Steve – Finance Manager

Steve – Finance Manager

STEVE

Finance Manager
London
Joined: 2012

Last year, a few members of our Chicago-based Finance team had the chance to relocate to London in order to establish a center of operations for international finance. Steve was one of those lucky Finance Managers who made the move, bringing his expert karaoke skills across the pond to Groupon’s London office.

So tell us about your job! What do you do every day? What do you love about it?

I work in the Financial Planning and Analysis organization, which forecasts our performance and helps communicate our results to senior leadership.  We’re responsible for all countries outside of North America. It’s very interesting to interact with the folks who are running the business day-to-day and to see their perspective on what makes their business tick. Learning happens on both sides of the table. The exposure is great as we have meetings with everyone up to the CEO.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

We had a mariachi band come to the office one day to play for us. They were fantastic; it’s the kind of randomness that makes working at Groupon fun and unique.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the hard work of the team that reports to me. They have incredible drive, passion, and dedication to moving the ball forward on new projects and making us work smarter every day.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I was really impressed with how passionate everyone was; my team’s function was relatively new when I joined, and everyone was excited to establish what our focus should be and how we could push forward our team’s mission. I think that kind of “blank slate” made the first few months—which are normally stressful or slow in a new job—super fun and engaging.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

My team’s work is used by the leadership as a source of truth to help them understand how their decisions are shaping the results of the business. The finance team is always working to understand how customer behaviour is reacting to a change in how we operate or a new product we offer.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on in your time here?

I think taking over the international FP&A team earlier this year was the biggest challenge. I had never done FP&A before, and the team was also relatively new to the business. We also need to work across a few different time zones, as my manager is in Chicago and we also look after Japan and Australia.

Your role exists in other companies, so what makes your job at Groupon unique?

For me, it’s always been the great way that finance works day-to-day with the leadership teams operating the business; we aren’t in our own silo but instead part of the greater team. This leads to great opportunities to get your thoughts heard and to help with key decisions.

What’s your biggest accomplishment while working here?

18 months ago, a group of us from the Chicago office relocated to London to help establish a centre of operations for the international finance team. We were able to transfer some of the knowledge and process we established in North America’s business, as well as learn a whole lot from the business leaders in our EMEA and APAC businesses. I think it was a great success and we’ve been able to build a stronger global team from the project.

What do your parents think you do?

I’m not sure, but I hope they think I operate a giant coupon printing press, monitoring ink levels and stressing out about card stock quality…

What’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?

I was in investment banking prior to joining Groupon. Investment banking was super presentation-oriented as opposed to a ton of analysis, which was the piece I was more interested in. I wanted to work in a more casual and fast-paced environment, so I was drawn to Tech. I actually just applied straight through the website and got a response the very same day! I remember being the most formally-dressed person in the building when I came in for my interview and was surprised to find that a lot of the other people I interviewed with had similar backgrounds to mine. They came from more traditional finance roles and then switched over to the tech industry.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?

Maybe a head chef? I love food and wish I was better at making some for myself!

What’s your favorite local business?

It has to be “The Orange Buffalo.” It’s a Buffalo wing food truck in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London, and it reminds us of home!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am the finest karaoke performer on my team.

What are you up to when you’re not at work?

I love to travel; I just reached 33 countries the other day. Living over here has opened up the door to a ton of cheap flights to great places. Since moving here I’ve traveled to France, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Poland, Morocco, Japan… the list goes on!

Groupon World Headquarters

Ricardo Rehkopf – Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services

Ricardo Rehkopf – Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services

RICARDO REHKOPF

Director of Global Payroll & Shared Services
London, UK
Joined: 2013

We had no idea Ricardo was such a big deal in the payroll world. He has been featured in Payroll World Magazine where he talked about how Groupon manages global payroll and compliance. Today, he’s on the blog talking about his global team and his love for travel and cooking.

How does your role impact Groupon’s mission of building the local habit in local commerce?

The work that my team and I do globally—essentially making sure that all employees and vendors get paid accurately and on time—contributes substantially to satisfaction, motivates productivity levels across the entire business, and thus helps Groupon better achieve its overarching business objectives.

What’s your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I’m very proud that my team and I were able to standardise and centralise all of Groupon’s payroll processes, covering all countries in all their legal, financial, procedural, and organisational complexities paving the way to effectively utilise one single system. I am also very proud to have done the same for our AP Shared services in India. They’re a fabulous team to have and are now processing all international AP and employee expenses for EMEA & APAC.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

This past summer, we went on a treasure hunt to discover London around our office. Looking for clues, finding the treasure, and having a few drinks along the way was a lot of fun!

Who or what inspires you?

My friends and family inspire me, as well as some famous entrepreneurs and writers, like Richard Branson and Paulo Coelho.

So what’s your job like? What do you love about it?

