Stefan Boenders - VP Controlling - DKSH

As someone who has had extensive experience within the Swiss market-place, how have you found the Swiss market & working environment has changed over these years?

I think you can view the changes in two different categories – technical requirements and personality profiles.

From a technical point of view, over the last 20 years, we have seen the role of a finance professional change to move away from the traditional “number cruncher”. This change can been seen not only in Switzerland, but in the majority of markets globally. We live in an environment which demands accurate information and better quality reports in a fast and efficient manner.  As an accountant, you can no longer be proud of simply producing numbers as we have technology to enhance this for us now. You have to be clever in analysing the data and turning this into information to drive the business forward.  15-20 years ago it used to be acceptable to close accounts in 14 days. In the current day and age, accounts can be closed in 7 days due to technological advances. The role of the senior finance professional is to keep driving these changes for continued advancement.

From a personality perspective, I have seen change mainly over the last 5-10 years in the Swiss market. With a more multicultural market place, you have additional qualifications and backgrounds to consider. People have more varied personal drivers, and may decide to study MBA or CIMA for example. Essentially though, the key is have they got the intelligence to do the job. Qualifications don’t necessarily add direct value but they can help give a good over-view of the person’s knowledge of finance and business administration.

What, in your opinion, have been the drivers for these changes?

Essentially improvements in technology - information being readily available with just a few clicks of a button. This is true for technical accounting, but also for personality profiling, with the introduction on on-line testing via HR, long distance learning for MBAs/Accounting qualifications, and CV building.

However, I still believe what you learn by doing the job is unbeatable. The 70/20/10 rule is something I still believe is a good model for personal development (70% practical experience, 20% learning from Manager, 10% education)

We saw Switzerland's economy failed to grow in the second quarter of the year (2014), what do you think are the major challenges that lie ahead for Switzerland’s growth?

Over the next 5 years, innovation is going to be key to the success of the Swiss market.  Utilising innovation to reduce costs similar to the economic model of Germany.Switzerland shouldn’t restrict the market place to qualified relocators – this is a key to the success of the Swiss market.

We see that DKSH seems to be going against the market trend and continues to grow with recent partnerships including BASF, Roche and DSM – can you identify how DKSH stands out from the market/competitors?

DKSH focuses on Asia and is well positioned in South East Asia. Some of the core markets are Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

The growing Asian middle class will drive the demand for consumer goods and healthcare. These are the core industries where DKSH has a leading position and can benefit.

Less than 5% of business comes from Europe.  We have a unique business model.  2 of our core markets are healthcare and consumer goods that will continue to grow in the future for sure, and I would expect double digit growth provided external market conditions remain favorable.  DKSH are able to provide Swiss quality services into the Asian market.  The office location in Zurich is also pertinent given its close proximity to companies such as Roche and DSM who are some of our major clients.

Looking back through your established career, what would you identify as a personal highlight?

I have worked in some very dynamic organizations going through a variety of change processes, including HP, Compaq and Nobel Biocare. 2 major highlights however would be having the experience to add value to the IPO at DKSH and the merger between Compaq and HP. Both were truly unique experiences that I learnt a lot from.

Finally, if you could give advice to a financial professional starting out in their career in Switzerland, what would that be?

When you are considering opportunities, you should prioritise your choice of role based on the company and the Manager you will work for.  In the early stages of your career, you need a company and a Manager that will help you to learn and develop, and invest time into you to make you the best you can be. The level of the role and the salary should be secondary to these in your choice.  Don’t think about the position too much. You want to build a strong foundation to your career, and leaving your first role after a short period can be very damaging to your confidence and employability in the future.  Is the Manager someone you can trust?  Does he have the power to accelerate your career?  Can the company give you exposure to different areas of the finance skill-set?  I started my career at Unilever and had great mentors as well as good rotation across the finance discipline.

 

*Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the Interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment.*

 
Show All Other Interviews

in or Register for an account today. With an EMEA account you can apply for jobs, save your searches and view your application history.

Testimonials

"Michelle, I wanted to thank you for all your help throughout the entire process and the way you...


"If you are looking for a job, or as an employer looking to fill a vacancy, Hannah is the best...


"My experience of working with Hannah was exceptional. From our initial contact untill successful...


"I have been in contact with Sarah-Louise a few times regarding interesting and challenging...


"Sarah, For me and I am sure for other ZZP-ers you are one of the best recruiters have worked...


"My temporary work contract with Dolby expired on December 10, 2018 and I wanted to continue with...


"From the first contact I had with EMEA I have been impressed by the professionalism of everyone...


"Emma, I would like to thank you very much for your efforts during my recruitment...


"I can only say good things about my experience with Michelle: - she is a hands-on, hard-work...


"The best way to recommend Hannah, other than confirming her talent and professionality, is to...


"I feel compelled to recommend Hannah and her team at EMEA did a great job in finding a new...


"Emma and the team at EMEA Recruitment were absolutely professional, friendly and helpful in each...


