Becky searches and finds skilled, dedicated and motivated finance professionals. Not in India or the Philippines, but in Belgrade: the surprisingly up to date European capital of Serbia
In 2018, Geert and Sjoerd, owners of IBEO, had a problem. Their accounting firm grew so fast that they were unable to recruit in the Netherlands. They found a solution to their personnel problem in Belgrade.
They didn’t want culture to form a barrier, and that’s why Geert and Sjoerd went looking nearby. Belgrade more or less has the same culture as the Netherlands,' Sjoerd explains. ‘In addition, we find it important that our employees can work independently, so the language and education level had to be high.’
Coincidentally, in Belgrade, the situation is just the other way around: there are many graduates and few positions in finance. Geert: ‘Graduate finance talents like to work for an EU company. In Serbia, accountancy offices are quite old-fashioned and extremely hierarchical. At a Dutch company they have more say and the culture is more informal. As a result, we recruit a lot of people from the Big Four in Belgrade’
Sjoerd and Geert started with one team member in Belgrade, assuming they could let him do the simple work. It soon became clear that the finance professionals there could tackle a lot more. Geert: ‘This solution worked out so well, that we now have eleven people working for us there. Soon we decided to share this unique solution with other offices facing the same problem. We are now finding talent for companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and England’
“Srdjan and Milica are very nice colleagues. They don’t find anything too complicated or too easy. They come here from time to time and we have been to Belgrade once. We see each other online a lot and hardly notice that they’re not actually here”
“The distance between Amsterdam and Belgrade is no practical obstacle for smooth cooperation. The team members use apps to translate documents into English. They can log in on our IT platform and then work on our servers”