Name: Beatriz Luque
Role: Business Controller
Background: Double bachelor in Business Administration and International Relations. Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid.
Who are you?
I´m Bea, a Spanish adventurer who arrived to Sweden a year ago to start an exciting and challenging experience within H&M. I´m someone positive, outgoing and always willing to learn new things!
Why did you decide to move to Sweden and start working as a Business Controller?
Well, I have always been interested in fashion retail, but I wasn´t sure what kind of opportunities I could pursue within this industry given my background & studies. So I started exploring and found the Business Controller position at the H&M careers website. What caught my attention about the role was the proximity to the day-to-day business and the importance of turning analysis into actions. It wasn´t merely a financial role consisting of analyzing numbers and reporting to someone else, but actually making decisions based on your own analysis. The ownership and responsibility within the role, together with the career opportunities associated with controlling, encouraged me to apply to the position … And here I am!
What do you do as a Business Controller?
As a controller working within assortment, I am responsible for analyzing selling data in order to set future goals, establishing the budget for a season and following up buying levels across different garment groups and markets to secure optimal stock levels. It´s a role where you take part in defining the section´s strategy to maximize the selling and you interact with different teams and stakeholders while turning this strategy into action, such as the buying teams, the sales organizations in the different countries or the global production office.
What was the biggest surprise with the role?
The biggest surprises for me were both the scope and the flexibility within the role.
Scope in terms of working with many different aspects of the business such as selling, planning, buying, profitability, customer focus, market optimization. This means you get an overview of how all these aspects are related and affect each other. And it also means that every day is different! New tendencies to take actions on, a new challenge to embrace.
And flexibility when it comes to deciding what type of controller you want to be. Even if all controllers have similar tasks and objectives to accomplish, the way we accomplish them can be very different. At H&M you explore different tools, methods and approaches, to find a way of working that matches your personality. You are able to be yourself and develop both personally and professionally in the workplace, which is something really valuable.
What is your favorite part of the Business Controller role?
I would say there´s two things I enjoy most about being a controller.
First, the fact that I am (and feel) part of a team. I work closely with the section head and the concept designer, as well as with the buying teams, and we all bring a different perspective to the table. This means that every day I learn something from the people around me and, simultaneously, I feel that my opinion is valued by the rest. We all challenge each other, discuss, and work together to drive a common strategy for the section and deliver what our customer wants. And we do it as one team!
And last, but not least, I enjoy being able to see the impact of my actions. When we make a decision (regarding product, price, color, timing) we see a direct impact in some step of the process: production, allocation to the stores, selling performance. And then you are able to evaluate the result of that decision. If it was a mistake, then you learn. If it was a success, then you think about how to improve and beat that result the next time!