I work in the Payroll department and International Trade AP Shared Services, managing all of our countries around the world. I make sure all payroll processes are in place and that we all get paid accurately and on time. I have a team helping me with the payroll operations based in Bangalore, Milan, London, Paris, and Dublin, and my team in the International Trade AP Shared Services sits in Bangalore.

I’m based in London and I travel to all the different locations where my teams are, I also travel to Chicago where my manager is: Jenni Weinacht. I love my job because it is fun, every day is different, I like the different cultures and diversity I work with, and my team is so great to work with.

Working at Groupon has provided me with exposure to a great deal of network outside and inside Groupon and learning experience in the e-commerce industry. I’ve been a panelist to a few payroll events and seminars in the payroll world and I’ve also featured in the Payroll World Magazine in May last year.

What do your parents think you do?

They think I’m a lawyer…

So what’d you do before Groupon and what brought you here?

I am a true payroll veteran with more than 20 years under my belt having worked for different organisations in North America and Europe. I focus on strategic payroll issues and efficiency gains in global payroll and payroll/HR software systems. Prior to Groupon, I worked for Thomson Reuters, Avid Technology, Celergo in the UK, and CPEhr out of California.

As a payroll veteran, what makes Groupon a unique place to work?

Groupon is simply a cool and flexible place to work. The people make all the difference and that is where Groupon differentiates itself as an organisation. There are so many great people working here who are intrinsically motivated and dedicated to being successful. Personally, I truly enjoy the freedom of applying my skills in creative ways.

If you could have any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be a restaurant chef at a Michelin star restaurant. I have a great passion for cooking and experiencing beautiful food in a social setting.

What’s your favorite local business?

NOPI, an Ottolenghi restaurant in Central London.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

The most challenging part of my work since being at Groupon was transitioning all countries to a single payroll provider as well as supporting the HR team in implementing a new HR system. Nevertheless, it was great fun doing so.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I love spending time with my partner traveling different countries and places. My favourite pastime is cooking and dining out, and spending time with friends. I also like playing paddle tennis and doing yoga, and during the winter season, I enjoy skiing.

What’s your favorite office view?

London Office

Ernesto Martin – Senior Finance Manager

Ernesto Martin – Senior Finance Manager

ERNESTO MARTIN

Senior Finance Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

Ernesto’s mom may believe he’s actively trying to work as far away from Spain as possible, but if we had the opportunity to work in 4 countries and try our hand at acting, we too would pack our bags and go wherever Groupon sent us.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Lots of options after 4 years in many countries! In Madrid’s office, we always produced our own content for Halloween, Christmas, and other events, and I had the honor to try acting a bit in 2014.

Tell us about your day-to-day work.

I manage the Finance side of Sales for North America. We work with different departments to make sure that our Sales team can have the tools to improve their efficiency. We help model new initiatives and tests. Finally, my team is in charge to set up compensation schemes and get Sales team paid in a timely, accurate, compliant manner.

Give us some background on your where you started and how you got to where you are now!

I joined as Finance Manager for Spain and Portugal as a member of the Southern Europe Finance team. As we grew the business and started to generate standard processes, I was offered a chance to join the European team in London that created a central finance function for the International Business. My job was to manage all processes related to Sales. I was the Business Finance partner for Sales, Sales Ops, Sales Compensation, and Merchant Payments. Groupon asked me to leverage that knowledge acquired in the international markets and move to Chicago to continue my work in Sales Finance, and here I am now! Groupon is a global business that allows us to grow and get out of our comfort zones.

What’s challenging about your work?

Sales Finance in international is quite challenging, as you need to coordinate different countries, languages, opinions, and timezones.

Who inspires you?

Anybody who is able to challenge the status quo and motivate the rest of us to improve things.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

From the very first day, I believed that Groupon had a rich culture with regards to ownership and inclusion. All opinions are respected and it is really easy to share your ideas and to see the impact of what you do. I also had the feeling that things were a bit messy in the beginning and now I feel really impressed about how much we have improved over time.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

We try to maximize the potential of the sales team, making sure that we can get as many relevant deals as possible available for our users.

OK, so your role probably (definitely) exists at other companies, so why Groupon? What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

Groupon sales process is very complex. You need to be able to show to merchants how Groupon can help their business, but that is just half of it, as you also need to set a successful deal structure. The fact that our sales reps are not selling a closed product means that they all need to be experts in every single category they cover. We have an army of extremely talented salespeople and a constant need to update our assumptions. Nowhere else you can get the adrenaline of knowing you can always beat yourself.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I love traveling and tennis. I am also in love with Chicago’s steakhouses, and that is ruining my budget for traveling and my body for tennis.  🙂

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

Sales, the most important department in almost every company!

What’s your favorite local business?

Any business on Groupon+

What’s your biggest accomplishment while at Groupon?

We created a centralized process for deal approval and special redemptions for international. We had to coordinate Risk, Finance, Merchant Payments, Accounting, Sales and Global operations for all countries and all lines of business. The process was relevant and gave me a lot of exposure to all levels of management, as I was the owner of the project and had the chance to make a positive impact in management efficiency and forecasting accuracy across the region. I learned a lot about coordinating teams in different time zones and process compliance. Also, some commercial skills as we were constantly exposed to ongoing negotiations with our merchants. 

What do your parents think you do?

My mother believes I intentionally pick any job opportunity that gets me further away from Spain.

Why do you participate in Groupon en Español?

I just joined Groupon en Español, and so far, after a couple of activities, I think it is a great way to interact with other colleagues and also see the impact that your employer has in the community.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I like music festivals and techno music. This summer I went to Burning Man and I will try to repeat next year.

 

 

GrouponEnEspanol

Groupon World Headquarters

Mina Samaan – Accounting Manager

Mina Samaan – Accounting Manager

MINA SAMAAN

Accounting Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

Favorite conference room?

After joining Groupon, Mina has worked his way up from Senior Accountant to Accounting Manager, traveled the world, and centralized and organized a major international project. Not bad for only being 2 years in!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I have a ton of awesome memories in this office, but one in particular sticks out the most. It was during the holidays and our team did Secret Santa at 4 pm and finished around 5. From there we randomly decided to hang out and play board games; next thing we knew it’s midnight and we’re all still there having a blast! Honestly, in that moment I realized we’re not just co-workers, but also friends who have a blast with one another.

Who inspires you the most?

My parents! They came to this country when I was very little to give me a better future. They had very little money but worked extremely hard to make something of themselves. They taught me that nothing is given to you in this life, but rather you must work in order to succeed. Along with what’s truly important is to respect and admire others along the way.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of becoming the daily habit in local commerce?

On the accounting side, it’s a bit difficult to directly impact this habit. However, I truly believe we do impact this habit in an indirect way. By correctly recording our financials, we are able to efficiently report on trends that help leaders make decisions that will positively impact the business.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

I started at Groupon as a Senior Accountant. My job was to come in and take on this project called “Intercompany,” which is the allocation of expenses internally. In the past, this project was very messy and sporadically spread across the globe. I came in and quickly began to learn from some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. Slowly I started to centralize the project in North America and was rewarded by being promoted to Accounting Manager. Within two years, my team and I were able to complete the largest portions of this project, and get Intercompany back in control. Along the way, I was able to fly to different countries and meet some amazing people.

What do your parents think you do?

“My son works at a place that convinces stores to give discounts on their site, and then give his company money at the same time….I know… it makes zero sense .” It’s as if I work for the Mafia, geez!

What did you do before Groupon?

Before Groupon, I worked for a small media company. It was awesome, but I wanted something more. But one day a Groupon recruiter reached out via LinkedIn; I wasn’t actually looking for a job at the time, but I replied anyway. Next thing I knew, I had an interview scheduled. What’s even crazier is halfway through my drive to the interview, I thought about turning around. Then I thought  “what’s the harm,” and came in. Once I walked into Groupon, I knew I wanted to be here!

What’s your favorite local business?

Fontano’s Subs. A+!

Accounting roles obviously exist in most companies, so what makes your work here interesting?

Groupon is extremely complicated as a business; we are seeing and solving new challenges every day. At other more established companies, they’ve been doing the same thing for years. To me, that’s just boring.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I’m about to have my first child in January!

Groupon World Headquarters

Esther – Head of Global Merchant Payments

Esther – Head of Global Merchant Payments

ESTHER

Head of Global Merchant Payments
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

Esther may not be president of the United States, but she’s clearly a leader in the Global Merchant Payments world of Groupon.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I have witnessed a lot of random and crazy things in the past 7 years. There are so many times that I think back and realize how fortunate I am to have these wild and crazy stories. One notable moment would be the day we went public on November 4, 2011. At 5 pm the day before, we received a company-wide email titled “IMPORTANT: All Chicago Staff Training Tomorrow – 8 AM.” Back then, it was extremely rare to get any emails saying something was “mandatory,” so we all knew the business was not messing around. When we all got in that morning people headed to their designated meeting areas to be met with champagne and cake! The whole day ended up being such a fun celebration. It was even more memorable to have been in Customer Service at the time. All of our phone calls that day seemed less like work and more like thanking our customers for their appreciation and commitment.

What’s your favorite local business?

I love Cesar’s Restaurant that we run periodically on Groupon!

What’s unique about Groupon as a work environment?

Groupon has given me unique opportunities to learn and grow, which I feel are really specific to this company. The investment they have made in hard-working individuals goes beyond what people are qualified to do on paper. I have also met some of my closest friends here and although some have moved on; we all know that Groupon has something special.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of becoming the daily habit in local commerce?

Being in Merchant Payments, my team is constantly thinking about our merchants. We know that accuracy and timeliness on our end help our overall relationship with our merchant base. We work hard every day to help other teams do their job without boundaries or complications.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here (so far)?

I love watching my team grow. Being a manager in both Customer Service and Accounting, I have managed a lot of people. I love seeing others succeed both inside and outside of Groupon. I have seen some of my former employees become managers, top sales members, project managers, actors, stay-at-home parents, and many others that have gone back to school to become something entirely new and challenging.

Give us a glimpse of your workspace.

“Groupon has given me unique opportunities to learn and grow, which I feel are really specific to this company. The investment they have made in hard-working individuals goes beyond what people are qualified to do on paper.”

Why do you participate in Parents@Groupon?

I love getting to know others throughout the company. As a mother, it has been extremely valuable to meet other through parents at Groupon and see how we are all working through the challenges of work/life balance. It is also amazing to see what Groupon is capable of when we all come together!

What does your mom think you do?

“You manage a crew of people and process a lot of money for your merchants/vendors.”

Have you won any awards here?

Not yet! But in 8th grade, I won “Most likely to become president.”

Who or what inspires you?

My mom is my inspiration. A mother of 4, she has never given up on any of us. She is an elementary school principal who is dedicated to education and the growth of our communities. She is a loving mother who thinks we can never do any wrong and she is the best grandmother to my son. She is the textbook mother and grandmother who still gives us money to spend on our birthdays and spoils her grandkids any second she can. My mother never told us that something was impossible; for her, she worked hard through her years and always looked for the alternative solution when things got difficult.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I thought Groupon was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?

I really want to be a celebrity’s assistant. Not sure why… just seems really busy and exciting.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I started at Groupon on my birthday! Having to write ‘today’s date’ and my birthday on all of the HR paperwork made for some messy penmanship (I kept messing up the years!)

What did you do before joining Groupon?

I went to school to become an English teacher. After substitute teaching for a little bit, it was hard to find a full-time job. An opportunity came up to be a Customer Service Representative and I remember my husband telling me that this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I took the job and never looked back!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Daily payments for –

Merchants who run on Groupon –

Get your deal today

Parents@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters

Ron Klein – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Groupon+

Ron Klein – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Groupon+

RON KLEIN

Senior Marketing Product Manager, Groupon+
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

It’s only been a few years, and Ron has already moved up from Financial Analyst to the Go-To-Market Lead for Groupon’s hottest new product launch: Groupon+. On the side, he’s imagining himself as the GM of the Detroit Pistons.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

With Groupon+ we are redefining the way users redeem discounts: completely voucher-less. If we are successful in our ability to scale, users will be able to find local restaurants on our platform easily and be able to get discounted food at all of their favorite places. Meanwhile, merchants will gain new customers and improve the frequency of current customers, with no more printouts and no more handing over your phone to the waiter!

Where were you before Groupon?

Before Groupon, I worked in Finance at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. My last role involved cost analysis for hair care and color…not exactly my niche area. When Brent from Groupon Recruiting reached out to me, I was ready to make a move and I always knew I’d end up in Chicago (and in Tech) at some point.

What do your parents think you do?

My parents still think I work in Finance “with money” even though I’ve told them I’ve taken on a new role. In fairness to them, Groupon+ isn’t in Detroit yet.

What’s your favorite spot in the Chicago office?

 

What’s your biggest accomplishment here (so far)?

I am most proud of the early success I have had in taking Groupon+ to market (and ultimately doing that while transitioning out of Finance to Marketing during a 2 month period). We’ve added a ton of new enrollees to the program and have launched multiple large-scale brands on to the Groupon+ platform (e.g. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts).

Have you won any awards while you’ve been here?

Last Place, 2016 Groupon Finance Fantasy Football League

What’s your favorite conference room?

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us!

A few months ago I transitioned from Finance to Marketing as the Groupon+ Go-To-Market Lead. I had been working on Marketing Finance for over a year and a half and I was ready for a new challenge. I heard about the Go-To-Market position from a few people on the team and so I met with some Marketing folks to talk about the role and eventually applied. Working in Marketing Finance meant that I knew everyone in the Marketing organization already and I had built up a really great relationship with those teams, so I knew everyone who was in my interview loop. It was just a great fit and on a product (Groupon+) that I am still extremely excited about.

Transitioning to the Marketing organization has allowed me to develop more Marketing skills, including project management. I’ve also had the benefit of working with a ton of people in different areas of the company (Sales, Merchandising, Product, Marketing, Finance, Legal, Operations, etc). That’s another thing that’s so great about Groupon: you can really create your own career path and gather skills along the way.

“I am just four and a half years out of college and my early successes at Groupon now have me taking a brand new product (Groupon+) to market as the Marketing lead. You don’t get that kind of opportunity elsewhere.”

What makes Groupon different from other companies you’ve worked at?

Working in Tech (and specifically at Groupon) is such a tremendously different atmosphere than more corporate jobs. Since Groupon has not been around for that long, there is: a) a ton opportunity to make an impact in every area, and b) almost no bureaucracy or hoops you have to jump through to get things done.

If you’re hardworking and committed to the company you’re working for, there’s really no better place with more opportunities than Groupon. And I’m not just trying to sell you! Take my story: I am just four and a half years out of college and my early successes at Groupon now have me taking a brand new product (Groupon+) to market as the Marketing lead. You don’t get that kind of opportunity elsewhere.

Who or what inspires you? 

Working on a project or team that has a ton of growth potential and opportunity is what really inspires me. It’s what drew me to Groupon+. The product is on a complete upscale. We’ve gone from 2,000 merchants to almost 3,000 in just a month. We’re doing more and more transactions every month and our Tipster technology is the perfect way to let more and more people know about the product. It’s exciting to get behind a product that all consumers should inherently want: cash back at restaurants they are already going to.

What’s your favorite local business?

Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. PIZZA. POT. PIE.

 What was your first impression of Groupon?

When I visited for my interview, I was probably more blown away by the culture than anything else. The 4th floor of Groupon is honestly just a fun space to walk through with products everywhere and the culture of the the sales staff spread all around. It was fun, quirky, and clearly a place I wanted to work.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would take Stan Van Gundy’s job as General Manager of the Detroit Pistons. I’d proceed to trade Reggie Jackson and build a dynasty in just under 24 hours.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Great deals are needed –

for a discount company –

that wants to succeed

 

Groupon World Headquarters

Aline Yamamoto – Financial Controller, APAC

Aline Yamamoto – Financial Controller, APAC

ALINE YAMAMOTO

Financial Controller for APAC
Sydney, Australia
Joined: 2015

Brazilian-born Aline runs APAC’s accounting and tax functions from Sydney, all while staying caffeinated and connected to her global teammates.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

The Sydney office is pretty good at surprising its employees. One day we had “Bike ‘n Blend” at the office, which was essentially a bike in the kitchen with a blender attached to it. All you had to do was choose the ingredients, cycle, and you would have your smoothie prepared by your own cycling efforts!

Who or what inspires you?

My family inspires me. They taught me to be a strong, independent woman, and to never give up no matter how hard things can get.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

As the business is always looking for ways to improve customer experience and ROI for our merchants, I need to make sure that we are doing the right thing from accounting and tax perspectives. Luckily, we have great communication between the departments in ANZ, which makes my job much easier in identifying issues and finding solutions for potential problems.

What’s your favorite conference room?

“Although I am literally on the other side of the world (Australia), I have the full support of my manager and also other areas of the business. I am never alone! I feel we are all working toward the same goal.”

So where were you before joining Groupon and what brought you here?

I worked at Ernst & Young in the audit function for 9 years. One morning, we had our all hands and the Oceania CEO said that people should update their CV every 6 months so they could track what they have learned. He said, “If there isn’t much to be added then you need to do something about it.” That made me reflect and I realized that although I had had an amazing 9 years with E&Y, it was time for me to move on as I did not see myself as a Partner and I wanted to try something different. That night I applied for a role—which happened to be with Groupon—and on Monday I accepted an offer! Everything happened very quickly, basically within 4 business days! It was the best move for me as a person and for my career and I have absolutely no regrets.

What’s your proudest Groupon accomplishment?

I joined Groupon in May 2015 as a Finance Manager for ANZ. In January 2016, I got promoted to Financial Controller for ANZ, and after one year to Financial Controller for APAC. I now oversee Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the India accounting teams. For me, having this international experience with so many amazing people from different countries and backgrounds is awesome. Although it has been only 2.5 years since I joined, I’ve learned and experienced so much! There has not been one day that I feel bored at Groupon; I truly enjoy coming to work every single day. I’ve had so many great opportunities and exposure to things that I am 100% sure no other company would give me. I’m very grateful for everything that I have been through and also for all the opportunities that my managers and Groupon give me.

What do your parents think you do?

They think “I run this place!” The problem is that they just don’t think: they actually tell all their friends in Brazil (I am from Brazil!) It is embarrassing! I told them people can actually see on my LinkedIn profile what I do so they should stop saying this!

Accounting roles obviously exist at many companies, so what’s unique about your role here?

The international experience is something not many companies could offer. I love liaising with teams across the globe in so many different departments. I usually start my day with speaking to Chicago, then with Japan throughout the day, and finish with India and EMEA. Also, having exposure to so many different areas and new ways of doing things is something that is unique to Groupon. Although I am literally on the other side of the world (Australia), I have the full support of my manager and also other areas of the business. I am never alone! I feel we are all working toward the same goal and that I am part of “one team, one dream.” For me, all of these things make my experience with Groupon unique and it would be very hard to find anything better anywhere else.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would be a barista. I love Art Latte! People in Sydney take coffee very seriously: never mess with it!

What’s your favorite local business?

Siam Orchid, a massage place next to our Sydney office.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Make life less boring—

With customer happiness–

This is fulfilling

Sydney Office

Kaylee Kramer – Recruiting Manager

Kaylee Kramer – Recruiting Manager

KAYLEE KRAMER

Recruiting Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2013

When she’s not filling roles in Tax or Accounting, you might find Kaylee making music videos, talking extensively about desserts, or getting her photo taken during Halloween at the office. (No, those handprints are not real!)

What teams do you primarily hire for in Chicago?

Tax and Accounting

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind while they’re interviewing at Groupon?

Interviewing is awkward, we get that! Try to be yourself as much as you can. We will make the interview as conversational as possible. Also, do your research! Include some facts that you’ve learned about Groupon in your answers.

What should a candidate know about how to work with you during the recruiting process?

I am going to be as honest as possible. I find that my candidates really appreciate that level of candor. In return, I ask that candidates be open and honest with me!

What gets candidates really excited about Groupon?

Candidates love to hear about our ERG’s and that there are so many ways to get involved at Groupon besides the day-to-day work. They love hearing about how much Grouponers give back to the community and how we foster a diverse culture!

What’s the best way for a candidate to prepare for an interview?

Know your resume! Anything written on your resume is fair game to ask about. Have questions prepared for each person you are meeting with!

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

In order for us to grow our business and continue to meet customers’ needs we need to have the right people in place at our company. My job is to help attract and retain the top talent we need!

What is your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I have really been able to grow my career here. My hard work and dedication has allowed me to be promoted here twice. Being a manager has always been my end goal and I am so excited to take on this new challenge!

What do your parents think you do?

My parents think I have the power to make CEO type decisions…

If you could have any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

Security Guard. I bet they see some crazy stuff! I would also yell at everyone to wear their badges.

Who or what inspires you?

My parents. They have shown me how to balance working hard, taking care of yourself, and how to have a good time!

What makes Groupon unique?

I feel like lots of people will say this BUT the people! I have literally met my best friend and boyfriend at Groupon. Hard to beat that!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I know at Groupon cats are sort of our mascot, but I actually really dislike cats. I am scared of them.

 

Groupon World Headquarters

From Sydney to Chicago, Niamath Talks Finance

From Sydney to Chicago, Niamath Talks Finance

Name: Niamath
Title: Senior Financial Analyst, North America FP&A
Start Date: March 2015

You were at GE [in Australia!] prior to joining Groupon. Aside from wanting to move back to the States, what were some other factors in your job search?

Besides wanting to be closer to family, I really wanted a change of pace. The work I was doing at the time didn’t really align with my long-term vision for my career, and I didn’t work directly in corporate finance which was my preferred function.  After being in two different leadership programs within GE for 2+ years, I knew I still wanted to be in a learning environment, which typically correlates with how long one is expected to stay in a role. The longest I had been in a role at GE was six months and the shortest was one month. In every role, I was expected to get up to speed extremely quickly and be able to contribute within the first few days. I knew I still wanted that level of learning in my next role. Lastly, while I appreciated the discipline and structure GE provided, I knew that my career would be better served—at least in the earlier stages—being in an environment where the wheel was not necessarily already built. When you are asked to do something that no one else in the firm has already done is when true learning can happen.

When did Groupon get on your radar and when did you know this is somewhere you wanted to work?

As luck would have it, Groupon found me! Around the time I was looking for my new role, Lauren reached out to me to describe some of the opportunities available in Groupon’s Finance organization. After meeting the Groupon crew, three things immediately stuck out to me:

  1. the flat finance organization
  2. increased responsibility at the junior level
  3. the collegial and collaborative culture

I remember thinking to myself at the time that this could be the place where I’d work on some really cool, impactful projects that are highly visible to the senior leaders and where I can actually be friends with my colleagues. After the in-person interview with the team, I was immediately drawn to the friendly culture and the challenges that the team was currently facing. At that point, I knew I wanted to work at Groupon.

How does working here challenge you?

In my eight months here, I have already done two roles, parts of a third role, worked on multiple projects, and have worked for multiple managers. The constant change is challenging, sure, but I think it really drives learning, especially given that I am used to switching roles no more than every six months. Specifically, I was recently involved with our restructuring efforts across the firm. I think the compressed timeline, the breadth of the project, and the wide audience (internal and external) really underscored the visibility as well as the intensity of the project. Nonetheless, I learned about different restructuring laws across the world and honed my modeling skills.

What has surprised you most about working here?

 Even though the fast-paced culture was emphasized to me from the beginning, I was still surprised at how fast we move. Honestly, when I first started it was a bit frustrating when in the morning everyone seemingly agrees on one thing but by the end of the day, assumptions change and with it so must the deliverable. The culture I was accustomed to did not have constant changes on the fly. However, over time I learned that things at Groupon do really change that quickly; within a matter of hours you can find out if a recently instituted campaign is working with our customers, and depending on expectations, that could change the course of your deliverable or work. This took some getting used to, but I can firmly say that I am not surprised at whatever pivot we have to do because I know—more often than not at Groupon—it is due to better information.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in joining Groupon Finance, or maybe hasn’t considered Groupon as an option?

Almost every firm says that they move fast, but rarely does that really ring true across the organization. At Groupon, change is constant as is the real world, which is why I think it is a great driver for learning. So, be open to change and even welcome it: you are doing yourself a disservice if there isn’t change, whether that be in your role, project, deliverable, etc. Information isn’t constant, so your role shouldn’t be either.

Anything else?

I am a huge Michigan sports fan (one of three so far to bleed maize and blue!) and have been to at least one home football game in Ann Arbor for seven years now. I expect that streak to continue at least until my kids graduate! Go Blue!

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Check out our Senior Finance Analyst opening!

Shane on Team Culture & Ownership Advocacy

Shane on Team Culture & Ownership Advocacy

Today we’ll get to know Shane Stanford, a Senior Engineering Manager who leads three Tech teams in Chicago and Berlin.

Name: Shane Stanford
Title: Senior Engineering Manager
Start date: 4/11/2011

What do you do?

I lead an Engineering organization that consists of 3 unique teams: Finance Engineering, Voucher Inventory Engineering, and Financial Data Engineering. I spend a majority of my time coaching team managers and senior engineers and guiding those teams through strategic planning and delivery processes.

Finance Engineering – When I started at Groupon, the Finance Engineering team did not exist. Across the world, Groupon paid its merchants using spreadsheets. There was no common way to do this and there were few systems to help. I was one of the founding members of the Finance Engineering team that took on the mission of automating merchant payments globally. Today, this team ensures Groupon merchants all over the world get paid accurately and on time with a payment platform that sends hundreds of thousands of payments to our merchants every month.

Voucher Inventory Engineering – This team develops the platform that keeps track of the deal options you could buy on Groupon and the vouchers that you actually purchase. So, when you pick an option under the buy button or go to look at “My Groupons,” that’s the stuff this team cares about. Our platform tracks hundreds of thousands of inventory products and millions of purchased units.

Financial Data Engineering – The Financial Data Engineering team is located in Berlin. Hallo! They work on ETL processes and reporting for our international accounting team. They make sure our business has accurate and timely numbers to report and understand.

What’s challenging about the work your teams do? 

In a single word: scale.

  • 10,000,000+ requests to our services
  • 300,000 requests to inventory service a minute at peak
  • 100,000+ merchant payments
  • 100,000+ inventory products for consumers to purchase
  • 50 services talking to our services from all kinds of different teams at Groupon
  • 30+ countries relying on our reporting and accuracy

…no big deal.

What do you love about what you do? 

I really enjoy working with people and helping them reach their goals, both with engineering skills and career planning and advancement. I also like simply being in front of a whiteboard with a bunch of people and solving a problem as a team.

You’re a big advocate of culture; can you describe what your team’s culture like?

One of the most important factors in developing a strong team culture is ownership. We do a lot to try to own our culture and talk about our values. For example, we hold quarterly and weekly culture retrospectives where we discuss what’s working and what isn’t. We also conduct a retrospective anytime someone joins the team, as we believe our culture evolves with every new team member.

Something I’m also super passionate about is inclusion and diversity. Over time, we’ve developed some best practices that have helped us better celebrate diversity, such as:

  • Individualizing and tailoring our onboarding process to reflect that every new team member is unique
  • Discussing team culture with new team members so they understand its value
  • Recognizing colleagues’ emotions as important signals and finding ways to address any issues that arise
  • Calling out problematic words and actions and discussing appropriate team behavior and language

How much direct impact can your teammates have on the business?

All three teams have significant and broad impact on the business, from internal operations to merchants and consumers. Most consumer purchases and merchant payments are handled by our services as they pass through Groupon.

Is there a lot of ownership?

Yes, and not only with culture. I believe engineering ownership is the key to innovation.

Favorite Groupon memory?

When the Finance Engineering team rolled out our merchant payment platform internationally, we bought a giant 20’ banner that read “Mission Accomplished!” and hung it haphazardly above our work area. It was a reference to a certain presidential speech… well, you can probably figure it out. Of course there was still tons of work to do but it was great to celebrate the accomplishment. We now use the phrase, “When can we raise the banner?” when we want to talk about what success looks like at the end of a project.

 

Jenni, Senior Director of Accounting for the Americas

Jenni, Senior Director of Accounting for the Americas

Today we chat with Jenni, one of Groupon’s first Accounting employees.

Name: Jenni
Title: Senior Director Accounting, Americas
Start date: November 2009

You were one of Groupon’s first Accounting employees. How have things changed since 2009? 

It’s so hard to compare then and now, especially in the Accounting and Finance organizations. Back then, I knew most of the sales reps, we used to walk checks over to the CEO to sign…it was really more of a startup. Now, we’re such a big company. Expectations are still the same, but it’s a more scheduled and controlled (albeit constantly moving and chaotic) environment like the early days.

What brought you here?

I started my career in public accounting and got my CPA. I then went into fund accounting and worked for a large bank and hedge fund for a few years. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to go back to traditional accounting, so I went to work for a restaurant group in Chicago. In 2009, people were starting to talk about Groupon and I saw a job posting for Controller. I applied and ended up getting the job, and the rest is history.

Did you know what you were getting into when you joined Groupon? 

To a degree, yes. Accounting in the restaurant industry or at a small company requires wearing a lot of hats. You really do everything, as often times companies don’t have HR or Finance departments. Accounting tends to be some of the first roles you hire for, and those roles take on a lot of back-office responsibilities. Once I started at Groupon, I didn’t know how much we were going to expand. I kind of miss the days where we were wearing tons of hats and figuring out new challenges everyday. Scaling during our high-growth years was especially challenging. We quickly went from 5 cities with 1 deal per day to 100 cities with both a feature deal and side deal. At the time, we didn’t have the robust technology we do now, so everything in Accounting was very manual.

What makes Accounting at Groupon unique?

We’re different than other Accounting teams at other companies because we’re very engrained with the business. I’ve been here for 5.5 years for a reason. Accounting has a lot of routine to it, but when you work for a company like this you have constant challenges and opportunities. At the end of the day, we have a fairly small team and we share a lot of ideas. Just being a tech company in Chicago, we have so many bright people working here and we’re constantly being challenged by the next person who joins the organization. Having the international experience is huge and collaborating with the business is something that doesn’t happen in Accounting at most companies.

Anything else? 

I have a family with 2 kids and I’ve found Groupon to be a great place to work as a mother. I was able to work from home once a week for the first couple years, which was really helpful. From a career perspective, the one thing I like about Groupon is they reward hard workers. I get asked in interviews all the time why I’ve stayed here for so long. When my boss saw that things were starting to get routine for me, he encouraged me to take on the challenge of an additional region, so now I oversee the Latin America accounting teams as well. I was hesitant at first, but he believed in me and it’s been so great for my career and professional development. Your managers trust you and reward hard work, and I try to do the same for my team.

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. We’re hiring in Accounting! Click here to check out a current opening we have on Jenni’s team.

Senior Finance Analyst Kristin

Senior Finance Analyst Kristin

Today we get to know Kristin Bandurski, a Senior Financial Analyst who helped get our Kentucky warehouse up and running and also loves to run in the mud for fun.

Name: Kristin
Title: Senior Financial Analyst (or “SFA” in Finance-speak)
Start Date: August 2013

What brought you to Groupon?

Before coming to Groupon, I worked in Accounting at Pepsi. I wasn’t actively looking for a new company, but I was interested in moving to the Finance/Operations side of the business. I was contacted by one of Groupon’s Finance recruiters about an Accounting opportunity that would interface with operations, specifically Groupon Goods inventory. The role was interesting to me because it was more ops-focused but would still allow me to apply my Accounting knowledge in a new capacity.

After talking on the phone with Recruiting, it sounded like a great opportunity and I came in for a round of interviews at the office. I loved the energy at Groupon and I was especially excited about the idea of writing my own policies. At my previous company, I was able to implement policies and processes, but they were at a small scale. At Groupon, I have the chance to write impactful policies that affect the business more directly.

How did you transition to Finance from Accounting?

About 9 months after joining Groupon, I moved into a role as a Senior Financial Analyst, which isn’t always easy to do. I participated in a rotational program in Finance which prepared me for my transition, and I was also supported by my manager and team. I have never heard someone on the Finance team say, “You don’t know what you’re doing because you’re from Accounting.” You don’t always find this kind of inclusivity at a company, and it’s been great to be in an environment that operates this way.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on so far and what’s next for you?

By far the most exciting thing for me has been opening our Goods warehouse in Kentucky! Before we officially opened the warehouse, I went down to Hebron and helped write the book about what data we needed and how it should be output in order for us to do our Accounting properly. It’s complicated, but interesting! It was a unique opportunity to be so engaged and hands-on with a new business unit from its inception to launch. The amount of knowledge I’ve learned here is astounding. I could not imagine learning this much anywhere else, it’s been a wonderful place for career development for me. Ultimately, I want to support a revenue channel and learn how we forecast for income.

Anything else?

I love to do mud runs and obstacle courses! You think your desk job is hard until you’re in the middle of a forest climbing a mountain while covered in mud in 200-degree weather. I’ve done Tough Mudder, some Spartan Races, and Warrior Dashes. I tried one of the toughest Spartan races available: it was a 13-mile mountain run and I ran for about 7 miles when I hit my wall. At one point during the run, you had to squat down and go through a tube, and after about 40 tries I physically couldn’t squat. I’ve never pushed myself so hard that I had to stop. It was cool to get to that level so next time I know where to push harder.

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Want to apply your Finance or Accounting knowledge to a role here at Groupon? Check out our current openings here.