Growing is an essential part of life.
Alan, Financial Controller at Richemont Switzerland, has had an unexpected path. I was initially supposed to start working for another big, well-known company in Geneva, but then the amazing opportunity to join Richemont Europe’s Finance team came up and I knew it was the right move. The decision was inevitable and my interest in watches & jewellery also definitely contributed to my choice.
Moving from Accounting to Controlling
In the beginning our Finance team was small and we only consisted of two people, which made our work challenging especially because Richemont Europe's scope includes several markets. I had a lot of new information to learn, but every day was different and very insightful. The greatest thing for me was witnessing how our team has grown from two people to eight currently. I have been present with all the new members joining and have had the privilege to guide them through their starting process since I was the “old man” in the team.
I started as a Junior Accountant when I joined Richemont and was promoted to Accountant after one year. Just when I was getting used to my position as an Accountant I was moved up to Senior Accountant which was a very big achievement for me. My adventurous journey in the Accounting team lasted for more than eight years. Who says Accounting can't be fun?!
After my path as an Accountant I got the chance to integrate the Richemont Europe Controlling team which made me acquire new skills in Finance, because after eight years in Accounting I felt that I have learnt almost all tasks related to the field. For me Controlling and Accounting are directly linked even if technically it is two different jobs. I was excited to learn how Controlling exactly works so that I could become an expert in both. This enabled me to help our Business Partners with questions involving the Accounting and Controlling functions. I am the type of person who wants to come to work every day to learn something and my job has enabled me to do this. Going out of your comfort zone is the only way for you to grow and this is the philosophy I live by.
My mindset as an employee has changed
Richemont is a big company so you can’t just stay focussed on what you are doing right now. You have to always be flexible. I think after 10 years in the Group I have changed in the sense that I am now very interested in what my Business Partners are doing, how they impact my job and vice versa. I want colleagues to be able to reach out to me with any questions and for them to have the ability to trust me in providing them with the best feedback. You always need to anticipate issues that may arise and find solutions to solve them. Finding common grounds for all entities to agree on and to constantly support one another is key!
I am interested in people
In the Group I have met so many people from different countries and backgrounds which has been super interesting! I love meeting new people and finding out more about their culture and telling them about mine. Life is just much more colourful when you are surrounded by various types of individuals. Coming from Paris, where most people are French, to Geneva, where people are from all over the world, has been an eye-opening experience for me.
Playing a part in the bigger picture
Richemont as a Group is very big so I find it difficult to think that I have had a direct impact on it, but I know I have had a positive impact on my team. I always try to support them on a day-to-day basis, because you can see that your help has been appreciated when you receive a call saying: “Alan, someone told me that you are the expert on this. Can you help me?”. I try not to set a limit for myself, because I know that the possibilities are endless.
Richemont connects people
I like the fact that Richemont organises frequent social gatherings for employees to come together to interact with each other and have fun! My favourite is the year-end party where you even see very senior management members dress-up. I think these kind of events are important for everyone to get to know one another and feel part of one entity.
Always strive to be a leader rather than just a boss.