“We’re replacing opinions and guesses with data-driven decisions”

GET TO KNOW Anders Berg, chief financial officer (CFO) at identity and security company Nexus Group. “Our new ERP system will give us the data we need to replace opinions and guesses with data-driven decisions. This will help us speed up our revenue growth,” he says.

What did you do before you joined Nexus?

“I studied business administration at Uppsala University. Then I worked as an auditor, before becoming the CFO of an electronics manufacturer. After that, I took part in starting, building and selling the dot-com company Jahaya.com. Then I became VP Head of Finance at Investor AB, Scandinavia’s largest listed industrial holding company, and then I became CFO of Orc Group, a software and services company and a world leader in trading technology for the financial industry.

“I was also the CFO at Swedbank C&C, Sweden’s largest bank by customer count, as well as CFO and interim CEO at Bisnode, a provider of business, market and credit information. Most recently, I was interim CFO at Cleanergy, the leading global supplier of sustainable stirling energy solutions.

“I’ve worked in different industries, and in companies of different sizes: the smallest one had 3 employees, and the biggest had 14,000,” says Anders Berg.

The CFO role is not the same in all organizations – what is included in your role at Nexus?

“CFOs are always a sparring partner for the CEO, and they are responsible for the financial area. The CFO has to understand the business and the customers, to be able to affect the company strategy and how the business is monitored and governed. A big part of the job is also to keep the board and the shareholders informed.

“The CFO role at Nexus also encompasses security and sales operations. The latter is the link between sales and finance – it’s a very important function, which acts as a lubricant that enables the sales team and financial team to focus on their core tasks,” says Anders Berg.

What have you accomplished since you joined Nexus in July of 2017?

“I’ve helped create a new and clearer financial organization. I’ve also implemented a number of processes, and managed to get the whole organization to focus on processes. Having good processes mean that we work in a structured manner, that everything is somebody’s specific responsibility, that we have access to the right information at the right time, that the right person does the right thing at the right time, and that we digitize as much as possible. I’ve also implemented better reporting, monitoring and governance.”

“I’ve also managed to close a deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which means that we’ve gotten a loan of Euro 29 million. This will accelerate the pace of our innovation and growth, and ensure the long-term endurance of our Smart ID strategy. It’s also an important signal to our partners and end customers, since it’s a quality seal to be backed by the EIB,” says Anders Berg.

What are you working on now?

“The most important thing is the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system – it’s like performing a heart transplant. Right now, we have several different systems and a lot of manual processes. We have opted for Microsoft Dynamics 365, since it’s one of the best systems on the market, and since we already use lots of Microsoft systems.

“Our time plan is very ambitious: part of the ERP system will be implemented in March of 2018, and we aim to be finished in September of 2018. We can be this quick since our own developers are helping us. Most organizations don’t have that kind of in-house competence, and in some organizations, there is internal resistance instead of cooperation. We aren’t using a traditional project model for the project: we have an agile way of working,” says Anders Berg.

What is next on your agenda?

“The key phrase is data-driven decisions. Instead of having opinions and making guesses, we will get hard facts so that we can make well-founded decisions. We will get the data from our new ERP systems, and our controllers will help analyzing it.

“This will help us speed up our revenue growth. We will, for example, be able to see that a specific type of RFID card is sold with a loss, if all costs are taken into account. Then we can decide if we are to renegotiate or terminate the sales, or if we should sell this particular card with a loss since it gives us advantages or profits in other areas.

“Utilizing digitalization, automation and big data is a strong trend within finance – many of my fellow CFOs has this on their agendas too,” says Anders Berg.

How does this trend affect Nexus’s market?

“The security demands are increasing dramatically, so there’s a very strong connection between where the world is heading and Nexus’s business. The amounts of data are getting ever bigger, and the data contains very valuable information, so you have to make sure you protect it from being copied, stolen or changed. The identity and security industry is very exciting: the market is growing really fast and the business opportunities are enormous,” says Anders Berg.

How would your colleagues describe you?

“I think they’d say that I’m not afraid to make decisions, and that’s true. More people have died in wars as a result of a lack of decisions than as a result of decisions. I have made many decisions during my career, and I make fewer and fewer mistakes. And when I do make a decision that turns out to be wrong, I don’t have any prestige. I just say: this was not right, lets redo it.

“They’d probably also say that I’m calm, sympathetic, empathetic and a good leader. And that I have well-developed analytical and communicative abilities, that I’m well-read, and that I’m very interested in our company’s business,” says Anders Berg.

Describe an ordinary day in the life of Anders!

“I wake up in my apartment in Vasastan, eat breakfast, and take my car or the metro to work. When I arrive at the office, I read the emails I’ve gotten during the night or early morning. I usually have lots of meetings, and in-between them I usually have a main task for the day. Issues that need my urgent attention also pop up most days. No day is the same.

“In the evening, I go home and eat dinner with my wife. Then I read a book, watch a movie, go to the theater or a concert, or do something else within the cultural sphere,” says Anders Berg.

Published 20/12 2017

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