Interview with Mr. CORNELIU TEOFIL TEAHA, General Manager Teaha Management Consulting and owner of DeBizz German magazine in Romania.
You’ve created Teaha Management Consulting and an entire business activity around the love for the German entrepreneurship spirit. How did all begin and where your businesses stand right now?
I owe a great deal to Germany, first of all, for the chance it offered me, right after the Romanian Revolution, to continue my business management studies at the University of Darmstadt. There I came in contact for the first time with the concept of „tax/business consultant”, and when I got back to my country, I set up the tax consulting company Teaha Management Consulting and that was 10 years before Romania got a Chamber of Tax Consultants! Constant transfer of best practices, team efforts and tailored customer services helped us to contribute to the success of German investments in Romania for almost 20 years and the cooperation with German investors has brought us to the position of best Romanian capital business consultancy company.
One of our business ethos is value for money for our clients whilst providing German quality standards and this proved to be a successful combination confirmed over the years by the loyalty of our business partners. Today, I am happy that I am able to support the German business community in Romania also by editing the sole business magazine for German speakers, DeBizz Magazine.
Most of the Teaha Management Consulting clients are coming from the German area. How many are they and what is their customer profile? Are they more serious than the Romanian clients, for instance? What activity fields are their companies covering in Romania?
The diversity of business fields of our clients equates their number. At present, Teaha Management Consulting has over 200 clients who require from us various consulting services, carefully tailored to meet their ongoing needs: from essential and ongoing services such as accounting and payroll, to financial audit services or tax consulting, which are delivered periodically, and even special services of asset or business valuation, support for mergers, acquisitions or divisions of companies. Certainly, most of our clients come from a German-speaking environment, and therefore work ethos principles such as commitment, respect for law and punctuality are also embedded in our day to day practice. From this point of view, the cooperation with such clients might seem difficult. But if you go beyond the adjustment stage and you “get into the groove”, then you don’t notice anymore that you are dealing with another kind of mentality. This difference is apparent again when you talk to the representative of a Romanian company. Years after years, the consulting business has seemed something useless to most of the Romanian entrepreneurs, who “know it all”! Even nowadays, when it is obvious that a good consultant is vital for being successful in the global business environment, the opinion that consultants are too expensive for the contribution they make still lingers on a local level.
This will hopefully change when more Romanians entrepreneurs will be involved in businesses abroad, where they will have to rely on the expertise and trust of local business consultants.
You are internal auditor of the Romanian-German Commerce Chamber (AHK). Do you think that German-Romanian trade ties have reached their maximum or is it room for more? What do German investors mostly complain about when doing business in Romania?
Germany is the most important commercial partner of Romania and it is one of the countries that have made the biggest direct investments with great impact to the Romanian economy. The cooperation potential is far from reaching its top, it will develop further, mainly depending on the extent in which Romania will succeed to better integrate into the European Union. At this time, for example, our infrastructure is scarce, to say the least, and this is one of the major shortcomings, apart from the insufficient qualified workforce. These and a disturbing instability of law and proneness to corruption – are the main barriers for further and more consistent business development of German companies in Romania.
What do you consider would be the most profitable fields to enhance the Romanian-German economic relations?
It’s not a matter of the most profitable sectors, what is essential, if we want Germans to come and produce in our country, or if we just want them to buy our goods, is meeting the German quality standards. It is really difficult to achieve this without a highly qualified workforce for example. Surely, for development one needs qualified workers more than dilettante owners of diplomas! Unfortunately, a massive part of such qualified Romanian workforce has chosen to work abroad and Romanian education institutions seem incapable of understanding the 21st century labour market requirements! I am sad to say it, as I am (also) a professor at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest. So I personally consider that the strategic domain that would serve a long-term Romanian-German cooperation to the highest degree is the education field and our alignment to the German education level, by our investment in this field!
You own DeBizz magazine as the only German language publication in Romania. You are also the founder? When the magazine appeared and how you’ve come up this idea? Is it Romania a growing market for niche media? What do your readers mostly want to read in the magazine, exclusive business news or also other types of features?
I am not the one who founded DeBizz, but my good old friend Peter Simon, who was at that time Country Manager ABB! And this happened around the year 2002… It was not until the autumn of 2010 that I took over DeBizz. My plan if I can say so is that I make this magazine not only a niche product, as we surely are the only business magazine in German language from Romania, but I want DeBizz to become an integrator of investors who come from the German-speaking environment (Germany, but also Austria and Switzerland), of the German-speaking business community from Romania (there are also many Romanians who speak German, among which me also, and who belong to this community) together with the Romanian business environment, which is still represented by the local (still) small investors. In order that this wish could become true and in order that we could facilitate an exchange of ideas and information, we have decided that the magazine should be edited in two languages! We always select and promote for our readers articles and information that could lead to new business ideas and opportunities. To this end, we will launch DeBizz Club, and I take this opportunity to kindly invite you to its grand opening.
Thank you very much.