Interview with Micheal Brett, FCCA, Senior RtR Process Manager at HEINEKEN in Kraków.
You work as a Senior RtR Process Manager for Heineken in Kraków. What are your duties at this position? Do you see any differences at this position and in the scope of duties at different industries?
The Senior Process Manager role in HEINEKEN Krakow is first and foremost a people leadership role. It’s not a cliché when we say that our people are our greatest asset. We are a people organization and our focus, as best we can, is on creating a win-win situation for both company and employees. We want and need to maximise our employees’ engagement with us and the company. We also have our duty to plan and organise ourselves in order to deliver on our commitments to continuously improve the quality, compliance and efficiency of HEINEKEN’s finance processes. As senior managers of processes, we also have the very exciting opportunity to shape the future design and organisation of those processes with our partners in Head Office in Amsterdam and in our local businesses across Europe, and sometimes globally as well.
I have worked in RtR management roles in other SSCs and while there are mainly similarities, I feel in HEINEKEN, more than others, we in Krakow are encouraged to think big, take risks, challenge the status quo and to shape and transform the future. There is huge appetite in HEINEKEN to change for the better, which keeps us very busy but it’s never boring!
You moved to Poland exactly 10 years ago. Which changes in finance and accountancy have affected local businesses the most significantly in the last 10 years?
Finance and accounting itself has not changed that much in the last 10 years, I think, except maybe the requirements for what a company needs to report to remain compliant in their financials usually increase.
The big changes I see over the last 10 years, and especially in the last 2 or 3 years, are technology related. How we work, how we organise ourselves, how we communicate, how we work together, the systems we have to perform our accounting and finance processes change and improve at a tremendous rate. It brings with it many opportunities, and some new challenges. I think the pace of change can be difficult for people, and therefore companies, to cope with. So sometimes we are not able to take advantage straight away, and sometimes we make mistakes adapting and have to re-adapt again.
We believe that during your current career, you have probably met many finance, accounting, and taxes professionals. In your opinion, do professionals with qualifications confirmed by ACCA have any unique competencies and skills? If so, what are these?
Indeed, I have been lucky to work with many strong individuals in finance and tax over the last 20 years. The ACCA qualification processes, both in terms of study and in professional experience, are quite rigorous. I don’t know if these competencies and skills are unique to ACCA, or if they would apply to all with equivalent qualifications. But in my experience, while working with the ACCA qualified, you can expect: technical accounting knowledge, hard-working, focused, determination, time management, critical and analytical thinking, and the ability to make judgement calls and give good advice. Definitely someone you want in your team!
Did your career begin to develop differently, after becoming an ACCA member? Has your perception of certain issues in finance changed, after passing the ACCA exams?
Yes, definitely. Being an ACCA member opened a lot of career doors for me, especially while working in Ireland. Many roles in multi-national companies require qualifications from both external and internal applicants. It’s not just a qualification, you also obviously learn a lot about the accounting profession throughout the years of study and work experience, both in terms of technical accounting knowledge and in terms of professional behaviour; what is expected from a qualified accountant, and how to approach problems and solutions. Finally, qualifying does also give a great sense of achievement and therefore self-confidence, which I’m sure helps in one's career as well!
What do you like most about your work in Poland? Can anything or anyone still surprise you?
Coming from Ireland, I have to say the Polish summers are a big plus! I really love working and living in Poland. Since day 1 I have been made to feel at home and warmly welcomed, both in work and in my personal life. The people I am lucky to work with are always polite, professional, hardworking and intelligent. The 10 years I have lived here have been a constant state of growth and progress, both in terms of how the country has developed and in how our HEINEKEN shared service centre has developed and grown at the same time. Despite unprecedented tragic world events, nothing seems to knock Poland, of course. It’s been very exciting to be part of that, so thank you for having me! I’m sure there’s more to come, and that Poland and the Polish people have plenty more pleasant surprises left to show us!