Just Do It! DES Germany CFO’s Advice on Reaching Your Full Potential
By David Nakayama - Published March 20, 2022
Interview with Ms. Monika Fuchs, CFO Director of Delta Energy Systems (DES) Germany Text by David Nakayama, DET Corp Comms Photographs by Ms. Monika Fuchs *This interview was via email due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
Bangkok, Thailand, February 11, 2022– With women making up over 80% of our Delta Thailand workforce, our company makes women empowerment and gender equality a top priority in our action for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
As we celebrate March 8th International Women's Day, we highlight our female Delta leaders driving our sustainable growth. One such outstanding leader is Ms. Monika Fuchs, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Delta Energy Systems (DES) Germany spared her time to share her about her career, Finance’s role in supporting Delta’s success, personal views on Women’s Day and management.
Can you tell us about your background and your career journey to your current role as DES CFO?
My career started 35 years ago when I signed my working contract with ABB. I studied business administration and in parallel, I worked in various departments to get the experience of all functions. Finally, I decided to stay in Finance/Controlling.
Since 1992, I am the responsible Department Head of Finance/Controlling. In addition to that, I was appointed as Global Controller of “Business Unit Power Supplies” covering the regions Europe, USA and Asia.
During the years, I participated in IT projects like the installation of SAP R2 in 1987 and SAP R3 in 1992. With that experience, I was part of the global rollout projects in several countries and also stationed in Switzerland for around two years.
Besides IT projects, I also participated in several legal entity restructuring programs. For example, to split one Legal Entity (LE) into two LEs, set up a new LE in new countries and transfer to other countries. I did whatever was needed to keep the business running and to react to the market situation.
Furthermore, our company was part of M&A from ABB to Ascom and then finally to the Delta Group, where the biggest challenge was to identify synergies and to adapt to different processes.
It was one of my tasks to discover issues in the new group where I could support with my experience. For example, for tax transfer price needs, we implemented a complete setup to make Delta ready to fulfill OECD requirements and avoid potential tax risks. This was mainly from 2013 to 2014.
Later on, I recognized that there were VAT processes that needed to be improved to be more efficient so we could secure tax reports. This was from 2018 to 2019.
Until today, besides my official function as DES CFO, I also handle and join actual projects.
How would you describe your management style, and what are the ways you facilitate the success of your people? Photo description: With my team in the Soest office at the 30 years anniversary of Delta EMEA
My management style is to support everybody and I am not a person who defines strict rules and at the same time realizes results by pressure.
My character is to lead as a good role model, to show that I do what I expect from my team.
And I repeatedly explain what to do. It is important to explain why to do things – what is the impact to the business if things are not done correctly and on time.
What are your thoughts on Delta Finance’s role in our regional operations, and how do you support our organization’s global success?
Even though my working contract was with the same company all these years, my core attitude has always been to give the most valuable support to the group, independent from country, business unit or function.
I am handling many tasks that are not originally part of my job description. I am glad to learn so much from my multi-function experience during all these years.
So I am the person available for everybody who needs support and cannot find it somewhere else. It does not matter if it is about Finance, Legal, processes, SAP or if it is related to any region or any other function. Flexibility is one of the basic principles of my work.
Another important service is to be proactive, to give early warnings when I identify potential risks.
During crisis, how does Delta Finance help the company manage financial risk, especially for issues like trade wars, currency fluctuations and COVID-19?
This is difficult to answer. The key is to be always up to date and to address potential risks and find solution proposals.
One example is trade war. At Delta, we are in a good position because we have the possibility to allocate production in different factories and in different countries. The task of Finance is to propose potential moves and support with investment plans and Pros/Cons analysis.
Another example is currency fluctuation. We need to support Delta with advice on how we can balance foreign currency over all transactions. How to handle FX instruments to cover the remaining risk is a core business of Corporate Finance.
In regards to COVID-19, it is our task to ensure that the Finance function is always ready, coordinate teams at home offices and to set up backup for impacted persons to limit risk.
Overall, in what ways has the CFO’s role evolved during your career, and how are technology and digitization impacting the way your finance team works and makes decisions?
In general, the CFO role is the same over all the years, to help businesses by identifying risks and opportunities and then support the needed changes.
For sure, everything is much faster and the quantity of data and analysis is growing to ensure that we make the right decisions.
To be able to do so, we also have to make use of the newest IT technology. I remember when I started to work in our company in 1987, all departments at that time were working with a monitor and a keyboard connected to the mainframe data center and reports were made manually using a typewriter.
When I had my first working experience in the controlling team, I found a package standing in the meeting room. Nobody had opened it. It was the first personnel computer. As I already had experience from school and studies, I installed the computer and introduced our tool LOTUS 123 and the whole controlling team was very happy with it.
Since that time, technological development goes faster every year. Instead of fax and ticker tape machines, we now communicate by email and Skype. Instead of several independent mainframe software programs, we first used SAP R2, then SAP R3 and now SAP HANA is coming.
We need to be permanently up to date to be able to provide the best service for our group.
How do you balance your career and personal life? What are some things you like to do to de-stress during your off time? I am lucky I am happily married and I have friends, even when I do not see them too often, even less since COVID, but I know they are available when we need each other.
For sure, try to find time to go on vacation. Last time in 2018, we were able to enjoy one week on Lofoten Island, Norway. One week just enjoying the beautiful nature is a real de-stress.
One important thing for me is to have a fixed, regular thing in life that keeps me on track. It can be a simple thing. I try to make it and go each Friday for dinner with my husband, as a reward for a tough week in the office.
On March 8 we celebrate International Women’s Day with this year’s theme #BeatTheBias. As a female Delta leader, why do you think it is important to be aware of both conscious and unconscious bias and support the success of women?
To be honest, this is really not an issue in the Delta group. I am convinced, based on my experience in Delta, that there is no difference if you are a man or woman. We (women) are lucky.
What unique contributions do women bring to the C-suite and all levels of organizational leadership?
I do not think there are special contributions that can only be provided by a woman.
What is your advice for young women who want to advance in their careers but are still not sure of how to reach their full potential?
My advice is: Just Do It! Never stop learning.
Finally, is there anything you would like to share with your Delta colleagues around the world?
Photo description: Touring Zollverein – formerly one of the most important industrial coal mines in Germany. Our company DES started in 1906 with the production of petrol miner’s lamps and now we are producing high-end technology power supplies
Currently, everybody is impacted by COVID, but the second burden for mankind is the global climate crisis. We all need to keep in mind: All of us are personally responsible for the future of coming generations – with Delta technology we are on the right path.
About the Author (Editorial Team)
If content is king, there must be a kingmaker. And the universal theme in my favorite stories is our innate human desire for freedom. I have a master’s degree in Chinese education and experience spanning industries and countries. As the Comms guy at DET, I’m obsessed with the stories behind our products and people. Share your stories with me https://www.linkedin.com/in/yushi-david-nakayama/