Asen Velikov:

Change is the Only Invariable

In order to have satisfied customers, you need to work with satisfied employees

Asen Velikov has been the Financial Director of VIVACOM since July 2013 and a Member of the Management Board since December 2014. He started his career in the company in 1999 as part of the financial team. He holds a Masters in International Economic Relations from Svishtov Economic Academy, and in 2017, he graduated the Stanford Executive Program.

To be a financial director of a telecom when communication is becoming more and more important to people... is a challenge with more and more dimensions. Telecommunications are at the centre of the Fourth Industrial Revolution when digital technology, robotization and artificial intelligence are flooding the business sector and our everyday lives. VIVACOM is constantly striving to meet but also to exceed its customers’ expectations and to be prepared for their needs in the future.

The great technological change through my perspective of a financier looks like... VIVACOM is a customer-oriented company. We are in contact with our clients through various channels – a shopping network, an e-shop, a customer centre. In the digital era, the expectations towards us are high; they can directly compare us to digital giants, such as Amazon and Google. That is why customer experience becomes the focus of our investments like never before. We recently launched our updated e-shop, we are in the advanced stages of replacing the platform of our customer service centre. At the same time, VIVACOM remains a technology company that is building a leading infrastructure. In order to maintain this advantage, we must rely on the right technologies at the right time, and to introduce them in the best way.

Financial solutions are becoming… more complicated, more dynamic and with higher stakes. But VIVACOM remains a technological leader with an award for a mobile network with the best coverage – Ookla*. We also recently conducted 5G tests with download speeds of over 2Gbit/s.

The direct technological change that I have made in my work… The focus in improving and digitising processes has expanded. We have updated our financial system (SAP), developed electronic sourcing and supplier relationship management.

My strategy for development of the financial direction of the company in one sentence: Efficiency – optimizing the work of the financial direction and supporting all other units of the company to do the same.

The financial role in the telecom of the future… will have to be more flexible, closer to the problems of the businesses and to use freely the new technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

A good financial director is recognized by… the results. For the seventh consecutive year, VIVACOM remains the largest telecom in terms of total revenue, keeping in mind the indicators for 2019, as well. We report revenue growth of 5-6% and a double-digit profit growth (adjusted EBITDA).

The thing that a financier can see... are the financial results of the efforts of all company units. This gives them a unique perspective and the ability to be a useful partner in making effective business decisions.

My “golden” financial rule… Invest wisely.

One of the most important lessons I have learned over the years... Change is the only invariable. In business, you can’t afford to stay in one place; it takes constant effort and investment to remain the preferred choice of your customers.

Figures show me… whether we are moving in the right direction. Currently, we are happy with our financial results, but we continue to invest between 18 and 20% of our revenues in order to offer the best services on the market.

The land mines that every financial manager should look out for… are the unrealistic expectations. Every financial manager needs a good information system to follow the results of the financial decisions and serve as a corrective.

Operating with money taught me that… money is not everything. Good results are often achieved by working smarter.

And my work with people showed me that… they are a key factor for the success of every company. In order to have satisfied customers, you need to work with satisfied employees.

I say YES to new projects when… they offer added value to the customers. For example, our optical networks, leading mobile technologies, modern and efficient business systems. A company can only prosper if its customers are satisfied with their choice.

I chose finances because… they give a unique perspective on the whole business of a company and will always be relevant with its contribution for its successful strategy.

I have been in the financial sector of the telecommunication industry for 20 years, and I see that… the speed of the technological change is accelerating. 15 years ago, VIVACOM offered only fixed voice services. Now, they are an insignificant part of our portfolio, and mobile services are more than 60% of our revenue. We also offer optic internet, interactive IP TV, cloud services… We are even an insurance broker and you can make your third-party insurance in our shops.

A financier stays in a company for a long time when… they remain focused on the company’s priorities. And when it is interesting. The challenge of being a technology leader is never boring.

I wouldn’t spare money for… developing useful services for the customers.

My strength and weakness... The analytical approach to my work helps, but I try to be open to other perspectives. The complete picture cannot be drawn with one colour.

When I want to be heard… I ask myself the question why what I have to say will be useful for the discussion. Numbers often help with arguments.

My professional advice is... Never stop learning.

*(Territorial coverage measurement is according to an Ookla® analysis based on Speedtest Intelligence® data for the first half of 2019, conducted according to their methodology. Ookla® trademarks are used with permission. More information

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Етикети: Vivacom | financial director | Asen Velikov

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