“With a finance mindset, you like solving problems step by step,” says Tomasz.
“I feel that I embrace enough courage, experience and self-awareness that I can approach any kind of challenge and work out a solution.
A problem solver
“Everything can be solved.”
Tomasz, who began his career in accounting, quickly found this passion for problem-solving after a few years working at a Polish petrochemical company.
“I realised that the things I really liked were all related to the architecture of accounting, all the analytics and the IT stuff,” says Tomasz.
“I was moving my mindset to this finance role, with the accounting background as a solid foundation. But it was much more important for me to see a bigger picture and how it relates to the real business.”
Five years later, Tomasz was working at a US owned company in Krakow, Poland, as an accountant. But after several months, there was a position of CFO opening up.
“I was not ready for that, but I got big support from the entire group and it was a real turning point in my career,” says Tomasz. Within this role, he received mentoring from the US-based CFO of the company.
“It was the best experience,” says Tomasz, who still counts this CFO as a friend 15 years later.
After this, Tomasz’s responsibilities grew, and he eventually became a CFO and member of the board at the business. This situation had a significant impact across Tomasz’s career, he says.
“All of my experiences have shaped me, but I understood that this – getting this mentoring at this point in my career – was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he says.
“First of all, this CFO was a very good specialist in what he was doing, but he was also a very good man.”
Excited to move fast
More recently, Tomasz worked for several start-ups, such as in his current role as CFO of Archdesk, a UK-owned software company for contractors.
“I feel very excited about building something new within the next few months. We’re currently building a team and I think it’s one of the best startups. I’m excited to do my part in it,” says Tomasz.
What he enjoys about working with startups is the pace the businesses move at, as well as the scope of the role.
“The decision-making within startups is very fast.”
“I’m responsible for the Group Finance. I deal with budgeting, finance, corporate finance, all the relations with the investors, all the largest products in terms of operation,” he says.
“I think the finance role is really well connected with the operations – it’s not the COO role, but a lot of things in operations are very influential on the CFO job. So, I take part in daily management.”
Tomasz also loves the ability to use IT within the finance space – especially in tech-based startups.
“For the last 10 years I’ve worked with technology companies, and this gives me a really good ability to communicate with the tech teams,” he says.
“I love using my IT skills to solve finance problems, and I’ve had some experience with programming.”
“If the founder of the company is a programmer, then using the same language, I know how to hear him with the business and its accounting, with all the things he struggles with, so he can have a direct focus on the business.”
Tomasz has always sought new ‘problems’ to solve throughout his career, and puts himself in situations where he can be thoroughly involved in building businesses from the ground up.
The role of the CFO
“People outside finance can think it’s very boring – and it can be if you don’t challenge yourself,” says Tomasz.
“The key thing for me is solving problems. It might not be an actual problem, but it might be how to build efficient accounting, reporting, efficient finance. But, I like that everyday there’s some problem that I can use my knowledge to quickly find a solution.”
It may not always be obvious to the outside, but Tomasz says the role of the CFO is absolutely crucial in making progress as a business.
“To be a good CFO, you have to have the ability to make your own judgement and decisions.”
“It’s probably the most important skill. And it’s where IT can become really important as well,” he says.
“Some people may ask what’s your influence in the company, because it may be invisible. But you can be oriented on how you’re helping the company because it’s more efficient, it’s not losing money, it manages the risk properly, and you keep everything under control – I really enjoy that role.”
Tomasz’s Power Profile
What music empowers him?
“I’m old fashioned so it’s rock or hard rock for me. It’s Guns and Roses or British Lion – something that gives me energy. There’s something about guitars – I play guitar as well – they’re my favourite. I have four guitars in my home and I’m thinking about a fifth, so it’s kind of an obsession.”
Who is his hero?
“My biggest hero is my wife, who takes care of everything while I am fulfilling my career.”