Flying Dutchman – from Barcelona to Monheim
I am Pieter Niemeijer, an Accounting Business Partner for Crop Science and Animal Health, and I would like to start off by looking at three questions:
“WHY DID I CHOOSE TO STUDY?” This was a question I asked myself regularly during my studies in Economics in Groningen (NL) and Leuven (BE). At Bayer, you need the analytical skills gained from studying economics and they will open up great opportunities for you.
“WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?” We all know that the world of theory is different from world, so during your studies it might be difficult to find out what you would like to do. At Bayer, we care about people being happy with their job.
“ONE MORE DRINK OR ONE MORE HOUR STUDYING?” Time management is essential. This is where the wheat get separated from the chaff. At Bayer, focus pays off, but it is definitely also important to maintain a good work-life balance and develop your social skills.
GREAT WORK-LIFE BALANCE
During the hot summer of 2014, I attended a banking & finance summer school at Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. When I discovered I could combine Barcelona’s outstanding way of life with work at a life-changing company like Bayer, I was sold.
After the Bayer assessment center, I started out in the Shared Service Center Barcelona, which was established more than 15 years ago. I held three different positions there, with my last role being the Source-2-Pay Team Lead for Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. Source-2-Pay deals with paying invoices, so key partners here are the Procurement department and Bayer suppliers. But it also involves booking costs where the partner is accounting. This is what led me to pursue my interest in accounting further.
THINK BIG AND NOW BIGGER…
Since June 2018 I have been happily working as an Accounting Business Partner, dealing with Crop Science Accounting topics for the EMEA and APAC regions. We evaluate complex Accounting topics and drive forward the decision-making process. At Bayer Crop Science and Animal Health, we recorded sales of almost €12 billion and a profit margin of 13.8 percent in 2017. These big numbers demonstrate that Accounting topics have a significant impact. It is therefore important to collaborate with the business, understand its needs and work together to reach our common goal of achieving “Science for a better LIFE.”
THE ADDED VALUE OF ACCOUNTING
The Bayer statement “Together we have the power to change – every day” really speaks to me, and I think it all boils down to trust, which is one of our focus behaviors. Trust forms the foundations for strong collaboration and we need to gain the trust of our customers and society in order to continue helping them. I strongly believe in this and I enjoy my work in this respect.
The €54 billion Monsanto deal means that we are currently working on the financial treatment of this significantly large M&A activity. Although this is a big project, everybody in Crop Science and Accounting is friendly and taking the time to explain their role in the company to me. My manager Marcus Auweiler is helping me to put things in perspective and encouraging me to understand our core business, meet the stakeholders and understand their problems.
All this is important for my role in order to become a trusted accounting advisor for the business. I presently face three challenges. First of all, I have switched to a different country and therefore to a different culture. Secondly, I have swapped my Shared Service Centre perspective for a corporate view. Last but not least, I have changed from following the Source-2-pay process to being part of the Accounting network. So far, I have worked on a business model change and reviewed million-euro contracts to diminish accounting risks. I am also responsible for analyzing deviations to ensure accurate accounting data, crop fund reporting, and knowledge management.
WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT UNIVERSITY
I have learned about things that they don’t teach you at university such as stakeholder management, personal development and, perhaps even more important for Bayer as a life-changing company, how to challenge the status quo.
Anything is possible at a truly diverse and international major company like Bayer, but you are ultimately responsible for your own development. Self-discipline is key. If you want something, work for it and you will achieve your objective.
HOW TO GET HIRED BY BAYER…
BE CURIOUS! Start off by understanding yourself. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses and what you want AND like makes it easier to reach your goals. Secondly, be yourself, people respect and enjoy working with people who are genuine. At Bayer, feedback is important to judge whether you are doing what’s expected of you and to continue progressing – so if you want to know more about working at Bayer, feel free to contact me: LinkedIn.
This post is also available in: German