In a few weeks our event Financial Controlling Toolbox will kick off in Prague. Among the many interesting speakers is Andrei Gavril, Director Controlling at OMV Petrom.

Amidst his busy schedule, he found time to elaborate on the contents of his event session entitled “Value Enhancement Projects”. Andrei stresses that the modern Controller needs to be persuasive and play an active role in bringing new ideas to the table. During the event he wishes to facilitate an open dialogue with the audience and present opportunities to change the status quo.

Before we dig into the content of your presentation, could you please share a little bit about yourself and your background?

“I took over my current position of Controlling Director in OMV Petrom starting April 2013. My responsibilities include overseeing the Group performance management reporting, short/mid/long term planning, sanctioning investments decisions, leading or supporting various business projects and advising the CFO and Executive Board on strategic options.”

“I joined OMV Petrom more than 9 years ago. Internal Audit Director and Head of Operational Controlling in OMV Group were among the positions I occupied during this time period. During these years I was actively involved in various projects targeting optimization of Group operations on both long and short term basis.”

“I started my career in a bank, BRD Groupe Societe Generale, subsequently I joined KPMG as financial auditor, then I worked for Wienerberger Romania where I was in charge of financial performance reporting and budgeting.”

The topic of your presentation is “Value Enhancement Projects”. Could you please elaborate on what you will be presenting during the event?

“In the various roles I held over the past years, in several companies, I came across particular issues that seemed to be recurrent within the teams I worked with. You will often find there is a lack of resources, too much number crunching, too little time, not enough people, lack of people with the right skills and so on. If you lack time and resources, you will have a hard time identifying the activities that add the most value to the organization.”

“When I came into my current role, I stressed the need for having both the time and the people to look into what really matters. That is, to be at the table with the board and look into the strategic decisions and initiate the projects where you know there is room for improvement in various areas. Within this strategic vision, I managed to separate the strategic activities from the regular reporting and re-position the whole Controlling organization in the company. I am glad to be able to share these achievements with others.”

“I wish to keep my session interactive however. I want to gain feedback from the audience so we can look at possibilities to solve common problems and move a little bit higher in the value adding chain. I want to show the audience how I tried to do more with the same resources so they can have a more fulfilling job for themselves and their teams. And of course I hope I will get some ideas from the audience as well.”

What do you believe is the #1 takeaway of your presentation for those attending the event?

“If you think strategically and act consistently, the regular Controlling shortcomings I mentioned before can be overcome. I want to show that Controlling can move beyond its traditional role and be more involved in the strategic setting of the company so you can add more value to the organization as a whole.”

You may have also had the chance to review the topics of your fellow event speakers. Is there a particular presentation you look forward to?

“The first session that caught my eye was the interactive presentation on day 2: Communication and the Art of Persuasion. As a controller you are always a business partner and you have to be able to convince the business about your ideas. I think a good Controller can only be that if he is a persuasive Controller.”

“Another interesting session is called Eliminating the Distance between the Business and Finance. I believe things can always be done better, so I am curious to hear experiences and ideas from others in this area.”

Having attended and spoken at several events, what advice can you give attendees that want to make the most out of their attendance?

“I regularly try to go to conferences, because it is always a good place to find new ideas and connections. Most people in Finance will tell you they are too busy to go to conferences. If you ask them what is lacking most, time will be the answer most often. If that is the case, you obviously don’t want to waste your time.”

“To make sure I get the most out of any conference, I use a very simple criterion for success: if I get at least 2 new ideas then the event has been a successful experience for me. Now in order to get those 2 ideas, I am always making sure to be proactive in finding them. I try to share my experiences with as many of my peers as possible and listen to their experiences as well. Once you share your ideas with others, they are more likely to open up and share useful information with you. This is how I usually get to my 2 ideas, that I take back to the company and give a try.”

“Don’t come to a conference with unrealistic expectations. Let’s be honest, in one or 2 days you are not going to change the world. Write down your own success criteria and be proactive in fulfilling them. You should seek what you are looking for. To do that, you have to know what you are looking for, first.”

Please visit the official website for Financial Controlling Toolbox if you want to meet Andrei Gavril in person and listen to his presentation.