My Career: New business was my ‘pandemic baby’

Evelyne Legaux - Founder and Managing Director at Finance OTC Consulting Ltd
My Career: New business was my ‘pandemic baby’

Evelyne Legaux

Evelyne Legaux features in our My Career feature in Women on Wednesday (WoW!)

Name: Evelyne Legaux

Lives: Ovens, Co. Cork

Job title: Founder & Managing Director at Finance OTC Consulting Ltd

Salary bracket: Senior Manager to Director equivalent

Education background: Master Degree in International Economics & Trade - Paris I University + Masters Degree in Finance Management & Strategy - Arts & Metiers (CNAM) Paris

Hobbies: Argentine tango, salsa and jive dancing, yoga, hillwalking, cultural & artistic events, world news & geopolitics, reading, world travels aimed at discovering different ways of life and cultures.

Describe your job in five words: Finance Order to Cash Consultant.

Describe yourself in five words: Experienced professional, Thought-leader, Transformational vision.

Personality needed for this kind of work?

To succeed as a small business owner, you need to:

  • be a self-starter with an entrepreneurial mindset
  • have leadership skills with a clear vision of what your contribution to this world is meant to be
  • be curious and willing to learn every single day
  • be a social ‘animal’, as building a supportive network around you is critical
  • be resilient and prepared to let go of any setbacks.
  • have an open-mind towards new opportunities coming your way, and be ready to take on a different route than the originally intended one.

Being a business owner is first and foremost a journey that takes you through a whole new world of possibilities and human connections, that you most likely never imagined before. It is therefore essential to enjoy every step of the way and not obsess about the final destination.

How long are you doing this job? I launched my consultancy business back in March, 2020, so coming to its two year anniversary now. I call it my “pandemic baby”!

How did you get this job? This is a long story... I started my career as Treasury Analyst in a French company in Paris. Four years later, I joined my first MNC to manage Treasury & Credit Control for their French operations.

After the merger with another MNC, my role expanded to manage Treasury, Accounts Receivable & Credit Control across all French entities. Later on, I was offered the opportunity to move to Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne region to manage Customer Services for one of their divisions and transfer related Credit Control activities from Paris.

A couple of years later, an opportunity arose for me to move to Cork and contribute to building a brand new European Finance Shared Services Centre from scratch, leading the Accounts Receivable function initially, then managing various projects inclusive of integrating a new business acquisition.

After my initial three years in Cork, I moved to Dublin to join another MNC as EMEA Credit and Collections Manager for their hardware business stream. In this role, I experienced managing an outsourced vendor as opposed to managing my own internal team.

After a couple of years, I decided to move back to Cork to join my third MNC in a similar capacity - EMEA Credit and Collections Manager. My initial mission there was to re-engineer the entire function to bring it to world-class level and develop the team to become valued business partners.

My role subsequently expanded to include Asia-Pacific as well, then ultimately became truly global. One key achievement was to negotiate and manage a successful trade credit insurance program for the company worldwide.

After nine years working for that company, I moved on to join my fourth and latest MNC, to lead the set up and development of a brand new Finance Centre as Order to Cash Manager for EMEA and North America. This role was also an opportunity for me to lead the integration of a subsequent business acquisition and the separation of another division. The complex business transformation journey that the company had been through ultimately led to the launch of a strategic Business Process Modernization program where I held the Global Lead, Finance Order to Cash position. In this role, my mission was to design the future-state Finance Order to Cash global business processes and build the to-be S/4 HANA version of SAP.

So, to make a long story short, with 25+ years Finance Management experience in the MNC world across various industries and operating models, I bring niche expertise in both Operational and Transformation management of the Finance Order to Cash function.

A couple of years ago, I developed a strong desire to approach work differently with more freedom and variety in what I do. I therefore decided to leverage my expertise and work as an independent consultant. In this current capacity, my mission is to help B2B businesses grow and thrive, keep on nurturing my own knowledge, and contribute to elevating the standards in the credit profession.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? To be a Finance Consultant specialising in the Order to Cash functional area, you need a strong relevant professional background in Finance. While being a qualified Accountant is not a requirement as such, the bringing of solid trade Receivables, cash Collections and Credit risk management experience in the corporate or banking world is a MUST! Strong business acumen, excellent communication and ability to work at all organisational levels are also essential skills to succeed in a function that is customer-facing and plays a key pivotal role within the business organisation. Additionally, with the many different aspects involved in owning a business, the completion of a ‘Launch your own business’ type-course comes highly recommended to get started.

Describe a day at work: Unless I have an earlier commitment, I would typically start my workday at 9am with checking my email inbox and latest news on social media.

My priority then always is to work on whatever client assignments I have secured. My schedule though may include webinars, networking events, training sessions or meetings with business partners as well.

I also dedicate some time every week to nurturing and growing my professional network on social media and through networking, with a view to establishing my credibility on the market, building trust, positioning myself as a thought-leader and ultimately converting more leads into clients.

As for the technical side of my job as a consultant, I could be working with an SME business that needs help to design and implement a Credit management policy, develop a Credit scoring model, improve their Order to Cash business processes, or else needs advice on Credit risk mitigation tools and strategies, for instance.

I also help businesses of all sizes harness Digital and Intelligent Automation solutions through an ecosystem of business partnerships.

Everything I do aims at helping businesses become crisis resilient by protecting and accelerating Cash Flow generation while operating more efficiently.

Lastly, I work with larger companies and MNCs by supporting whatever Finance Transformation projects are on their roadmap and require external resources and expertise on a temporary basis. I usually end my day by checking the latest news on social media again.

And most importantly, I never forget to go out for a 20 minute walk during the day, unless rain is lashing...

How many hours do you work a week? On average, I work nine a day or 45 a week.

Is your job stressful? My own experience so far is that working as an independent consultant is a lot less stressful than holding a global management position in the corporate world. Irrespective of what you do, stress is not inherent to the technical side of the job itself, but to dealing with other people and pressure. Being an independent consultant brings a lot of flexibility to work around that.

This said, it can be overwhelming at times because being a business owner means multi-tasking: sales, marketing, social media, networking, IT, legal, finance... everything rests on your shoulders. Key here is to be very organised and able to prioritise, but also to ask for help or outsource as/when needed. You also need to set boundaries and dedicate time to look after yourself every week. This is paramount.

Best bits: I love the entrepreneurial journey altogether! Over the past two years, I have immersed myself into a new world I never suspected before.

The freedom of being my own boss and deciding when I work, what I do, and who I work with, the limitless learning opportunities both in terms of the many different aspects of running a business and in terms of keeping up to date with the latest trends in my profession, which is essential to positioning myself as a thought-leader, the ability to leverage my own knowledge and skills to help others, be it through working with clients, posting value-add blogs or speaking opportunities at webinars, webcasts or curated panels; last but not least, the wealth and quality of new human connections on offer through networking, business support groups, mentoring or professional events.

Worst bits: Starting your own business can be a bumpy road, therefore you are not guaranteed a particular level of income that would exceed or even offset your expenses. Working as an independent consultant can also feel a lonely experience at times, especially in a pandemic. So, you need to be resilient and surround yourself with good people.

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