- Change Management
- Broadening & deepening soft skills
To evolve from operational support to a broader range of tasks, partly on one's own initiative, and to bring this to a successful conclusion. Karlien Van den Broeck (25) and Deborah Van Uffelen (23) live up to that at 'De Watergroep', the largest drinking water company in Flanders, which also develops water projects for companies and is a partner for municipal wastewater management. "We get a lot of trust from TriFinance and 'De Watergroep'", both Project Consultants of the Blue Chip Boutique (BCB) 'Public Sector' say in unison.
Karlien holds a Master's degree in Commercial Engineering (KU Leuven) and Deborah a Master's degree in Public Administration and Public Management (UGent). TriFinance is their first employer: Karlien has been working there since January 2018 and Deborah since October of the same year. Karlien is working on her fourth project. Previously she did credit analysis in the banking sector, worked in the world of biotechnology and took care of financial project management at her Alma Mater. For Deborah, it is her first introduction to fieldwork.
From provincial to process-driven organization
‘De Watergroep’ has more than 1,500 employees and supplies water to 177 municipalities along with a network of 34,000 kilometers of pipelines. The company is going through a profound change: from a provincial to a process-driven organization. This has an impact on the bookkeeping processes: the provincial structures give way to a unified and simplified bookkeeping process.
From a purely operational supporter, I evolved to someone with a helicopter view of end-to-end bookkeeping.
Deborah and Karlien both started at 'De Watergroep' with mainly operational support in supplier bookkeeping. The first because bookkeepers had taken on new challenges in other services within ‘De Watergroep’ and the second because of the reorganization. Their proactive attitude and their attention to 'the demand behind the demand' of the customer lead them to go one step further. An experienced colleague from the Blue Chip Boutique 'Public Sector' helped Deborah on her way for two weeks at the beginning of the project. "I've been working at 'De Watergroep' for about a year and a half now, the original four-month project time is being extended again and again, and I'm already training new permanent staff in the bookkeeping department. From a purely operational supporter, I evolved to someone with a helicopter view of end-to-end bookkeeping," Deborah emphasizes.
Broadening and deepening soft skills
Also, the soft skills of both Project Consultants broaden and deepen. It is not always evident when outsiders find themselves in an environment that is in full transformation. Permanent employees of the 'receiving' company sometimes react skeptically when Project Consultants come to their floor. "But we get oceans of space. They let us do a lot. Incidentally, we sometimes work as a kind of go-betweens between people within our department and between departments', Deborah emphasizes.
As outsiders, we can play a role in putting everything into perspective and in bringing calm. Appropriate communication is very important in this respect.
Karlien adds that such reorganizations usually involve stress for permanent employees. Especially when their tasks change and they get new managers. "As outsiders, we can play a role in putting everything into perspective and bringing calm. Appropriate communication is very important in this respect. At 'De Watergroep' a lot is in motion and they appreciate our proactive approach".
Also, Karlien makes a big leap forward in hard skills. "I started doing many tasks of a bookkeeper like the process of purchase-order over invoicing to General Ledger. I am gaining a lot of practical experience with analytical bookkeeping, which allows me to see what is happening in the company. In the two years that I have been working at TriFinance, I have already done four very different projects. I have discovered many aspects of the business world and mentors guide me well in my assignments. It's nice to get so much trust from your employer and your client".