the topics of the meeting up-to-date and very applicable, their expectations were fulfilled at a high percentage.
As in its previous editions, the Controllers' Meeting offered the participants many opportunities to exchange experience with about 150 Slovenian colleagues, controllers, managers, accountants, financials, lecturers, consultants and IT experts. This year it was the first time that we had the opportunity to meet also Croatian and Serbian controllers.
For many participants the Controllers' Meeting represents the yearly opportunity to meet friends and people with similar professional backgrounds and interests. In the end a lot of them said: "I will certainly come next year again!" What more could we expect?"
Head of the ICA-work group Slovenia
...I invite you to take a look at some photos from the 8th Controllers' Meeting in Slovenia ....
Controlling is becoming more and more important business function
Business management has moved on. Decisions have to be made faster; they have to be more accurate and they have to be based on more data from more disparate sources. So, controlling in Slovenia is not just a modern word as it used to be years ago. Controlling is a need, is a must! And controllers try to get more knowledge about what they need to know. They try to learn in school and seminars, from best practice and from each other as well; that is why the ICV work group Slovenia was established.
A Slovenian School for Controlling opened its door for the first time in 1996. Since then over 400 people attended seminars, from all the biggest firms in Slovenia. The whole concept of School for Controlling is developed on the model of the "Controller Akademie", Gauting/Munich. It offers the complete educational program for controlling: basics and advanced as well as special seminars and trainings. In all seminars and workshops they em-phasize topic-oriented presentations and ensure that know-how is transferred. The seminars include case studies, role plays, and group work. In the last two years, there were also the students who do not actually work in controlling departments. Some came to school to gather knowledge for their day- to-day work, and others, managers mostly, came to school to learn what they can get from controllers or controlling.
The ICV work group Slovenia founding session was held on the 27th/28th of March 2008 in Bled. The work group has 14 members. Two meetings took place till now. The main focus of the meetings is a joint discussion on best practices and exchange of experiences between the participants. The next meeting is planned for September.
The Slovenian controllers have their annual meeting in September. The Controller‘s Meeting Slovenia is meant to show new trends and development directions in controlling. Every year there are more and more participants (80 in 2006, 120 in 2007). Controllers like to hear what kinds of controlling are used in other firms, they are interested in best practice, experience from colleagues, how to communicate with managers, and most of all, how to persuade the manager about an advantage of having controlling. Everyone is invited to the congress, especially controllers and head managers who are interested in getting an overview of the developments regarding the controller‘s job.
Controllers in Slovenia have an enewspaper: the "Controller‘s Harald" is published 4 to 5 times a year; at this moment there are about 200 subscribers. The editors try to get and to publish articles that are interesting for controllers; best practice, effective solutions, modern methods and tools etc.
crmT d.o.o., Ljubljana
Head of the School for Controlling
Head of the ICA-working group "Slovenia"
Here you can download this article.