"We recognize the INNO-WISEs project as a great opportunity for learning and acquiring new skills, but also for the digital transformation of our business."
Sandra Magdalenic is the managing director of ACT Konto Ltd. from Croatia. ACT Konto is a non-profit work integration social enterprise specializing in providing professional and quality bookkeeping and accounting services, training and consulting on financial management and management for non-profit organizations. Their clients are NGOs, social enterprises, cooperatives, craftsmen and small businesses. 75% of ACT Konto's workforce consists of persons with disabilities. Any profit generated is reinvested back into the local community, educational programs and work integration of people with disabilities. Employees who have worked for the company for more than two years can enter the ownership structure, so employees are also the owners of the company.
In 2014, ACT Konto won "The Key Difference Award" for diversity in human resources in the category 'Equality of persons with disabilities'.
What is your role and duties in ACT Konto? Which previous experience are you bringing in and which new competences are you hoping to acquire thanks to INNO-WISEs?
I'm the director of ACT Konto for 10 years now. I have worked in the non-profit sector which gave me an inside picture of problems that NGOs and social enterprises are facing, so we could adjust our services to the special needs of our clients. Financial management is something that I do for 15 years now, but as a director, my knowledge has to include team management, sales, project management, planning, marketing, etc…, as well. Marketing and sales are the two things I expect to upgrade through the INNO-WISEs project.
How do you think to use the tools and competencies gained through the project and how do you think they will improve your day-by-day skills and in general your WISE competitiveness?
By developing my competences in management I will become more aware of work processes and HRM and satisfy the needs of our employees with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups that we're working with.
I will use those tools and newly adopted competencies for successful communication with our existing and new clients. Also, for the promotional activities and positioning the ACT Konto as a WISE and a reliable partner in financial, administration and accounting business.
With more new clients, we can employ more persons with disabilities through the work integration process and influence other businesses to follow our example.
Which are the three aspects that could help ACT Konto to grow profitability?
Before I answer your question, I need to explain why we are different from other bookkeeping and accounting enterprises in the market.
We are the owners, managers, and the workers at the same time. We believe in economic democracy - we know that workers can manage and make quality decisions. We employ people with disabilities and believe in work integration processes. The profit we make is not paid to the owners but completely reinvested in the development and education and employment of people with disabilities. We respect nature and have implemented the environmental management system that helps us reduce our carbon footprint and use natural resources sustainably. We're different because working with us your money creates a better and fairer society.
To grow our profitability, we need to be recognized as a work integration social enterprise in the general public, to provide quality and innovative services and products, and to have loyal clients.
What dream do you have for the future of your Work Integration Social Enterprise, how do you see ACT Konto in the next three years?
ACT Konto is a leading example of good practice as a work integration social enterprise in the field of finance, administration and accounting in Croatia. We're managed in an open, responsible and transparent way and involve employees, clients, the local community, and all other stakeholders.
Why do you find the project interesting and decided to participate in the experimental phase (pilot action)?
Persons with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable groups in the labor market: their unemployment rate is much higher compared to that of the general population. In the EU about 47% of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 72% of the general population. As seen in our example, WISEs can combat those unemployment rates - we play an important role in promoting social inclusion and employment of underprivileged groups in society. On the other hand, WISEs like ours face significant shortages of the skilled labor force. Therefore, any activity that tackles these weaknesses by improving our capacities and knowledge is more than welcome. We recognize the INNO-WISEs project as a great opportunity for learning and acquiring new skills, but also for the digital transformation of our business.
Act Konto website: http://act-konto.hr/