Employee Tuesday – What does a Head of International Accounting & Group Reporting do?

by Marie Terhechte

Congratulations! You recently got promoted to Head of International Accounting & Group Reporting. How has your role changed and what does a typical working day look like?

Thank you 🙂 

I’m based in Lisbon but my position is global. I lead the international Accounting and Group Reporting department – and the biggest change is being a team lead. It’s also a great next step for my personal growth. I enjoy working in a team, hearing everybody’s opinion and appreciating their great work, and I believe everybody can learn from each other on a professional and personal level. I like to teach and learn from my team members simultaneously to get new ideas and fresh viewpoints. It’s a good learning circle and accelerates efficiency and creativity within the team.

I don’t have a typical working day – every day new tasks and challenges await me – but I can tell you about a few tasks. I’m in charge of the group wide consolidation, so I prepare the consolidated balance sheet, P&L and CFR for reporting purposes and our annual audit. For that we need to align closing and reporting processes of all international entities and set up their finance processes.

To ensure that everything is prepared in accordance with compliance rules, I need to understand the accounting policy in every Urban Sports Club country and prepare group policies accordingly. Additionally, I take care of intercompany reconciliation, intercompany agreements and intercompany recharges… and many, many other tasks.

You spent a semester abroad studying in Spain – tell us more about this experience!

Si! I did my Erasmus semester in Alicante, Spain. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was my first time living abroad and by the sea, and whenever I think about my Erasmus semester, it puts a smile on my face. I met so many lovely people from all over the world and made friends for life. We still visit each other’s countries.

I loved discovering Spanish culture, going to the beach, the Spanish way of life and the university experience there. It feels totally different celebrating Christmas under the palm trees in 20 degree heat. As well as my Erasmus group, I also had some Spanish friends from Alicante, so I learnt about Spanish culture from a totally different perspective.

Another great thing about Erasmus is you appreciate every minute of your day and use your time to discover new things and make new friends. This made me more open to meeting interesting people and trying new activities. I didn’t worry so much during this period. I was living for the day and totally present. Una vida con calma 🙂

My Erasmus semester made me more independent and I’ve traveled a lot since. I had the chance to move back to Spain in 2019/2020 to live in Barcelona for a couple of months and had the same amazing experience again. Now I speak Spanish fluently. 

What’s your favorite thing to do after work?

I love to go surfing, practice yoga, try new activities and explore Lisbon. But mostly I love surfing. Lisbon is surrounded by water so I can reach the waves easily.  In the water I totally switch off and focus on the waves (and not getting crushed) and I always say being in the water feels like 2 hours of meditation. As soon as I sit on my surfboard and look for good waves, my thoughts stand still and my mind inevitably comes to rest.

No matter how drained, frustrated or sad I may have been before, after a few hours in the water, all is well again. The magic moment of riding a wave, immediately fills you with fresh courage and self confidence. After a good surf session I have a big smile on my face and feel totally relaxed. Afterwards I feel energized – even if my body is tired from paddling.

It’s the perfect life lesson. Before great happiness comes doubt and fear. If you overcome that, you will be rewarded!

It’s fascinating to connect with nature; to learn how to read the waves and understand the ocean and meet and connect with interesting people in the water. Plus you’re doing something good for your body because surfing is a full-body workout! So it gives me a great work(out)-life balance.

Which of our company values has the greatest impact on your life?

“Surf on the wave of change.” Not because I like surfing, but because change shouldn’t be viewed as negative. Change often provides beautiful opportunities; you just need to keep an eye out for them. The first obstacle to overcome is acceptance which can feel very hard. But being open and trying new things has led me to many unexpected things, and I’m happy about it.

COVID taught us to be more flexible and find pragmatic solutions. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, hybrid work was a strange concept, but now we understand the positives. We work more efficiently and our personal and professional lives are now more fluid and flexible. 

Our days don’t always go as planned. But we shouldn’t hold onto the old work structure; we should be open to trying new solutions to find more efficient ways of working in the long term and be more flexible with our priorities and finding solutions for challenges. 

If we fall from a wave, we have to stand up and try again. Very often you’ll look back and realize you’re glad you rode all these waves. Some things you can not change, so don’t complain or hold on to things. Save your energy for new experiences – just go with the flow and glow.

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