Every month, the Embassy presents an example of successful Ukrainian-Dutch cooperation in business. This month features ControlPay, the industry leading Global Freight Audit & Payment provider in the cloud.
Introduction to the company
ControlPay was founded in 2002, and its aim is to support large multinationals with complexities around freight invoices and to handle the audit of these invoices. Today, the company has over 150 employees, of which around 110 are based in Kyiv. ControlPay serves many large companies in Europe. Pieter Kinds, Director Business Development of ControlPay, explains: “Together with partners in the Netherlands and Germany, we developed our own IT platform, and when this turned out to become a rather lengthy and costly process, we went looking for flexible alternatives. One of the early partners happened to have worked for the Kyiv Post in the late nineties and felt that looking for partners in Ukraine may just be the right solution. Next to that, he was a Russian language speaker; this made the communication much easier. As such we visited around eight IT companies in three days at the end of 2003, and in the beginning of 2004 we made the decision to start with one of the smaller IT companies. The company was flexible to incorporate our needs and we took a very hands-on approach as we visited Kyiv every two weeks for highly intensive sessions with the Project Managers and IT Analysts. In only six months they were able to deliver the fully web-based platform which is still the basis of our system landscape today”.
Keys to success
As new clients came, the company made the decision to have their audit staff based in Kyiv as well. In 2004, the audit center was opened and several of the people hired back then are now in management functions within ControlPay. Kinds: “We may never have ended up in Kyiv if we would not have had someone with prior experience of living in Ukraine and working with and among Ukrainians. Once we decided to go to Ukraine, we made sure that we worked together closely as a team to come to the right results. It was very hands-on, as we brought a business to Ukraine that nobody had previous experience with in the country”.
Over time, the hands-on mentality shifted gradually to an interesting mix of western style management and the “Ukrainian way” of doing things, Kinds says. “As a company we have always tried to balance these two styles, as it often makes sense to listen to people that know the local situation best, instead of enforcing a way of working or management that simply does not work in Ukraine. It makes sense, once you cross the border, to leave your knowledge and opinions about your management style behind and to first grasp the local way of working. Then later, you gradually add the things that make sense to add. This way, you are more open to learn and also to give people a chance to do it their way. For that reason, ControlPay has never relied on expat management but has rather instilled faith in local managers and directors from day one.” Today, ControlPay Ukraine is completely led and grown by Ukrainian managers.
For many , the attractive part of working at ControlPay is the exposure they gain to foreign multinationals, to an open and westernized working atmosphere and exposure to different languages and cultures. For many, there are different growth opportunities within ControlPay as well as outside of ControlPay. Companies value the experience and the knowledge people have gained within ControlPay partially thanks to the fact that we have a strong training and growth programs in place. As such, people often move from entry level auditors over the course of 3 to 4 years to either senior positions within ControlPay or become managers with western businesses in Ukraine.
For more information about ControlPay, visit our website:www.controlpay.com.