On behalf of SCCL office, we would like to congratulate Leinonen for celebrating 25 years in Lithuania! Since its establishment in 1996, Leinonen Lithuania has gone through a gradual growth to become one of the leading Accounting & Payroll providers in the country. What a journey it must have been!
‘An essential cornerstone of success is our own values in the business, which we have adhered to from the beginning. It was easy to get good people to work when they are treated fairly, and they know that all activities follow the laws of the country,’ says Petteri Leinonen.
We wish you continued success, Lenoinen!
Short introduction of Petteri Leinonen
I come from the South-Eastern corner of Finland. After my studies, I worked in various financial management, production, and logistics positions in different parts of Finland. I was also a honey producer and my bees produced about 2,000 kg of honey a year. Leinonen’s logo is inspired from my honey business experience.
I became an entrepreneur more than 30 years ago when I founded my first accounting firm in Finland.
I have always been interested in internationalism, that is why our family business expanded abroad.
We established our first foreign company in Estonia in 1992 immediately after the country’s independence. The Baltics are an important business area for us today, so my wife and I moved to Tallinn in 2019. We have Leinonen’s headquarters in Tallinn.
Short story of Leinonen Lithuania and why you chose Lithuania 25 years ago?
Once of our biggest clients, a large Finnish oil company, was already our customer in Estonia and Latvia. They were satisfied with our services and asked me to become their partner in Lithuania as well. I made a sightseeing trip to Vilnius with my own car. When travelling by car you can make observations about what is really happening in the country. There were 2 border crossings ahead, which were real borders in the 90s. It took 0.5 to 2 hours at the border when you queued to the border area and then used it to collect stamps at different checkpoints on a separate checklist. The passport also accumulated 8 stamps from the entire trip.
Main business challenges that you encountered in Lithuania during the past 25 years
When we started doing business in Vilnius, it had only been a few years since the country became independent and the legislative work was still badly in progress. We often operated in a gray area when there were no new laws created, we just copied a model from the West and the legislative bodies were confirming it sometime later. Lithuanian accounting professionals were accustomed to working according to the Soviet chart of accounts and collection of reports. Our western clients, on the other hand, wanted to report in the same way as in the western countries. Proficiency in English was also a big stumbling block, with older professionals speaking only Russian in addition to Lithuanian.
To solve the problem, we developed a pair-work model where a senior experienced professional knew accounting and a younger employee knew English. Since the younger accountants did not know the old accounting model, they found it easy to learn a new western model and, in exchange, to teach their older colleague something in return.
Currently, the challenge for us and everyone else is to operate in a Covid-19 environment. I was really amazed to see how quickly our Lithuanian organization switched to remote work last spring. A lot of creative solutions and flexibility were needed to maintain information security and high-quality customer service. It is amazing how mothers of young children have been able to organize work at home while caring for their families. I have great people.
What is the key to success in Lithuania?
Success is always the sum of many factors.
If you want to succeed, you must have something good to offer to your clients and you, yourself have to believe in your own product. We were able to bring to Lithuania new accounting know-how that was not yet available in the country at that time.
I believe that our Nordic background has helped us, from the very beginning. We brought the Nordic management style to our own Lithuanian company. Development in the Baltic countries has progressed at different pace and we were supported with previous experiences in Estonia and Latvia. An essential cornerstone of success are our own values in the business, which we have adhered to from the beginning. It was easy to get good people to work when they are treated fairly, and they know that all activities follow the laws of the country.
We managed to hire great people who were committed to the work, they built our way to success.
A few words to those who have recently started their business in Lithuania.
When planning to start a business in a new country that is foreign to you, spend enough time to plan ahead. There is a huge amount of information available today so do some research and study. Talk to experts, it will save you from many mistakes. It is foolish to make the same mistakes that someone else has already made when the world is full of new unused mistakes. Remember that you are abroad, do not oppress to think or say “in my country things are done this way”. Choose your business partners carefully, do accurate background checks, only the facts matter.
Before making a final starting decision, make sure you have adequate financial resources, enough patience to expect results, and good physical and mental health.
However, act with an open mind, a great adventure awaits you in Lithuania!