"I’m grateful to have worked with Emma in this recruitment journey, certainly her understanding...


"I have talked to several recruiters and recruiting agencies recently, but never met anything...


"I am very pleased to have worked with Hannah Mallia, and can highly recommend her for providing...


"I got to meet John when I was looking for a new professional challenge.
I have been meeting...


"Overall it has been a great experience working with Emma and I am very happy about the way...


"Elizabeth is a great person to communicate with. She really helped me in finding the next step...


"I am very pleased with your professional approach.
Even though I only know you for a couple...


"Hannah is very professional and responsive. She is keen in updating the prospective candidates...


"As a newly arrived professional in the Netherlands searching for new challenges, Elizabeth has...


"Hannah was really helpful in my search for a new role. She spared no efforts to look for...


"I highly recommend Georgia! She was fully dedicated all along the recruiting process. What I...


"My experience with Leon from a candidates perspective has been a real pleasure. His regular...


"I can truly and highly recommend Hannah for her great enthusiasm, punctuality, tremendous help...


"Hannah is a true professional recruiter. She has not only an excellent knowledge of the...


"I’ve had a pleasure of working with Hannah as a candidate looking for a new opportunity....


"What I enjoyed the most about Hannah is her committed search to find you the right fit. Not just...


"Ben was the person responsible for finding a great opportunity for me. He immediately understood...


"Its a pleasure to recommend Hannah, she is professional and honest in her work.
I was able...


"Working with Georgia, was the best experience that I’ve ever had in the whole process of...


"In rare moments of my professional life have I been in contact with someone as professional,...


"I’m very pleased to recommend Hannah as a recruiter to work with. She is very talented really...


"Working with Georgia is a pleasure and a lesson too.
She is professional and the same time...


"I’ve had the pleasure of working with Georgia Wright several months ago.
I’ve been...


"It is my absolute pleasure to recommend Hannah to anyone who is thinking about a career move. I...


"Leon and the team at EMEA Recruiting handled my application with a dedication I have rarely...


"Hannah is an outstanding recruiter. She was a fantastic guide through my recruitment process and...


"From the first point of contact until getting the contract signed, I knew Emma as very...


"Georgia is a professional, enthusiastic person, able to create strong and long term relationship...


“I was 200% happy about the service Emma provided. I take that opportunity to thank you...


"Hannah is a very professional recruiter. The candidates she presented were a very good match...


"Hannah was the most professional recruiter that I've worked with thus far. She helped me with my...


"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michelle for the valuable assistance...


"Hannah is fantastic at her job. She helped me to find my first job in Amsterdam. From the first...


"Michelle is a great super positive person, with nice and gentle communication style, very...


"John Byrne at EMEA Recruitment in Switzerland was outstanding in his professionalism, whilst...


"It was really a pleasure working together with Georgia Wright in order to find out a good job...


“Jenny and Elizabeth displayed professionalism and effectiveness right from the first call....


"Hannah was a great help for me to find my next role in Amsterdam. She was always available for...


"Throughout my career, I have worked with several recruitment agencies but EMEA recruitment- and...


"In the summer 2017 I was sure about my next career movement and what I will be doing in the...


"I am very pleased with the collaboration I had with Georgia Wright to land an exciting...


"My experience of working with John was exceptional. From initial contact until he successfully...


"Jenny Callum is a brilliant and professional recruiter I happily met in my life. Having solid...


"I have been thinking a lot of our cooperation and I didn't find any part which should be changed...


"Meriel made the process of applying for the role simple from start to finish, and helped make an...


"I cannot praise or thank Meriel enough for the support she gave me in finding a new role in...


" I would like to thank Michelle for her full support and dedication each step of the way during...


"Jenny Callum should definitely become employee of the year! A true professional in her...


"I would like to extend my gratitude to Jenny Callum for her guidance and preparation in the...


"I want to thank Michelle for her great support and help during my Job hunt, she really is...


“Michelle Ewing is an excellent professional. She guided me through the entire process by...


“I am very grateful for Michelle’s hard work and support throughout the process. From the...


“It was a pleasure working with Michelle. Besides the fact that she is a very nice person she...


"Over the past years I have been in contact with several different recruiters in Switzerland...


"Hannah is one of the best recruiters that I have ever come across. She is a great professional,...


"I got to know Paul and his team as a candidate. What could otherwise have been a stressful...


"I worked with Hannah recently and respect the timely and professional manner in how...


"Of course, I can recommend Hannah, she is one of the few consultants who is capable of...


"I was lucky enough to encounter Hannah in my search for a new role. Hannah's advice and...


"I worked with Richard recently as a candidate. He was extremely professional and provided...


"I worked with Hannah and she is a fantastic recruitment consultant. She was always happy to help...


"My recent experience with Paul on my recruitment process was a real difference compared to any...


"Football is simple...but it´s difficult to play simple football” - Johan Cruyff

How to...


"Michelle has been a fantastic help in finding my new role in Switzerland. Our calls and meetings...


