#274: Maintaining Duality in Finance

with Thomas Gustafsson

Our Guest Mentor:

Thomas Gustafsson is a resourceful and dynamic Finance executive with more than 20 years of international finance & business experience gained across well-known brands such as IKEA; Tetrapak; Sidel and Oriflame. Thomas is a people leader with a proven ability to mobilize global teams across organizational boundaries with a strong track record of leading major strategic business transformation initiatives, delivering innovative and ground breaking solutions. At ease in global matrix organizations, with an outstanding ability to see the big picture and to delivery clarity and efficiency in complex environments.

Thomas has a masters’ degree in Forestry as well as a Masters in Economics and can speak 5 languages, and is currently based out of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Key Quotes From the Episode: 

[On the importance of stepping back and assessing the big picture] “Can’t see the woods for the trees.”[08:05]

“One of the most important traits of any professional is the ability to step back and ask the question, why?”[08:20]

“We should make everything as simple as possible but not simpler.”[29:56]

(Other resources and how to connect with Thomas below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

– Tips on how to see the bigger picture;

o Stop and ask why

o Don’t jump in to the “how”

o Prioritize and do the most important thing

– Effects of not asking why and how much it cost to the business

– The “why” of finance and accounting;

o Compliance to statutory requirements

o Drive the business by adding value to it

Time Stamped Show Notes

[02:50] – Thomas shares his origin from Åland Islands (self-governed part of Finland) and how an interest in nature led to him taking a master’s in forestry, but how an economics masters was a backup plan, which helped lead into his career at Tetra Pak Group.

[06:50] – The cycle of nature and its similarity to finance business partnering.

[08:20] – To be a good leader you need to see the bigger picture.

[09:10] – Tips on how to see the bigger picture;

o Stop and ask why

o Don’t jump in to the “how”

o Prioritize and do the most important thing

[10:53] – Effects of not asking why and how much it cost to the business.

[14:09] – The “why” of finance and accounting;

o Compliance to statutory requirements

o Drive the business by adding value to it

[16:40] – Maintaining balance of compliance with driving the business in finance and accounting.

[18:32] – Quick evolution of machine learning and analytics and the direction of finance and accounting professionals

[20:53] – Safeguarding data while classifying it as company asset and it’s becoming more valuable.

[22:58] – Data ownership and the responsibility of accessing business information must be defined.

[25:10] – Getting access to the relevant data to make sound business decisions IT will make it more accessible.

[27:58] – Area in analytics found useful and that adds value to the business.

[29:38] – Thomas’s best advice ever received by making things simple.

[31:42] – Our tendency to make things complicated and revert to the idea of maintaining duality.

[32:20] – Great book for the audience to read, suggested by Thomas.

[33:58] – Best way to connect with Thomas.

[34:29] – Thomas parting thoughts about being curious.

Resources Mentioned:

Books:

Hardcover

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari https://www.amazon.com/Sapiens-Humankind-Yuval-Noah-Harari/dp/0062316095

Connect with today’s guest: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-gustafsson/

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