Get free access to
In our new series #PeopleOfAccace, we will take you behind the scenes of Accace through a series of interviews. You will learn how new services or solutions are created here, who has been with Accace the longest and what positions they went through over the years. But most importantly, you will get to know our amazing people.
In the second #PeopleOfAccace issue, we interviewed Peter Pašek, Managing Director & Partner of Accace Slovakia. He told us how the services looked like 17 years ago compared to today, what he is most proud of and how he sees the future of Accace in the coming years.
Everything was very fast. I feel like every second month I moved from one place to another because we did not have enough space in the office for our tax team, of which I was a part of. The company was expanding incredibly fast, but we all knew each other in the office personally. Clients were calling over the phone and I felt like the phones were ringing from dawn to dusk. Today, it is hard to imagine, but an incredible number of foreign investors was flowing to Slovakia, and if you knew the language and were a somewhat smart, you could have set off on this wave.
I believe that the needs remain the same, only the way in which they are met is changing. Businesses needed accounting, tax, payroll, and legal services then as well as they need them now. Only the way in which these services are provided has changed. Back then, everything was manual. For example, on the last day of March, all printed tax returns and financial statements were taken and sent by mail to the tax office. These were literally bags full of documents that the receptionists were carrying to the post office hoping the post office would not close before everything was submitted.
A major breakthrough for our payroll processing was when we were able to print discrete payslips, which were printed on special dot matrix printers with a gluing function. Subsequently, TULIP and electronic payslips came into play, which we were the first to use in Slovakia. Later, the implementation of OCR and the extraction of all incoming invoices began. Similar different changes pop up even now every year. Only with the passage of time, a person realizes the significance of the changes. Some services will be crucial for us, while others will disappear. It is important to constantly try to come up with something new.
To be honest, I don’t have as much energy as I did 10 years ago. That’s natural. However, I’m always interested in new things no matter what field they’re in. So I enjoy the period when I don’t understand how things work and I try to figure them out. And it doesn’t have to be about taxes, accounting, or payroll. That’s what I also like about startups. One doesn’t know if they will be successful if they will find the right business model. In business, there are a lot of new things that force people to constantly learn, and not a single person can say he already knows everything. There’s always something new and unknown.
I wake up around 4 am. I have breakfast early in the morning, while reading various foreign and Slovak news portals. Afterwards, I go for a walk with my dog, take my daughter to school and start working. To be honest, I try to have all phone calls or meetings by 2 pm, and then I have time to answer clients’ questions. I have a habit of answering every email containing a question by the end of the day. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years. So, I think every day looks pretty similar. It doesn’t bother me personally and I must admit that I like routine and I don’t need every workday to be different.
Our first articles in the now-non-existent advice column of Trend magazine. I remember a lot of people making jokes that we were helping people who could not afford consulting services. Maybe that was true, but it raised awareness of our company immensely and helped us get into a lot of tenders in the following years. We were also able to keep our advertising expenses extremely low. A side effect was the increase of know-how in areas that we could not have gained just from providing services to our clients.
I think there will be a gradual integration of AI. I’m not that sceptical about being afraid that AI will replace the work of accountants, tax advisors, or payroll specialists in the near future. On the contrary, I believe that it will significantly help them to fulfil activities that are boring and repetitive from a person’s perspective. For example, I believe that the work of an accountant will shift more towards analytical work, when accounting will not only be a basis for filing tax returns, but rather serve as a basis for decision-making by business owners. This already works for large companies, but gradually this need will also arise for small businesses.
Definitely that we have been able to provide services of a high quality over a long period of time and that we have clients who have been with us for more than 15 years. I am proud that we still have a lot of colleagues who are trying to move Accace forward and come up with improvements on how to do things better. This is precisely the sense of belonging that was so strong in the very early days when the company was just starting up. It is even more important nowadays, the Slovak branch being a mature company, when it is no longer all about growth, but rather about how we do things.
I don’t think there is much time when I do absolutely nothing. If I have some free time, I try to read a lot. If I don’t read, I run and even then, I listen to various podcasts and YouTube channels. I simply try to use my time to the fullest. Some people think it’s weird, but I still find work fun, and I don’t see it as something stressful, but rather as a form of relaxation.
I would highlight the diversity of work and the flexibility they will experience here. People often appreciate it only when they leave us. In addition, it is indeed the stability and the fact that the company is privately owned. This gives the company more opportunities and a sense of security for colleagues, for example in the event of unpredictable events, such as COVID-19. As management, we are not accountable to thousands of investors, as it is a case with companies listed on the stock exchange, where the only measure of success is profit and the price of shares. In this way, we can overcome challenging periods even at the expense of profit, but with the aim of maintaining the aforementioned stability.
Maybe that my dream is to own a small ice hockey stadium. To have a small office there with a view to the ice rink and watch the training of young athletes. I admit that there is simply something about the ice rink that has attracted me since I was a child.