Katherine Grover, Semafone CFO, gives her views on the year ahead – 2017
What have been the biggest challenges for your business over the past year, and what role did finance play in addressing them?
In 2016, we officially launched our business in North America, and needed to set up our US subsidiary and put in the infrastructure to support this, including bank accounts and tax advisers.
It also meant we had to hire our first Boston-based employees and provide them with everything they needed from office space to healthcare plans.
It takes time to find the right advisers and suppliers, but I’ve learnt that it is worth investing that time upfront to get it right. One year on we now have a great team in the US that has reached ten, and is set to grow further next year. This will bring its own challenges as we work to maintain our culture, values and regular communications, all without eating too far into profit margins.
What are the key political and economic risks/opportunities you face in the year ahead?
So far, Brexit has been good for us with our rapidly growing US$ revenues, giving an even bigger boost to revenue when we convert back into sterling.
The big opportunity for us in building on our growth is the demand for our solution in the US.
Thanks to the introduction of chip and pin cards over the last year, the North American market has seen a steep rise in fraud levels in card-not-present transactions, as criminals move from targeting point-of-sale transactions to online, mail and telephone order channels in an effort to circumvent the added security given by chip and pin.