"John is an excellent Recruitment Manager. He is extremely professional and always available to...


"I've worked with Paul both as a client as well as a candidate. As a client he worked tirelessly...


"I want to take the opportunity to thank Michelle and Sian for helping me during my period...


"Having not been actively seeking job opportunities in the past 10 years while working for a US...


"I have worked with Paul and his team recently as a candidate, and I received an exceptional and...


"Thanks John for helping find my career path in recycling. After 33 years in coal mining, I...


"I recently worked with Michelle to find a new position and it was a real success. Michelle got...


"Hannah recruited me for a new finance role during last month. The customer service experience...


"When the recruitment process started, one person from EMEA was assigned as my contact person. It...


"Michelle is an extremely professional, dedicated, experienced and helpful recruiter. She has...


 "I was looking for the next step forward in my career, and I found John to be a supportive,...


"I am very happy to share my topline regarding John. He is the most involved recruitment manager...


"I want to personally thank Izabela for having contacted me some months ago and enabling the...


"All in all, the recruitment process was very well coordinated. Hannah always provided the...


Paul handled my transition to my current position as Senior Director European Tax with Electronic...


Paul is an extremely professional, well-organized, and hard-working leader of his recruitment...


"My experience of working with Paul was exceptional. From initial contact until he...


"I want to thank Paul for all his support, professionalism and advice during the recruitment...


"I am really thankfull for Michelle's coaching and dedication and especially for her energy...


"I can warmly recommend Paul and EMEA Recruitment to anyone who wants to collaborate with a...


"John has tons of valuable information to share and is exceptionally committed to finding the...


"Michelle is a dynamic, not-for-profit recruitment professional taking on a big, new challenge in...


"I just wanted to thank Michelle for all her efforts and help during the job application and...


"It is with great pleasure that l take this opportunity to recommend Paul and his team. I...


"Michelle is eager to understand both the candidate's and customer's needs very well. I felt very...


"In my experience John Byrne provided me with the most professional consultancy I have had...


Richard is an excellent recruitment professional, and was responsible for finding me a placement...


"John provided first class support both during the interview process (I walked into that...


"John goes the extra mile to make sure the candidate and the recruiting company fit. Very...


"Paul is a great recruiting professional. He definitely helped me moving forward with my...


"Paul and his team have been an excellent support to our In-house Recruitment Team. They have...


"Meriel supported our recruitment for our Finance department. Meriel has been very effective...


"EMEA Recruitment, and Michelle in particular, was extremely professional in assisting me through...


"Paul was highly professional when dealing with him throughout my recruitment process. He ensured...


"Michelle proactively approached me for a job opportunity in the field I was working at the time....


"Michelle is a very professional person with strong work ethics. So she helped me to easily find...


"Michelle provided me with a very helpful career consultation and she put me in contact with...


"I would really recommend Meriel to assist anyone in finding a new job because of being...


"I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle Ewing to secure my next role. Michelle had a...


"I was very pleased with all the help I received with the process with EMEA. As someone who had...


"I can recommend Hannah because she helped me a lot with getting a new job. I was actually forced...


"It's been a great pleasure to work with Michelle as a candidate. I've particularly come to value...


"I was impressed with every step in the process, particularly with the meticulous preparation and...


"I had the pleasure of working with Hannah recently. She has the unique ability to adapt her deep...


"Michelle is an outstanding Recruitment Consultant, she was quickly able to decipher the key...


"Michelle positively differentiated herself from all other headhunters. Firstly by obtaining a...


"Hannah is a very experienced and knowledgeble HR specialist. She was very supportive and helpful...


"I really appreciate the contact with EMEA Recruitment and it is a great pleasure to recommend...


"Hannah is an excellent recruitment professional. In fact, the key aspect for me was her...


"I had the opportunity of working with Hannah during my career transition from Audit to...


"In my role as a candidate, Paul and his colleagues provided valuable coaching advice and...


"I worked with Meriel as she assisted me in a recruitment process, providing one of the best...


"Hannah was very helpful and found me a role that matches my experience, knowledge and my wishes...


"Hannah is by far the best recruiter I dealt with while trying to secure a role in Amsterdam...


"Hannah is an excellent professional. She successfully helped me with the next step in my career,...


Paul really listened and took on board everything I said, he gave a lot of sensible advice which...


Working with Paul was a great experience every step of the way. He made sure that I was well...


Paul is very dedicated in his work, he is gifted in both client and candidate partnering. From my...


I was approached by Richard regarding a specific opportunity with a business he was representing....


Paul was one the best headhunter I've worked with. He knew his clients really well. He would...


I got in contact with Paul and his company during an executive recruiting project. At the end of...


I work with Kelly who presented me several opportunities and helped me pro-actively in my job...


"Kelly has served me throughout late 2010 and early 2011 in targeting and obtaining interviews...


"Kelly of EMEA Recruitment contacted me regarding a Job opportunity within the same field as one...