The Change and Challenge of Leading Accounting and Tax at Personio

Marcus Wigand, Head of Accounting and Tax

Our Business Intelligence, Finance, and Legal team are Personio’s co-pilots, supporting our fast and sustainable growth with data-driven decisions, financial health, and legal stability. As Head of Accounting and Tax, Marcus Wigand is one of the Finance leads for BIFL. He joined the company in October 2021 after a mutual friend connected him to Personio’s CFO, Birgit. As Marcus puts it, “It was more like Personio found me! The more Birgit told me about the role and company, the more it seemed like it would be a great fit.”

Marcus was able to get a more thorough understanding of both Personio and the job itself during the interview process. “I was able to evaluate the role in more detail, and how Personio and the team would fit my personality and convictions.” It worked out for all parties involved. “I decided to join Personio because this company is still at the very beginning of a great journey. We’re well established but still have the potential to grow. The opportunity to build and shape a best-in-class accounting and tax function here is very exciting!”

But it wasn’t just Personio’s potential that convinced Marcus – there were two other major elements that contributed to his decision. “It was the opportunity to work with Birgit. She’s an excellent manager with great experience, and has a very inspiring personality. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with and learn from her. The other selling point was that the company itself has a strong emphasis on culture. As soon as I learned about the company values, I knew I was in the right place and couldn’t wait to start working here!”

Marcus with the BIFL Leads at Schliersee

Marcus with the BIFL Leads at Schliersee.

As with all new joiners, Marcus was soon fully immersed in Personio’s onboarding experience. “Onboarding was a positive surprise to me. It was very professionally organized and executed by the People Operations team and everyone involved, offering both an on-site and remote option.” With a variety of sessions touching on company strategy, culture and values, IT, team overviews, and more, onboarding at Personio covers a lot of ground. “I also had many valuable departmental onboarding sessions that helped me gain a deeper understanding of BIFL and the different sub-teams, as well as really understanding the current processes and challenges via deep dive sessions.”

Before joining Personio, Marcus worked as a Senior Audit Manager at KPMG, one of Germany’s leading management consultant firms. “I worked there for ten years, and even became a German Certified Public Accountant during that time.” Prior to that, Marcus earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the University of Mannheim, and then his Master’s in Accounting and Taxation at the Mannheim Business School.

He now lives in Mannheim with his wife and two kids and commutes to Munich – just over three hours by train – two days per week. “When I go to the office, my day usually starts very early, at around 6:30 in the morning, with a train to Munich. I use the train ride to prepare and plan the rest of my work week.” Once in the office (just down the street from Munich’s central train station) he attends weekly meetings with his team and supervisor to discuss the prior week’s achievements and blockers, plan out what they’ll tackle in the coming week, and align before diving into work.

Outside of team alignments, his day-to-day varies based on priorities. “Recently I’ve been focused on interviewing candidates to find top talent for our growing team, as well as exchanging with our different stakeholders from all departments to ensure a proper information flow. Most of the time, I make sure that all transactions here at Personio are recorded and accounted for in compliance with the current regulations and prepare financial reports that show Personio’s current financial status.”

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, taking on a new role comes with its own set of challenges. “I think my biggest challenge is changing my perspective after coming from a professional service and auditing firm. I’ve had to adjust to the new perspective and change various technical and strategic topics that I have never dealt with before in my career.” How does he overcome this new shift? “I’ve just been embracing the new perspective that I get to have here and adapting to the startup model and culture that Personio has. I also talk to my fellow Personios and my team to grasp more of this perspective, and even exchange with peers from other companies that are going through a similar change.”

And the challenges don’t stop there! Marcus and his team have two large projects in the works. “We’re focused on the migration to a new Finance ERP System, and the conversion to the International Accounting Language. This essentially means that we are setting up our consolidated financial statements based on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). These two projects are complex and require a significant amount of focus and diligence from the entire team, as well as a lot of cross-departmental collaboration. I’m enjoying seeing the enthusiasm, eagerness, and professionalism that the whole team shows working on these projects!”

Marcus and the BIFL team during ACCW

Marcus and the BIFL team during All Company Culture Week.

Aside from big projects and interesting challenges, Marcus was also able to join our first-ever All Company Culture Week back in September. We brought together 750 Personios from across Europe to collaborate, plan, and celebrate in person (with a full COVID safety plan in place, of course). “During #ACCW, we had a day dedicated entirely to our values and how we live them out as Personios. This just emphasized to me what a great place, community, and working environment Personio is. Values Day has been my favorite Personio moment so far!”

As Marcus gets more and more familiar with his role and team, he has continued his hiring search for a Senior Accounting Manager, Manager of Group Accounting & Reporting, and more. “To be part of the BIFL team here at Personio, you have to have a proactive mindset and a passion to build processes from scratch. We’re looking for people who are solution-oriented, driven by curiosity, and consistently #SeekToImprove. And, of course, they should have an affinity for numbers – they tend to come up a lot!”

Interested in joining Marcus and his team as they help Personio along our journey to #EnablingBetterOrganizations? Check out the BIFL careers page and apply today!