Interview with Jeroen van Erven, CFO SD Worx Group.
Over the space of just a few years, SD Worx has grown into an international payroll and HR services group. The company embraces new technology to make life easier for employers and employees. CFO Jeroen van Erven is convinced that fintech players still have a lot of innovations in store, but does not think that this will jeopardize the role of financial institutions as payment partners.
This blog is part of the ‘Finance beyond the figures’ Trend Report.
Jeroen van Erven, CFO of SD Worx Group: “Of course we are not a fintech player ourselves, but we do follow developments within the industry closely. Sometimes we purchase shares in start-ups that are working on technologies that are interesting for our business. For example, we invested in GlobePayroll, a French company that launched a multi-country payroll application that runs entirely on the cloud.”
Solid payment partners
“If the European payment market standardizes even further, we will also expand our services further.”
However, companies cannot rely solely on third-party innovation, the CFO emphasizes. “You also have to keep reinventing yourself internally and boosting your innovative edge. We do this thanks to a pool of creative employees within our Innovation Lab. We have already developed some apps based on their ideas. For example, sports clubs can pay bonuses to their players, trainers and volunteers efficiently via SportsPay. We launched a Digital Assistant, an app that allows employees not only to consult their pay slips, but also to request holiday leave, to input expenses and lots more. Keeping our eye on the ball is the message, because I expect a lot of interesting new applications to result in speedier and more efficient payments.”
However, the CFO does not see the role of the banks changing or being eroded in the short term. Jeroen van Erven: “Banks remain the solid payment partners par excellence. In Belgium and also increasingly within Europe, we work closely with financial institutions on payroll processing. That is why we are also keeping a close eye on developments around SEPA and PSD2. If the European payment market standardizes even further, we will also expand our services further.”
“Thanks to automation we, in the finance department, aim to spend as little time as possible on administrative processes and transaction management.”
A consolidation movement is taking place within the HR sector. Local players end up being taken over by large international groups or take over companies themselves. SD Worx has gained in strength on the international scene itself over the past three years and acquisitions will also largely determine the growth of the group in the coming years. Jeroen van Erven: “The intention is that finance will increasingly operate as a global team, with standardized processes and one all-encompassing software system in the cloud. That way we will have much better access to data that is still spread out through the different business units. In the long term, AI will also play a role in this. We will be able to obtain better analyses, reports and forecasts through pattern recognition.”
The digital revolution is racing its way through all the divisions of the HR service provider’s company. Jeroen van Erven: “We are bracing ourselves for the future: the market is demanding even keener prices and at the same time it wants more flexible supply and service. Thanks to automation we, in the finance department, aim to spend as little time as possible on administrative processes and transaction management. In exchange, we are able to concentrate more on strategic business issues. This makes our work a lot more interesting, but at the same time it requires greater maneuverability, upgraded skills and the courage to look beyond our own core business.”
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Jeroen van Erven
SD Worx Group