What number crunchers and financial heroines see behind the numbers
Interviewing two members of the finance department who refuse to match the stereotype
The thought of analysing figures and tables in a structured manner and carefully checking cash inflows and outflows makes many people shudder. However, if we all had that attitude, it would be hard to avoid descending into chaos. That is why people like Xenia Reiter and Markus Dilly are so important. They both work in the finance department at imc Saarbrücken, and offer us an insight into their work and different areas of responsibility. They share what makes their role so attractive to them.
Job | Accountant
Working in | Saarbruecken, Germany
Worked at imc since | 2019
Super power | cheerful and willing to help
Favourite food | Pelimeni (Russian speciality, filled dumplings)
Job | Head of Controlling
Working in | Saarbruecken, Germany
Worked at imc since | 2012
Super power | Reliability
Favourite food | Pizza & Burger
Hello, you two! I am so happy you could find the time! Tell us about yourselves and your tasks.
Xenia: I have been part of the Accounting team at imc since 2019. I am responsible for all accounting matters of the company in Switzerland, the UK and Singapore. That includes all the tasks in connection with the monthly and annual financial statements, as well as the advance VAT returns in each country.
Markus: I started as a working student in Controlling in 2012, and took on a permanent role in 2015. I recently started leading a small team comprising our two trainees, our working student and a junior controller. I am also responsible for international invoicing and procurement management, and admin the Projectfacts system we use as a time recording and invoicing tool and to record holidays. Sales enquiries and client projects also come together in Controlling. On top of that, I support our line manager Peter in the preparation of monthly and annual financial statements.
Let’s get a bit more specific. What does your daily work look like?
Xenia: Like in any accounting role, I check lots of receipts and supporting documents. I am also responsible for the salaries in “my” countries, check and post bank statements, credit card statements, cash advances and so forth. While that might sound a bit monotonous at first glance, I look at it like this: The figures illustrate the interrelationships and reflect corporate actions. My job is to check if everything matches up, specifications are complied with and question transactions if necessary. Even though the work flow is always the same, it is important to check it each time and pay attention
Markus: There is no such thing as a typical day at work for me. I have no big project to keep working on, but many different tasks. Some tasks come in almost on a daily basis – giving new colleagues access to certain systems, assigning order numbers or creating new contracts or projects in our systems.
I am also often in contact with Sales, and we check things like contracts or quotations together, highlight particularities and check if the order value is adequate for the scope of the order. As the process from order creation through invoicing to booking the invoice in SAP is supported by various systems, coordination with my colleagues is very important.
Did you always know you wanted to work with numbers?
Xenia: Yes, absolutely. I always wanted to work in accounting. I really enjoy it. I like numbers and what is hidden behind them. We also have a great team, collaborate in great harmony and always support each other. I am really comfortable here. I also handle all financial matters at home, and am in charge of accounting for the martial arts club I run together with my husband.
Markus: I suppose. I always knew that I am good with numbers and would study something in that area. But if you asked me for my dream job, I’d probably go off in a different direction – like games journalist or games designer. However, I am realistic and was very aware of my strengths and weaknesses at a young age. I know my way around the figures, I always enjoyed it to play with numbers, so my business degree was an obvious choice. And since imc is also involved in gamification, I did find my place!
Let’s talk traineeships: Markus, you said you first came to imc as a working student. How did that work?
Markus: Yes, I first did my Bachelor in Technical Business Management in Zweibrücken, and then embarked on a Master’s with a Finance major at Saarland University. While studying for my Master’s, I visited an on-campus job fair and started talking to Scheer GmbH. Back then, they had no vacancies for student jobs, but they were nice enough to forward my application to imc. So I joined imc in a roundabout way – and stayed.
Like Scheer GmbH and several other companies, imc AG belongs to the innovation network of Scheer Holding. Prof. Dr. August-Wilhelm Scheer is Managing Director of Scheer Holding, Founder and Chairman of imc's Supervisory Board.
Xenia, your application process was a bit unusual. What was special about it?
Xenia: I left another job to join imc, and was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the recruitment process. Back then, I called Melanie in HR to clarify a couple of questions I had about the vacancy. I then emailed my application, and two days later, I attended a job interview with Melanie and our line manager Peter. The following day, I already received my job offer.
On a scale of 1-10, how well did your vocational training prepare you for your current role?
Xenia: Looking at the business degree itself, I’d say an 8. I gained an excellent overview and was introduced to many topics. Practical things, like how to structure a balance sheet or what sound accounting practice entails – I use that every day. I still remember that one of my first lectures was on this topic, and I loved it. Even though I had some difficulties with debits and credits in the beginning, it was all logical once I got my head around it.
We also learned to develop some sensitivity towards certain issues, and were shown practical examples to highlight potential stumbling blocks.
Of course, a lot is learned on the job. Every company will have different requirements for line managers, workflows and practical applications. All you can do is pick it up as time goes by.
Markus: No more than a 6. I would say that studying is more about teaching yourself and learning to be self-disciplined. Of course, you gain specialist knowledge and learn the terminology, but there are stark differences in how that is applied in different companies. University only scratches the surface. You really only delve into it on the job.
What do you appreciate most about each other?
Xenia: Markus is always positive. No matter what issue you ask him about or report to him, he always has a solution and never leaves you hanging with your unanswered questions. You can always rely on him. He knows his stuff and never gets flustered, even in stressful situations.
Markus: There is this stereotype of finance people hiding away in some dark chamber, refusing to talk to anyone and seeing nothing but their figures. In our department, you won’t find any of that. We have a great atmosphere. Xenia is a particularly cheerful and happy person and always willing to help. Her expertise is very broad and she is always willing to listen. It’s great fun working with her!
OK. Now I have some random questions for each of you. Markus, what characteristics or skills are particularly important in your job?
Markus: You should be precise and – maybe even obsessively – pay attention to detail. You need to be reliable and love numbers. Strong perseverance is never amiss, either.
What's your favourite way to start your day, Xenia?
Xenia: Open the windows and have a coffee! I’m usually the first one up, and like to enjoy the tranquillity for a while in the morning before my family wakes up.
Markus, what's your favourite movie?
Markus: Great question – I love movies! In general, I totally dig Tarantino films, but if I have to pick my two favourite movies, it has to be Pulp Fiction and Fight Club.
Xenia, which imc office would you like to visit?
Xenia: I imagine Singapore must be beautiful. Having said that, I would also like to go to Switzerland. That would be a great contrast. London should also be quite interesting.
Markus, your top 3 hashtags for the imc?
#creative #learning #empowerMe
A final question for Xenia: Who is your best-dressed colleague?
Xenia: That’s difficult to say in these times when you rarely see each other in the office. But Kerstin from Marketing always looks rather neat.
Thank you very much to both of you and all the best for your future!
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I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.
Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.
"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.
To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.
Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.