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Current position: Accounting Business Partner for Crop Science and Bayer Support Functions (Bayer Group Platform), Lyon
Joined Bayer in: 2013
"I see myself as a sort of in-house consultant who can anticipate all the problems associated with accounting matters."
You are one of two Accounting Business Partners for Bayer in France. What does the job involve?
Bayer opted to have its accounting handled by shared services. It's a very efficient organization for recurrent operations. My job was created to make sure that the organization ran just as smoothly for less common situations, such as changes of business model or new contracts. As the designated contact person, I interface between the experts from Accounting and the other Bayer departments with accounting issues (Marketing, Production, R&D, Sales, HR, Purchasing, Legal, etc.).
What are your roles and responsibilities?
I bring tricky accounting issues to the attention of the Project groups I belong to as early in the process as possible. The aim is to prevent strategic decisions being made without factoring in the accounting aspects. I also present the new accounting rules so that the contracts can be adjusted before they become effective. This keeps Bayer in statutory compliance.
Do you have a background in finance?
I have a rather unusual background, having trained as an agronomy engineer (1), with work experience in financial auditing. And that's where I became familiar with the Bayer Group: a company that never stands still, that always has new projects on the go and lots to learn. That's what motivated me, right from the start...
So joining Bayer was a way to combine your two fields of expertise!
Yes! And I use my background in agronomy every day. The people I deal with are pleased not to have to re-explain everything all the time, because I know the problems they face. Even so, I'm constantly on the lookout for new developments, especially in the legislation. I have to maintain a high level of expertise in all accounting matters so that I know what's required and can call in the right people. And I have to be familiar with the business lines' main issues too, in order to defend their interests as best possible. Bayer provides us with very powerful tools, which is essential given that it's a very complex group and that my very cross-functional role obliges me to consider the group as a whole.
You've been in your current job for two years now. Can you already see any changes under way?
To begin with, I had a fairly "curative" approach and I approached the teams. Today, though, I have a more clearly-defined role and the teams are more likely to call me in before problems arise, so my role is more a preventive one. The feedback is positive and the people I deal with think their operations are more efficient now.
What do you think your next job could be?
It's hard to say, because there are so many changes and opportunities at Bayer. Moreover, in the new organizational model the group intends to roll out in all the support functions, the role of business partner is a key role that extends beyond its current functions. This is excellent news, because I hope to remain in the role of interface for the business lines, though with a broader functional scope or a new business sector.
(1) Agro ParisTech