Christmas is approaching fast, which means that my second Management Trainee project at Visma is coming to an end. At the beginning of November I left the safe haven of Skøyen and brought my bags and laptop to Sibiu, Romania. Sibiu has a long history, with the first official record appearing 1191. Visma Services was only established in Sibiu in November 2008 however, and has experienced expansive growth since then. In November 2014, we celebrated the 200th employee with a visit from Roar Wiik Andreassen, the Director & Head of Visma BPO Services Nordic. That is an incredible growth in just 6 years, and Visma Services Romania currently delivers services for Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Roar Wiik Andreassen congratulating Visma Services Romania for reaching employee number 200, and being the largest Services office.
The 200th employee celebration cake (delicious).
So why am I here, you might wonder? And what have I been doing? Nearshoring is an important part of the Visma Group’s strategy. Briefly explained, nearshoring is the transfer of processes from one location to another. The selection of the new location is based on factors such as cultural and time zone similarities. The goal is to reduce production costs, streamline processes, and increase efficiency. Sibiu is a perfect location because of its relatively low costs of labour in addition to a very well-educated population, as well as its relative proximity to the Nordic countries. These factors allow Visma Services to successfully compete in an ever-changing and increasingly challenging market. Going forward, it will be important for Visma to increase its own organisational productivity, and the investment in nearshoring activities will continue to grow. Modestly said, this is where I come in.
During my project with Visma Services Romania, my task has been to help identify accounting processes that are currently being performed in Norway, but that can be standardised and transferred to Romania. This has involved close dialogue with colleagues in Visma Services both in Norway and Romania, research on how processes are handled today, and what is required in order to transfer these processes to Romania. We have already been able to automate and transfer a small process, but what I like to call “my” process will be piloted in January, and it will be very exciting to see how this all works out. In addition, I have had the chance to learn a lot about accounting and practical nearshoring, become a VAT expert (at least compared to what I was), and train some of my Romanian colleagues on the process of vendor reconciliation.
At the Christmas market with fellow Management Trainee Stian, who visited while on a project for Visma Services Denmark.
Bridge of Lies, in Sibiu’s Old Town, decorated for Christmas.
Does all of this sound Greek to you (or should I say Romanian)? It did to me as well in the beginning, but this is the beauty of Visma’s Management Trainee program: Every two months, you get to move to a new project, a new company and sometimes even a new country. You will face new challenges, and learn so much more than you can imagine. Luckily, the Visma colleagues I have met so far have treated me amazingly, and Romania now feels like a home away from home. Although it will be sad to leave the project, this country, and especially my wonderful colleagues, I take away a lot of new knowledge, lessons learned from being way outside my comfort zone, and many new friendships. Whatever comes next, I am ready!
Merry Christmas and Crăciun Fericit,