In conversation with Andreas Heisterhoff, SVP Accounting – Faces of Gigaset23. June 2023 Published by Nina Goebbels
The man for figures and people: As Senior Vice President Accounting, Andreas Heisterhoff is not only responsible for all the accounting at Gigaset but also for managing numerous employees. In our interview, he reveals what he thinks makes a good manager.
Tell us a bit about what you do at Gigaset.
In my role as SVP Accounting, I am responsible for external accounting. That essentially covers preparing consolidated and individual financial statements, and subledger accounting (accounts receivable, accounts payable, and fixed asset accounting).
What are the biggest challenges you face in this function?
The biggest challenges, on the one hand, are implementing new regulatory requirements (e.g. application of new IFRS standards, introduction of ESEF). We at Gigaset, as a listed company, are especially affected by that. On the other, entrepreneurial decisions lead to the need for adjustment in accounting procedures and the general assessment of the accounting implications.
What do colleagues in the industry find unique or cool about your job?
Our task is to map all the business activities within a group on the balance sheet in accordance with the applicable accounting rules. To that end, individual procedural sub-steps are condensed into complete consolidated financial statements. This report is published every quarter and forms the basis for providing the capital market with valid financial information.
What made you decide to work at Gigaset?
Gigaset is a listed company with complex accounting issues. This challenging and extensive area of responsibility gives me the opportunity to constantly be able to familiarize myself with new topics. At the same time, as a medium-sized company, Gigaset is of a manageable size and offers a pleasant work environment in which I simply feel at ease. I love the fact that I can successfully implement projects here with competent colleagues.
What qualities do you believe are crucial for today’s managers, especially after a pandemic?
The pandemic gave mobile working a significant boost. For managers, it is very important to maintain contact with employees, even with decreasing on-site presence. In addition, in view of the uncertainty of triggering events like a pandemic, it’s important for managers to communicate challenges transparently and clearly to employees. There will be virtual leadership on a wider scale after the pandemic, offering a further opportunity for interaction alongside being present at the office. After the experiences of the pandemic and the uncertainties associated with it, open and targeted communication is needed even more than before the pandemic.
What qualities do you believe are crucial for today’s managers for them to remain relevant and effective?
Managers increasingly assume to the role of a moderator in order to develop solutions together with the team. It’s vitally important in that to recognize and foster the employees’ potential. A manager must be authentic and stand for reliability.
In the various teams that you lead, you are responsible for a large number of employees. How do you manage to lead and motivate on that kind of scale?
It’s difficult to lead individually with large numbers of people. Leadership is then exercised through the next levels of management that are in direct communication with their teams. It’s therefore important to have a good basis of trust with the managers in your own area of responsibility. As required, leadership in direct communication with the teams or individual employees is practiced, accompanied by division meetings as a further leadership tool.
How do you manage to create a solid base of managers you trust? What do you look for when hiring someone?
The necessary personal and professional skills are the decisive factors for belonging to a solid base of managers. Trust is built up over time, once you have got to know each other in different work situations. When recruiting staff, expertise and the right personality in equal measure are the determining factors. They need to fit into the team as a person since the teamwork may otherwise suffer as a result. Specialist know-how that’s lacking can be gained through individual initiative or training.
So those are the qualities you look for. Now the other side of the coin: What are warning signs that make you think someone isn’t suitable?
The first signs are when someone in an interview shows no motivation for the position in question, or doesn’t radiate any enthusiasm for the future assignment.
What advice would you give your younger self – or a young person just starting out in the technology industry?
The technology industry is subject to a rapid speed of change. The willingness to accompany this development and be open to new things are key requirements if you want to work in this field. You are given the opportunity to be able to help shape this exciting technological progress.