Econnections – promoting sustainability in ecommerce
Here at Mollie, we fully understand the importance of making sustainable changes in the ecommerce industry. And that’s why we’re part of Econnections, joining forces with PostNL, Deloitte, Ikea, GoogleCloud, and Bol.com to help startups and scale-ups develop sustainable solutions, all to help generate an extra 500 million sustainable online purchases by 2026.
As part of the initiative, we opened the doors of our Amsterdam headquarters for the fourth Econnections Growth Accelerator Day, where event attendees took a deep dive into the finance, tax, and legal domains of successful scale-ups. The day featured several talks designed to help others negotiate the sometimes complex world of these subjects.
Are finance, tax, and the law the most glamorous topics? Perhaps not. But all are indispensable building blocks at the foundation of every successful company, from corner stores to major multinationals. Scale-ups often struggle knowing where to begin and how to master these disciplines.
Healthy finances mean visibility and control
Mollie head of treasury Bart Verweij and head of business control Etienne Dutilh took the floor and shared practical tips for scale-ups whose main focus might not always be finance.
“The key is visibility and control,” explained Verweij, who shared helpful advice for building a solid financial foundation. “Make sure you know how much cash you have and that you can look at your cash balances whenever you want.”
Another helpful hint: always negotiate. Interest and fees grow right along with turnover. No matter your size, it’s always worth discussing terms and conditions with your bank or financial institution.
Why reporting can help you better understand your business
Etienne Dutilh spoke about how reporting and forecasting can sharpen the focus on critical needs and drivers unique to your business. He recommended structuring reports and forecasts around core elements as a reminder of what’s important to your business.
His second piece of advice? Don’t get bogged down in the details. “When you focus on details, you’re losing the bigger picture,” Dutilh explained. “For most entrepreneurs, it’s where your business is going that truly matters. So have a couple of drivers that tell the story of ‘what really drives my business’. Those may change over time but reporting on them regularly helps keep your eye on the prize and your forecasts on the right trajectory.”
Professionalising finance integral to growth
Marcel Koopman, accountant and advisor for medium-sized companies at Deloitte, closed out the keynotes with a crash course in the financial growth curve for budding scale-ups. An audit can be one of the biggest hurdles on that road, and it often comes much sooner than scale-ups anticipate.
His key takeaways were:
– Start early: Being audit ready isn’t a single-year process. It will take several years to be fully prepared, but it’s worth the effort to guarantee that your first audit opinion isn’t a qualified opinion.
– Find a professional: There’s no shame in not knowing what you don’t know. Startups and scale-ups often bloom from a passion for a disruptive idea, not accounting expertise. So, consider bringing in a professional to help you when you’re audited.
– Don’t be afraid of an audit: Embrace it, start the process. Ultimately, it will only make your business stronger.
Finance, tax and legal: foundations for sustainable growth
The keynotes were followed by a peer-to-peer exercise, where scale-ups could put their learnings into practice and take part in individual expert sessions that dug deeper into topics like legal, risk management, and funding.
The packed schedule underlined how these foundational topics can help guide a company through a smooth transition from startup to scale-up and beyond. A solid grasp of each can protect you as you grow, give you better control over where your business is going, and set you up for sustainable long-term success.
All about Econnections
Econnections is an initiative by bol.com, Deloitte, Google Cloud, IKEA, Mollie, and PostNL to accelerate sustainability in ecommerce. The program aims to reduce the growing ecological footprint of the ecommerce sector. Its mission is to realise 500 million (more) sustainable online purchases by 2026. Seven scale-ups are participating in Econnections 2022. They are Chargetrip, Drop & Loop, Greenplan, Manyfolds GmbH, Optiply, PlasticFri®, and Returnless.