Hey, Petteri! You’re part of the Customer Experience team, working with more than 20 Visma companies in different markets, including Austria, Sweden, Finland and Benelux. What’s that like?
"I gather a lot of information about how our companies operate. How do they work, their maturity and the quality of the business operations. Part of my role is to dive deeper into the customer's experience and perspective. We need to be very pragmatic in what we do and why we do things. Because once you know why you are doing something, you can ask the customer: Does this sound important to you? Would you be willing to use it? Would you buy it? Then you have that validation. In the future, we’ll also be able to accelerate the evolution of the whole Visma organisation, by gathering the best ideas from many separated organisations."
You were an exchange student in Shanghai when you came across an open position at Visma. What was it that triggered you to apply?
"At the time, I was heavily looking for a trainee position. I saw that Visma was looking for a Channel Sales Management Trainee. At the time I didn’t really know what the position entailed, but from living in Shanghai, I’d gained this way of thinking that even if you don’t understand 100% what you’re doing, just grab the opportunity and see what happens. Also, in Southeastern Finland where I’m from, Visma has a great reputation. I knew a couple of people who had worked at Visma before. Everyone was talking about this great employer experience. That reinforced my willingness to apply."
“From living in Shanghai, I’d gained this way of thinking that even though you don’t understand 100% what you’re doing, just jump on the opportunity and see what happens”
And now you're an Accounting Office Specialist. How do you describe what you do to, let’s say, friends and family?
“I help Visma companies across Europe establish business operations and practices that deliver outstanding results to their accounting office partners and their clients. I also strive toward building more synergies and collaboration across the companies working with the same customer demographic. The entire accounting industry is going through big changes right now. We can have a big positive impact through our operations in elevating local accounting offices and national economies down the line. A personal crusade of mine is to emphasise the importance of our partners in the operations we establish, and the solutions we build. We try to push the markets to new levels. Bookkeeping data manually, for instance, isn’t very practical. It's only information that you have generated based on your transactions during a year. However, once you have someone who understands what you do and your business, they can tell you how to improve processes. That’s the added value we can help our customers build.”
When people are to explain what they do, I guess the cliché is that no day is similar to each other. Are you able to point out what exactly it is you love about your job?
“Of course, every day is very unique, but I mostly love the fact that there are very complex problems. The best issues to encounter are the things that no one has fixed in the past and where there’s no benchmark to compare the result to. We always strive to improve ourselves and find better ways of working. And that’s sort of grown into a personal speciality of mine. We’re all throwing out ideas, and then I’m the person who grabs it and tries to materialise our joint vision.”
We also know you built your own role, as there wasn’t an open position as an Accounting Office Specialist. Can you tell us about that process?
“Yes, at one point I felt that my learning curve had peaked, so I spoke to my in-house mentor. I’m very happy that we have these mentor programs. As a young person with limited experience, it’s great to get advice from someone who’s further down the lane. My mentor asked me to describe what I was lacking. I said I hoped to be working with something internationally, but that also influences people directly. I got to meet a lot of people, which led to where I’m sitting now, working in an international position influencing over 20 companies. The whole process was very self-driven. Opportunities aren’t always served on a silver platter. You need to be proactive and have your ears and eyes open for the opportunities around you.”
That’s so cool! But I’ve got to say, although the initiative was on you, your managers still trusted you to take on more responsibility. That’s pretty cool?
“I think it’s reflected in our values. We have a true entrepreneurial spirit, which is something we’re very proud of. Everyone has the freedom to pretty much operate like an entrepreneur. I think it’s great for our innovation and growth. So instead of having 15.000 employees, we have 15.000 entrepreneurs.”
On a personal level, you’re a huge user of technology – and as for Visma, we’re shaping the future of society through technology. What kind of role do you think technology plays in society?
“I think usually people are a lot happier when they can focus on the things they love and feel valuable in what they do. I think technology's main task is to give people more time to do what matters, so that they can be more productive every single hour and be more fulfilled by their daily processes. Ultimately it’s about human happiness through efficiency."
“Even if you speak to someone you don’t know, like in the canteen or in another office, it feels like we have a mutual understanding of things. There’s something about the Visma spirit – it connects people”
Your team members are in Riga, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Oslo – and the team is growing. Even though digital meetings are the new standard, how are you cooperating across borders?
“My team is amazing! In some ways, many people could see it as a problem or a threat to the operations. But we’re making the most out of it by being very open and transparent about the things we do. On Mondays and Fridays, we have a 15 minute coffee break where work is off-topic, we just ask each other how we are and the plans for the weekend. I think that openness is the most important thing for distributed teams with many locations. We know each other. Everyone’s very talkative and I think we’re pretty great at communicating. And the funny thing is that even if you speak to someone you don’t know, like in the canteen or in another office, it feels like we have a mutual understanding of things. There’s something about the Visma spirit. It connects people. It’s easy to have discussions because you’re already sharing so many things with people you don’t even know.”