Steven Verniers: “At TriFinance, I was able to fulfill my ambition to take my career path in a new direction as an experienced Cost Controller.”

30 May 2023
In a nutshell:
  • From experienced Cost Controller to Project Consultant in sales, supply chain, business, financial and group controlling
  • About Steven and his ambition
  • A new career direction at TriFinance
  • Projects outside his comfort zone in combination with personal growth

Eight years ago, Senior Project Consultant Steven Verniers made a conscious choice for TriFinance. Despite 15 years of experience as a cost controller, he decided to take the leap to broaden his knowledge in controlling and steer his career in a new direction. Currently, Steven provides temporary operational support to various companies in a range of areas within controlling: from sales controlling to supply chain, business and financial controlling to group controlling. This allows Steven to build a broad base of knowledge in this area and in this way, give further direction to his career.

About Steven

Steven is an experienced Project Consultant with a strong track record in controlling. He also plays the role of mentor, so that he can use his expertise and experience to guide his fellow consultants.

What is your background?

After studying Applied Economics, I started working as a cost controller, gaining experience in ABC costing at Arcelor Mittal, cost controlling at Stora Enso and cost & sales controlling at Imperial Meat Products. Over 15 years, I developed an in-depth knowledge of cost controlling but my ambition was to further broaden my knowledge and experience in various aspects of controlling. While working with some finance consultants, I was inspired to move in that direction.

Now, eight years on, I work as a Project Consultant at TriFinance on various controlling projects in sales, supply chain, business, financial and group controlling. Here, I’m able to broaden my perspective and get a much better idea of what type of role gives me the most satisfaction and motivation.

For me, ambition is something that evolves. More and more, I know what I want to do and what I don't want to do.

What was your ambition before you started at TriFinance?

To be honest, at the start of my career, I gave little thought to what direction I wanted to go and how important a career choice is. My main ambition at that time was to have a job and to do it as well as I could. It was only over time that it become increasingly clear to me how important it is to get satisfaction from a job from which you can continually learn. As a fresh graduate, you think you have all the necessary knowledge you need, but the real learning is just starting.

After three years, I left my first job and took on a new challenge in a similar role in cost controlling. Then I suddenly found myself with 15 years of experience in cost controlling and feeling like I’d reached a dead end. It wasn’t easy to make the switch to something else, but I wanted to give it a try. So with that ambition in mind, I joined TriFinance and was able to rejuvenate my career.

Don’t think of your career as a ladder to climb but as a puzzle to piece together. The fun is actually in the puzzling because the puzzle becomes increasingly clearer.

What is your current ambition?

I’d describe my current ambition as ‘getting a better understanding of where I want to go in my career and focusing increasingly on the things I really love to do’. For me, this means dropping a number of career directions in controlling. I have the ambition to take on a high-level role as an advisor to management from the perspective of controlling. Creating a storyline for management to help steer a company’s future. Perhaps more of a leadership role could emerge from that, where I could build experience in people management.

How do you grow your ambition?

By taking on various projects that lie outside my comfort zone. That’s how I keep challenging myself and continue to grow in terms of knowledge, experience and self-confidence. Earlier, when reading job descriptions, I often thought “That”s something for people smarter than me”, whereas now I’m more likely to think “I have those qualities as well.”

At TriFinance, I’m challenged to think about my passions and goals, and this makes me reflect on these more than I used to. This has helped me greatly to develop my full potential and revitalize my career.

What does "Grow your Ambition" mean to you?

Ambition, by definition, means striving towards a certain goal. Doing something you are not yet doing or doing it better. To achieve that goal, you need to grow, either through training or by gaining experience.

At TriFinance, you get a chance to grow in both ways: via your experience on projects as well as via an extensive training program. In the beginning, I followed training courses for hard skills, for example, the Controller Excellence Track which is a very thorough technical controller training or the Prince2 project management program. Recently, I’ve been following more training courses in soft skills: assertiveness, communication with C-level, etc. There is also the option of following individual coaching programs.

At TriFinance, I’m really challenged to think more about what I like to do and want to achieve.

What is your ultimate ambition?

For me, ambition is something that evolves. More and more, I know what I want to do and what I don't want to do. In this way, I’m steering my career further in a particular direction, and right now I’m trying to grow towards a role where I can work closely with management and help them think strategically.

What does your growth path look like?

My growth path looks like an inverted pyramid: from the narrow base of cost controlling, I’ve built a broader experience in controlling at TriFinance. Now I’m at the point in my career where that broad top of the inverted pyramid is transforming into a new, narrower shape but in a different direction.

If you could give your younger self some advice in one sentence, what would it be?

Think carefully about the direction you choose in your first job and allow yourself time for self-development.

What is your advice to new or existing colleagues who want to grow their ambition?

  1. Look around carefully and think about what you feel is important in a company, whether it’s the training opportunities, sector, culture, etc.
  2. Don’t jump in too fast. You have about four years to complete your studies, followed by more than 40 years to reach your career objective. Take the necessary time to gain proper experience.
  3. Communicate your goals, let others know what you want to achieve.
  4. Take control of your career, TriFinance gives you every opportunity to do just that.