An interim consultant provides flexibility during change – Rederi Ab Eckerö

Brand GS 2

Rederi Ab Eckerö describes its business as a floating bridge that safely and comfortably takes people from point A to point B. To stabilize the finance function during a period of resource change, the company chose to seek the help of a CFO interim consultant from Greenstep.

Rederi Ab Eckerö is an Ålandic shipping company that operates mainly in the Baltic Sea. The group consists of the parent company and several subsidiaries, with Eckerö Line and Eckerö Linjen being two of the most well-known. The group currently employs around 800 people and has a turnover of approximately 186 million euros (2022).

Annica Sviberg started working as a Group Controller at Rederi Ab Eckerö about 8 years ago. A year ago, she was given the opportunity to take over as CFO and is now responsible for the entire group's finance function and a team of 17 people. It was when one of the more senior members of the team was moving on to other tasks that she chose to contact Greenstep to smoothly cover the departing resource.

There are still many in the business world who see external consultants as an expensive solution that competes with their own personnel and operations. However, Annica sees that there is a place for both internal employees and consulting firms, and she sees significantly more advantages than disadvantages in using interim consultants. One of the most significant advantages is that it allows more time for recruiting a new person, and therefore, the recruitment process can be more qualitative.

"If you look at it from a longer perspective, I think it pays off to have brought in a consultant rather than trying to patch up with our own resources or make too quick recruitments. So, I still think that in the end, it is a fairly cost-effective solution to bring in a consultant," says Annica.

Bringing in an interim consultant also contributes to continuity and efficiency in the finance function, as the person who is subsequently employed does not have too high a workload when the employment begins. The hired consultant can handle the tasks during the recruitment period so that the person who takes over can start from a relatively empty table. Sviberg also mentions flexibility as one of the decisive factors in choosing to bring in an interim consultant. For example, one does not need to know exactly how long the assignment is when starting a collaboration, but the employment relationship becomes more need-adapted and can be adjusted according to how the workload looks at that time.

"In long term, I think it pays off to get a consultant rather than trying to patch up with our own resources or make too quick recruitments. So, I think that in the end, it is a fairly cost-effective solution to bring in a consultant," says Annica.

A lot of knowledge through a consultant

When Rederi Ab Eckerö is based in Åland and operates in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia, it needs to keep track of regulations, laws, and practices in all countries. Therefore, it was very natural for the company to collaborate with Greenstep, which is also based in Åland and operates on both sides of the Baltic Sea, to rely on having access to the knowledge needed.

Greenstep also has a wide range of services with experts in everything from accounting and finance to automation and HR. This is also something that Annica Sviberg highlights as an incredible asset as a customer:

"Through the CFO consultant, we also had access to the entire Greenstep competence network. For example, if there were more difficult tax issues or other more complex issues, the consultant could contact the Greenstep network on both the Swedish and Finnish sides and use the experience that exists within Greenstep, which is absolutely fantastic."

Although an interim consultant is not a permanent asset, and the collaboration with Greenstep is now over, Rederi Ab Eckerö knows that Greenstep is close at hand if they need help with something in the future. Things can change quickly in working life, and not everything can be planned from a long-term perspective. Therefore, Annica thinks that Greenstep fills an important function and says that it feels safe to know that there is an opportunity to bring in a consultant even at very short notice. She can also recommend Greenstep to other companies that encounter the need for short-term support in personnel.

"I am very positive about hiring Greenstep again. The collaboration with Greenstep has worked great, and if a situation arises where someone leaves or we have a high workload, I absolutely know where I can turn in the future," she concludes.