Head of Financial Analysis and Audit Department Evgenia Kukueva: the higher and the more difficult the goal is, the more interesting it is to work?

Head of the Financial Analysis and Audit Department of the Lime Credit Group holding Evgenia Kukueva told the business magazine "SDS" why a fundamentally new leap in business development is impossible without full-fledged financial analytics, and revealed the secrets of the company's success.

Lime Credit Group holding has been operating in the Russian market under the “Lime-Zaim” brand since 2013. During its existence, a small startup made the top ten Russian leaders in terms of the total size of its microloan portfolio. According to RAEX, the company is among the leaders in terms of key indicators.
Evgenia Kukueva has only been with the company for a year. During this time, with her direct participation, a huge work was carried out: a financial analysis and audit department was created from scratch, an international audit ordered by Japanese investors was brilliantly passed. The Bank of Russia has registered the issue of three-year bonds of the first series.
— “Lime-Zaim” is a company with great ambitions. We want to grow and develop, conquer new heights, expand funding channels and attract the attention of investors. All this is impossible without multilevel scenario planning and budgeting. That is why, when I came here a year ago as a financial analyst, specific tasks were set for me: to form a team and define a completely new approach to financial analysis. The company needs to clearly know how business processes affect operational efficiency and development scenarios: where will we go, how, to which clients, what will it give us, how we will attract financing, how to work with investors.

— What is the key role of your department in the company?
— Financiers, in my opinion, should help businesses make the right management decisions, suggesting where to go or not. It is necessary not to draw abstract schemes, but to clearly indicate what economic effect this or that decision will bring. My colleagues know their business processes very well, and our task, our key role, is to help them calculate everything correctly, find growth points.

— What competencies are essential?
— I believe that you need to think as if it is your own business and you want it to flourish. You can just do the calculations, but really you need to foresee what this or that step can lead to. Another important competence is the so-called "Helicopter View", the ability to look at the business "from above". After all, a decision that here and now seems to be correct and economically justified, in the general light of the macroeconomic development and trends may ultimately negatively affect a number of related processes. A different angle of view allows you to see certain pros and cons. Yesterday's schemes may no longer work, you need to look for and discover new ones, for this you need to see opportunities, and to see them first.
During her career, Evgenia has worked in large Novosibirsk companies (PepsiCo, Gazprom-Novosibirsk) and in Moscow in an international company (British American Tobacco Plc). When she came to "Lime-Zaim", she realized that she had found her place.
— Here, the spirit of a startup is still preserved, there is still the highest speed of work, decision-making, and an intense pace. It's so fascinating. The colleagues are amazing. Moreover, we have an international fintech holding. We work in Mexico and South Africa. The experience is vast, — says Kukueva. — You should not get stuck at the same level, you need to constantly go forward, set the highest possible bar.
She is convinced that stopping and slowing down is not only harmful, but also dangerous for development, including personal and professional. And in order to understand the market conditions, to be in the trend of what is happening, including at the international level, you need to study. Evgenia herself, in addition to higher education, is undergoing the international CIMA program (the largest organization for training specialists in the field of management accounting, finance and strategic management).

— Why does “Lime-Zaim” need a new rating from “Expert RA”?
— All investors are interested in ratings. We want to become more attractive in terms of funding. Thanks to last year's rating, we understood our points of growth and worked actively on them all year round. I can safely say that we have made significant progress, including in the regulation of business processes, budgeting, and internal corporate governance.

— What is the secret of “Lime-Zaim” success?
— The principled position and style of work of the company is to be as clear and transparent as possible for the clients, so that they clearly understand how much they will have to pay and within what timeframe, and if difficulties arise, what are the possibilities for restructuring and on what conditions.
Thanks in large part to this approach, smart scoring and the best collection service in Russia (winning the “Khrustalnaya garnitura” award is a confirmation of this) in terms of weighted average recovery, we are significantly better than even the top MFOs. Moreover, according to statistics, 80% of clients return to Lime for their next loan.
However, there is another secret to success. We are one team, all on the same wavelength and share in the common cause. You can analyze as much as you like and build beautiful hypotheses, however, without cool people, plans will still remain just plans.

Russian version of the interview: