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Jelena Knežević, Managing Director, LeitnerLeitner Srbija

Long Journey To Gender Equity

Competence, reliability and speed – these are principles that LeitnerLeitner has been putting into practise for more than 60 years and which represent the key to gaining a competitive edge in business. Consistently high-quality standards have also helped LeitnerLeitner achieve success and constantly increase its locations in CEE and SEE

Large companies have realised that investing in good staff is the most efficient way to achieve desired goals. We have realised that staff development and training brings exceptional results, which are primarily reflected in the better performance of individual members of a company, – explains Mrs Jelena Knežević.

LeitnerLeitner’s success over the past 60 years has been based on the same principles – competence, reliability and speed. What else distinguishes you from the competition in Serbia?

We strongly consider that our team’s outstanding technical skills and the high quality of LeitnerLeitner services are key success factors in Serbia. Whether you are an SME or an international group, we never lose sight of our goal, which is to identify, coordinate and realise optimisation potentials.

Leitner logoOur offices work together closely and across borders. We apply an interdisciplinary and dynamic approach, so that we can explore all possibilities and find the best course of action for each client. Our staff’s expertise and integrity play a decisive role in the process. We also cultivate close personal and tried and tested professional relations with a number of renowned consultancies. In this way, we can eliminate country-specific risks and find the best possible solution, even in complex situations.

One of LeitnerLeitner’s main corporate strengths is caring for our employees, clients and the community. Therefore, in the case of the Coronavirus pandemic, which represents a newly created challenge for all of us, certain risk analyses have been conducted, while measures have been taken to manage those risks adequately; our approach includes our commitment to the safety of our employees and planning to ensure that the company is able to continue to respond, operate and support our clients on a daily basis.

We constantly invest in the education of our employees and hire young talented people who are willing to learn and grow together with us. This enables us to create an excellent team composed of satisfied and motivated people who are willing to work in such an environment and do their best for the company.

As a result, my team has shown its strength and flexibility in its actions during this difficult time. I am proud that we have adapted to all the changes in a very short period, serviced clients without any delays and even gained new ones.

We live in times of constant amendments to legislation, which is why it is crucial to be up to date with all new changes. Are you and your team constantly improving?

That’s why investing in the professional development of employees has become one of the key points on which the success of our company relies. We nurture the professionals in our firm and give employees the space they need to grow into superb advisors. The wide-ranging training system of the LeitnerLeitner Academy guarantees each and every staff member receives comprehensive general training from their first day at the company. Our close contacts with leading universities and pre-eminent European partner institutions allows us to offer training that is well founded and international. Our employees have access to all relevant literature and other sources of information, such as different kinds of web platforms.

LeitnerLeitner

Modern organisations today understand that good results in a highly competitive environment depend solely on attracting, developing and retaining talent. Talented people are becoming a strategic resource, and talent management practises make the difference between good and not so good companies for work and career development. Companies that care about their talented workers create an environment in which every employee is able to learn, develop and unleash their full potential, while achieving both personal and company goals.

The new Government of the Republic of Serbia was recently formed, with the new/old Prime Minister entrusting almost half of all ministerial positions to women. What does this say about us as a society, but also about women?

The participation of a larger number of women in the executive branch is certainly a positive signal, as an example of the inclusion of a larger number of women in more responsible positions. As it is known, of 23 ministries, 10 are headed by women, which is a much higher ratio than we have had in the past. With the new distribution of ministerial functions in the government, Serbia has entered the ranks of the 10 countries that have the best balance when it comes to gender equality in the executive branch. This might also mean creating a different, better, more democratic atmosphere than has been the case so far. Still, it is also important to keep in mind whether they have an essential role in decision-making.

In recent years we’ve noticed a positive trend of more women being involved in decision making and gaining managerial positions

In recent years we’ve noticed a positive trend of more women being involved in decision making and gaining managerial positions. Yet we have statistics showing that men in managerial positions still earn more than women. This is not only the case in Serbia, but everywhere around the world. I think it will be a long journey for us to build up the society with gender equity, thus we must admit that we are on the right track.

How do you see companies run by women from the point of view of a tax advisor?

Being an entrepreneur is, by its very definition, an extremely bold move, both in Serbia and abroad. These are individuals who rely solely on their own knowledge, skills and resources to generate an income. If we add to all this the important role of women in the family, the modern female entrepreneur is exposed to great challenges. The state should recognise this sensitive group of taxpayers and motivate them – primarily with stable incomes during pregnancy and maternity leave, which, as you know, is still shrouded in serious controversy about how to determine benefits for women entrepreneurs.

The company should be run responsibly and with respect for all employees. I am very pleased to see that an increasing number of women are also employed in management positions, and we encourage such an approach within the LeitnerLeitner Group. I think women’s leadership can only add value to a company.

What plans and expectations do you have as we enter 2021, the year in which LeitnerLeitner Serbia will mark and celebrate its first decade of doing business in Serbia?

It has been a great pleasure for me to be at the helm of LeitnerLeitner in Serbia for the past six years, and to have a very successful period behind us, both in terms of the development of the company and the brand on the market, and in developing our employees. A decade of doing business is certainly a great success for us, because the positive outcome of the business is seen in the fact that we are recognised by clients as reliable partners, while we’ve developed a strong and professional teams of experts who are passionate about finding feasible solutions for all tax, audit, payroll and financial advisory issues. In this regard, our plans for the next period are very optimistic. We hope for even greater success and the growth of companies in Serbia.

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