Tag Archives: Financial Forum

AmCham Financial Forum – Outsourcing & Fintech

AmCham Financial Forum – Outsourcing & Fintech

AmCham Norway’s fully subscribed Financial Forum convened its October session in hybrid fashion at both our downtown Oslo office and via Microsoft Teams.

Escalon Co-Founder Sarah Lerche commenced the collaborative, cross-industry session by outlining critical factors for success when outsourcing in an increasingly digital landscape. Chief among these criteria – the importance of relationship management and communications, both during the onboarding process and for the duration of the engagement.

With Escalon’s CFO, payroll, HR, and accounting service offerings – closing over 1 200 books each month – Lerche underscored the importance of concise contracting and clear designation of clients’ responsible contacts. “Set responsibilities early on and document everything!”

Presenters

Sarah Lerche

Co-Founder

Camilla Wollan

Partner

Innovation in the Financial Space

Following up on Lerche’s financial automation insights was DLA Piper Partner Camilla Wollan. Focusing upon current and future trends, Wollan expertly mapped the Norwegian fintech space – both in terms of players and evolving policy impacts. Emphasizing that “Norwegian law is technology neutral” as an advantage for local, nimble businesses, Wollan went on to concede that “too many Norwegian fintech companies are not internationally oriented.”

She noted that COVID-19 has forced banks to develop new solutions for increased digital interaction with customers, with a focus on cost-efficiency rather than design. Cashless payment solutions, for example, have been essential during the pandemic and the threshold for payment without confirmation has increased. The threat of cyber security breaches and need for security measures, therefore, has also increased. “Industry – regulator collaboration is key to fintech success,” observed Wollan.

The wider group then shared trends from their respective industries, along with predictions on what will come next. Forum participants included senior finance representatives from AbbVie, Accenture, AIG, American Shipping Co.CitiConnectum Capital ManagementDiscovery Networks Norway, Fast SolutionsGIEKIBMKPMGOSM AviationRaise GruppenSonitor and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

About the Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. Our December Financial Forum is currently being planned – for interest in participating, please contact Madeleine Brekke.

AmCham Financial Forum: International Learnings, Values & Principles

AmCham Financial Forum: International Learnings, Values & Principles

“With days normally filled with execution, it’s good to take a step back and think about what’s important.” So began special guest Bjørn Eide’s reflective presentation to peers during AmCham’s latest Financial Forum. Eide, VP of Finance at Norwegian big data firm Cognite, openly shared his most important lessons learned, having led financial teams in India, the Philippines, and Canada before returning to Oslo last autumn.

“Honor and integrity, above all else,” are what have guided Eide through his 9-year gambit of international financial department leadership challenges and successes. Though familiar, the return to Norway has not been without its surprises – especially within recruiting, divergent perspectives and professional passion, according to Eide.

Now well into the COVID-19 cycle, several Forum participants then went on to illustrate how their respective industries were faring. Macrotrends, pending Norwegian legislation, newly developed technologies and reworked revenue streams were all on the virtual discussion table.

About the Financial Forum

AmCham’s Financial Forum is a platform that provides cross-industry financial leads the opportunity to share best practices and have open discussions amongst peers – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway.  Through roundtable discussions and engaging, interactive workshops, member participants delve into real world financial operations challenges.

Please contact us for interest in participating in future Forums.

AmCham Financial Forum: Ongoing COVID-19 Challenges & Adjustments for All

AmCham Financial Forum: Ongoing COVID-19 Challenges & Adjustments for All

AmCham’s latest Financial Forum was convened virtually last week with mainstay forum leads from 24SevenOffice, BAT, IBM, KPMG, OSM Aviation Management, Raise Gruppen, and Sonitor in attendance.

The concentrated open-exchange session featured candid exchange on remote financial department workflow and resource engagement, forecasting through the remainder of 2020 and beyond, shifting US and Norwegian business regulations, and internal/external supplier and customer credit processes.

Atop participants’ forecasting agendas were currency exchange rates and hedging arrangements, with several financial leads emphasizing the criticality of current cash reserves. Many noted the varying impact of COVID-19 on their respective business lines, impacted both negatively and positively in some instances. Long-term fixed costs, international supply chains and customer payment delays were addressed as key joint concerns.

While financial leads increasingly dedicate their attention to evolving government guidelines and processes, the consensus was that Norwegian guidance is relatively straightforward and agile, while at times less so for their respective US operations.

Join Us!

In response to such government guideline challenges, AmCham – together with Innovation Norway, SelectUSA and partners – will co-host a dedicated session on COVID-19 relief packages for the Norwegian American business ecosystem on Wednesday, May 13th at 17:00 Oslo time. Please join us!

About the Financial Forum

AmCham’s Financial Forum is a platform that provides cross-industry financial leads the opportunity to share best practices and have open discussions amongst peers – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway.  Through roundtable discussions and engaging, interactive workshops, member participants delve into real world financial operations challenges.

Please contact us for interest in participating in future forums.

AmCham Financial Forum – January 2020

AmCham Financial Forum - January 2020

AmCham welcomed financial leads from Accenture, AIG, GIEK, Harvey Nash, IBM, Kluge, KPMG, Manpower, OSM Aviation, Pfizer, Sonitor, TGI Friday’s, and Verizon to Raise Gruppen‘s downtown Oslo offices for the first AmCham Financial Forum of 2020.

The Power of Hair - What Business Are We Really In?

Raise Gruppen CEO Christinah Nicolaisen and group CFO Camilla Hem started off the forum with an overview of the company, focusing on how their services and products have evolved and diversified over time – a business transformation that has not only helped the company thrive in an increasingly competitive market, but also successfully make the jump to the United States.

“We don’t simply talk about haircuts, but rather something that defines and builds confidence. We’re not just in the hair and skin care business, we’re in the identity business,” noted Nicolaisen.

Hem then walked participants through the financial, HR, and branding challenges Raise Gruppen is encountering as they continue to expand stateside. The presentation underscored how important it is for financial leads to understand the entirety of their businesses when undergoing expansion in a foreign market.

Digitalization and Automation – Where to Start?

OSM Aviation CFO Anders Bakken then led a roundtable discussion on the importance of people in developing financial systems to cope with rapid growth, sharing perspectives from OSM’s own rapid international expansion.

Bakken’s insights resonated with many of those in attendance, who noted that they also found the development of process-driven strategies with clearly defined outcomes as a critical component in successfully implementing digital strategies. In this regard, noted one participant, Scandinavia is at the forefront of adopting such strategies – a positive note for continued Norwegian competitiveness in the sector.

Discussion then addressed the importance of recruiting talent with a passion for change, dedicated professionals that understand the ins and outs of digital solutions on a global scale. “It’s all about people,” proclaimed Bakken, before going on to note younger, less experienced workers who are passionate about innovation can be more valuable than older, more experienced workers less open to change and adaptation.

AmCham would like to thank Raise Gruppen for graciously hosting and facilitating this instalment of our Financial Forum. We look forward to our next forum gathering, which will focus upon outsourcing  and the importance of connectivity within the financial industry.

About the Financial Forum

The AmCham Financial Forum is a platform that gives financial leaders the opportunity to interact, share best practices, and learn from each other – building a better understanding of what it takes to run a successful international finance department in Norway. Our Q2 Financial Forum is in the works – for interest in participating, please contact amcham@amcham.no.