Today, we’re talking to Tina Kintscher, our Chief Financial Officer who has been instrumental in starting aioneers at the very beginning of 2020. She's been hard at work making our startup one that functions fully remote fully digitally. Our aioneers are spread internationally, as we have offices in Mannheim, Germany, and Pune, India. Of course, like most businesses, we have worked primarily from home in the past year due to the pandemic.
Switching to remote work may have been a challenge for most companies, but establishing a team is arguably even harder. Onboarding new colleagues and establishing routines: we did it all digitally.
Hi Tina! Can you tell us a bit more about starting a business digitally in 2020?
Hi! We founded aioneers in the beginning of the first COVID wave, when there still was a lot of uncertainty about the future. Despite the external circumstances of 2020, we‘re striving for full digital collaboration with our clients, our vendors, and external service providers. So, especially during the first weeks, we invested quite some time in testing a lot of software that could make our digital working as easy as possible. When doing this, I had three main priorities. Does it help us to get our work done efficiently? Is it really intuitive, and do people like using it? And third, is it scalable to a growing team located all over the world?
So in other words, it's not just about using digital tools, but also about using digital tools that work well. Can you tell us a little bit more about the current state of our digital tools? What do we work with?
internally, we use Microsoft Teams for all communication. But also with our clients, vendors and external partners, we have digitalized as much as possible. For instance, we use SAP BusinessByDesign, where we use OCR in accounting, or an app for time and expense management. One thing I really like in my daily work is DocuSign. We entirely switched from printing and signing paper documents to a digital solution. It's great to see that both our vendors and external service partners joined us in digital signatures as well.
But as one can imagine, digital tools only bring so much and it's also really about working together digitally. So can you tell us how we tackle that?
As mentioned, our team is spread out, and we have two offices, in Mannheim, Germany, and Pune, India. Of course, when working digital, it helps to be fully committed to the topic at hand, to have a clear agenda, and to listen more than talking while observing facial expressions. We also use concepts from the world of development, such as stand ups and daily sprints, where we check in and talk about our daily tasks on a regular basis. On top of this, we maintain a meeting etiquette. We use break outs to work on complex themes, and use digital tools such as whiteboard to foster creativity in digital meetings, and to catch the best ideas.
Thank you, Tina!