Meet our DLC Finance and Accounting Consultant, Cristo Paraskevas!
Meet our Finance and Accounting Consultant, Cristo Paraskevas! Cristo has been a valuable part of DLC Consulting for over 9 years! Get to know him better below!
Hometown: Nogales, AZ
Alma Mater: ITESM, Carnegie Mellon University
Favorite things to do outside of the office: I enjoy being with my family! When not spending time with them, I like to read, cook, draw, swim in the sea, and garden.
How has your background impacted your experience as a consultant? I have experience in multiple areas (Accounting, Finance, Supply Chain, and IT, among others) and many industries. When I’m deployed to a new client, I’m able to look at their circumstances from different perspectives and I’m able to solve my client’s issues in creative ways.
What’s a typical workday like for you? My days follow a familiar pattern: I start the day by reviewing my meeting schedule & the To-Do’s or priorities that I noted the previous day. I check the list of items I’m waiting for and then I take a quick look at my email to see if I received any of them and to check for fire drills. From there, I start working on my priorities, collaborating as needed, and attending meetings and responding to questions. I check in with my client at least once a week, sometimes daily, to ensure priorities are aligned and approaches to solutions are approved. At the end of the day, I review my meeting notes and update my To-Do’s and “waiting for” items and update my schedule for the following day. I start over the next day!
As part of a team that works 100% virtually, what technology or collaboration tools do you use to make your work life easier? TEAMS and SharePoint have been the tools of choice at my clients over the last few years. It is easy to have a video or conference call on the TEAMS platform and sharing files on either application in real time makes collaboration seamless. Each client has had different standards for how to use TEAMS and SharePoint, but the effectiveness of collaborating remains the same.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work every day? I enjoy working with talented people to deliver better outcomes for my clients. Whether it’s through process improvements, project management, or driving expense savings / incremental revenue, I like the work I do.
What kind of work have you been doing? These last two years have been a combination of process improvement & project management work. The biggest challenge my client had was the lack of progress on two critical projects that they were responsible for. Resources had been identified but the project just could not get off the ground. After I was introduced to the team, I focused on establishing amicable, working relationships with everyone and took ownership of the project management responsibilities to ensure everyone involved could focus on bringing their talents (business knowledge, software development skills) to bear on the project. I collaborated to create a workable project plan, got sign off on milestones and timelines from critical stakeholders, and set up weekly working meetings with the team, and daily meetings with the development group. Once we had a process and discipline in place, we worked the plan and were able to deliver the projects on the approved timelines and on budget. By being fair but firm in establishing accountability, I was able to get everyone to pull in the same direction.
Where do you see the benefits? When a project is clearly defined, the scope well understood, and the benefits baseline is established, the benefits can reveal themselves soon after project close out. For example, when one of the projects I mentioned above was completed and the old ways of working were retired, the P&L reflected a lower cost for executing the new process once the books closed on the previous month.
Linking data to finance and accounting, explain environments that have had lack of reporting infrastructure/inefficiencies and how have you brought organization and solutions: I worked at an organization with an immature reporting infrastructure where most of the files the Corporate Finance team worked with were very manual and disconnected from the general ledger. This lead to many hours spent reconciling to other reports and made it difficult to make changes, as leaders looked for additional insights from the data. My first goal was to remove the manual component and rely on the general ledger system to dictate the source of truth. I worked with the system administrator to identify the best existing report that would meet our business needs. At the same time, I discussed options with the SVP of the team, to ensure that any solution I developed would be fit for purpose. As I worked on a template that would take the system generated data and present it in the best way possible, I made sure that the structure was sustainable in the long term and easy to modify as requirements inevitably change. I developed an SOP and clearly articulated the process to the team and handed it off to the team member that would be responsible for maintaining it. My general approach is to ensure data quality and integrity is there and then build a flexible template and process that established a consistent approach that can be used for other reporting needs.
By Chase Raines