Espresso with

#espresso with Albertas Gruodis: ‘Finance is not just about crunching numbers – it is a far more interesting field of work’

4 Dec 2020PayRay

Numbers and math have been Albertas Gruodis’s favourite subject since his time at school, so it was only a matter of time until PayRay’s CFO found himself in this field of work. The finance professional often heard people say that crunching numbers every day must be a tedious job. In Groudis’s view, however, the field of finance is not just about numbers, as most processes are automated in this day and age, and one has to work closely with the IT department and others. To add more spice to his life, Groudis likes to spend time on his somewhat unusual hobbies. One of them is dry-curing meat at home.

What was your professional journey up until PayRay? Which of your achievements do you find the most important? What do you like most about the profession you are in? I already had a dream of working at a bank as an undergraduate, and so I landed a job with an investment bank right after graduating. This was a unique experience, as I was working there during the first year of the financial crisis, with markets crashing all around, and had the opportunity to learn in detail about the investment products our bank offered and the complex world of derivatives. After four years, I decided to switch from the department of sales to the department of finance, because numbers and math have been my favourite subject at school. It was tough in the beginning: I opened our bank’s balance sheet and realised that those numbers said nothing to me. However, it did not take me very long to catch up, and this is my seventh year in the field of finance. Over the years, I worked in banks of Scandinavian origin, where I was tasked with preparing financial statements and reports as well as working on transformational projects, I also led the department of finance at a Lithuanian financial firm. I was then noticed by PayRay. I immediately became very impressed with the bank’s ambition and plans for growth, deciding to join its team of professionals and work together on developing this international organisation and contributing to its business financing solutions.

What are some of the most common myths about your profession? How do you go about.

debunking them? I heard people say that crunching numbers day after day must be a very tedious job indeed, but the field of finance is not just about numbers, as most processes are automated in this day and age, and that’s why we to work closely with the IT department. We also work with other departments: in preparing financial statements, we work closely with our operations team, as well as our credit team, which provides loans and factoring services; in drafting budgetary plans and trying to determine our mutual needs and settling on a common plan, we have to work with pretty much everyone else. Therefore, what also makes this work interesting is the opportunity to learn in detail about the processes and operations of the bank as a whole.

What are your responsibilities at PayRay? My responsibilities encompass everything to do with finance: from human resources, e.g. putting together a team, assigning tasks, and building a strategy, to my specific field of expertise, e.g. accounting, financial statements, and financial planning.

What goals are the priority for you and PayRay? My main goal at the moment is fine-tuning all our financial processes. We have become a bank, which entails integrating a number of new requirements into our company’s operations. The financial side of it is crucial; I am overseeing the bank’s budgetary plans and its entire operations. In addition, of course, I need to provide financial statements to the supervisory institutions in a timely and accurate manner.

What is your professional motto? One of them is to never stop growing, and one way to ensure that is by taking on new challenges and seeking to overcome them. We live in a fast-paced world and finding new challenges is not very hard. This is exactly what makes my job so interesting: you never stay at any one place or do monotonous work.

What professional advice do you give to your colleagues the most? I have two of them, and both worked in my own case, too. First: behind bad luck comes good luck. If you are facing an obstacle and it seems that things cannot get any worse, keep your chin up and work patiently to try and resolve it. The second: we are not robots and we all make mistakes. It is both the most difficult and the most important thing to admit one’s mistakes and then try and fix them. Sweeping things under the rug never works, so hiding your mistakes or neglecting to mention them can only make things worse.

What are your work habits? How do you start your day? What helps you focus? I take cold showers in the morning; they always give me an energy and mood boost. Then, having started my working day, I make myself some coffee. As I sit down at my computer, I like to spend a little time catching up on current affairs and then I start planning my work. I try to put together a to-do list for the day.

How do you like to spend your free time? What helps you relax and recharge your batteries for the work you do? For the most part, I spend my free time with my family. I have three kids, so I spend a lot of time with them. I like to go for a run in the morning, and try to make time for it at least several times a week. This helps me recharge myself with positive energy and think through the most important matters at the time. I also love good cinema, so my wife and I often get to watch interesting films on TV on weekends.

What ideas or things are you interested in the most these days? This may come as a bit of a surprise, but hoping to make myself something delicious at home, I started learning about dry-curing meat. I went so far as to build myself a curing chamber, so now I can enjoy naturally dry-cured meat more often. I also got into archery. I recently purchased all the equipment and have already been to an archery range for practice a few times. It stands a good chance of becoming one of my future hobbies.

Espresso or cappuccino? For now, it would have to be cappuccino, but, given that I work at a company like PayRay, my preference is more than likely to change before too long.

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