International Women’s Day: Carmen Cojocaru

March 7, 2023

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 8 March to recognise women’s worldwide social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It also serves as a call to action to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment. This year, Kreston Global will showcase some inspiring women across the network and get their insights on what it means to be a successful woman in the industry.

Meet Carmen Cojocaru, a highly experienced professional in accounting, business process outsourcing, audit, and tax. As a certified accountant, financial auditor, and tax advisor, Carmen has amassed over 20 years of experience in the industry, making her a valuable asset to Kreston Romania, where she currently serves as the Managing Partner. Carmen’s journey in the accounting and tax field started in the early 90s, working for an Italian firm and later joining BG Conta SRL, which eventually became Kreston Romania. Since then, she has risen, becoming the manager in 2006 and the Audit and Accounting Partner in 2008. Carmen’s expertise and leadership skills have allowed her to coordinate a team of professionals while actively attending and participating in international workshops and conferences.

Why did you decide to run your firm?
I have always had determination and a clear goal to be my boss and a leader of wonderful people. It was the combination of willingness to have extra freedom, flexibility, and satisfaction. So I took a chance on the ambiguous circumstances and decided to convey it into opportunity.

What qualities do you need to run a successful accounting firm?
To run a business, a person needs many qualities: communication and negotiation, delegation and time management, networking, problem-solving, and of course, financial management. It’s one thing to run the business and another to grow it; to do so, a person has to communicate effectively, learn, and strategise. One critical skill is the ability to learn and adapt continuously. Otherwise, the business owner is definitely going to miss more opportunities.

How do you support equality in your firm?
Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity, which I always knew and believed. Kreston Romania has two partners- Eduard Pavel and me. Both have been working together before becoming partners, so for us, it’s just the essential pillar of how things get done. Therefore there has never been any prejudice associated with equality. We have excellent professionals with unique backgrounds and acknowledge that from the beginning of the hiring. We have created and encouraged a safe work environment where people behave however they want. At Kreston Romania, we had apprenticeship programs with participants from Georgia, Greece, and Brazil – a young generation with totally different cultural and professional backgrounds. One of them has been with us since the end of the program.

We recently surveyed ‘interpreneurs’ – entrepreneurs looking to expand internationally. The data showed that female CEOs were more likely than males to consider expanding overseas. Why do you think this might be?
As I mentioned, running a business is different from growing a business. Suppose a business person detects the potential for extending business activities. In that case, there is a high chance that the person is backed up with relevant data and has support from other partners (if there is/are such)
and the team members. There are many factors to consider. For example, being an entrepreneur means taking more or less calculated risks, and maybe surveyed ‘interpreneurs’ were such entrepreneurial females more in quantity? I can only talk about my example, and at Kreston Romania, both partners are involved fully by putting out insights into any activity that may benefit the firm.

There was a significant indication that existing networks were an attraction to overseas expansion in particular countries; why do you think female interpreneurs value this more than their male counterparts?
Existing networks undoubtedly hold a competitive advantage, and even the fact that those networks are on the market today, successfully operating, clearly indicates that they know how to do business. Every business person wanting to ensure the risks associated with overseas expansion wants some guarantee and risk mitigation. Foreseeing barriers is another essential quality that a business person needs, and I am glad if, according to the data, we, females, have that power.

What advice would you give female entrepreneurs starting today, or would you give your 28-year-old self?
Dare to dream and maximize your potential. As with every beginning, you need courage and a little madness. As W. Churchill said: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts!” So, develop a growth mindset and clearly understand that people are different in every sense; without acknowledging that, it is impossible to lead others. Say YES more than you think you should, but be cautious.
Most importantly, ladies, you are mighty and can do wonders. So, make it happen! Let the world be your oyster in your desired colour, size, and shape.

To learn more about doing business in Romania, click here.