An interview with Samson Samson, CFO and EMENA Regional Manager, UTi IMS
by Dan Bloom
While working on some projects for UTi IMS, I had the pleasure of meeting Samson Samson, or “Sam,” at the company’s headquarters, located near the impressive Intel facility in Kiryat Gat, Israel. Upon hearing his name, all sorts of thoughts were running through my head … I’ve heard of “seeing double,” but maybe I was just hearing double? Maybe his middle name is Samson, too? Maybe everybody in his family has double, or even triple names? Hungry to hear details about Linda Linda Linda, David David David David, or similar, I had to ask…
Lucky for me, Sam had patience for my silly questions… “I was named after my grandfather and don’t have a middle name. In school, I was known as ‘Sam Squared’ or even ‘Double Sam’ by some.”
So there it was. Mystery solved. Now we could get down to business.
Or so he thought…
“Sam,” I said, felling very professional with another line of questioning. “I see that you have degrees in accounting, economics and corporate finance... Why only 3 degrees?!? You’re also certified as a CPA and a Corporate Analyst. What were you thinking?!?”
“Well, when I was a boy, my family and I emigrated from Bombay, India,” said Sam. “Back in those days the environment was a tough, especially financially. Education was highly appreciated and held in high regard. Therefore, when an offer came up to join the Boyer boarding school, a very respected well recognized institution, my parents and I could not resist the option to at least try it. The rest is history... My majors in high school were physics and chemistry, but I was attracted to business, actually, from the movies.”
Although I was eager to ask about the movies that influenced Sam, I decided, instead, to sit back, shut my mouth, and listen to what Sam had to say. This is what I heard…
“During my career, I was the deputy managing director in Africa for one of the largest companies in the world. We were in Ghana, which has no natural resources, so there was nothing to fight over! It was peaceful living there. The company had 3500 employees there and it was a different experience, dealing with issues which may seem normal here like, how to convince employees to open bank accounts so we didn’t need to pay them with cash. We worked to overcome other challenges and bridge the different cultures, witnessing first-hand the true power of honesty in the workplace. Life there was great!
”I enjoyed my time there, but my wife and I were missing home, so we moved back to Israel. I met Avi Gilboa, president of IMS and I liked him and the business model. IMS is unique and I got to join the company at an early stage and help it to grow. I couldn’t ask for more!”
Oh, man… “This is too sweet,” I thought. Determined to get some “meat” and expose Sam’s darker side, I hit him with another barrage of questions…
“Sam,” I said. “In a recent article, you wrote about accounting costs associated with inventory handling, evaluation method, burden cost allocation, cycle count, audit reconciliation, external auditor/s, tax evaluation, and financial reporting methods (local GAAP, IFRS, FIFO, Average, LCM, etc.)... Sounds complicated! Are you just making this stuff up?”
“No, no!” Sam said with a big smile. “If I could find an IMS for me, then I would give them this job, too! ;-) We have a whole team on staff at IMS just to handle all of the reporting methods & challenges. We’ve gotta reconcile everything with IMS standards, client needs, audit practice, UTI guidelines and local requirements and still enjoy what we do. Maybe that’s the reason we do! Even very narrow percentage variances oftentimes have the potential to represent hundreds of thousands of dollars… we must be precise. It’s all very complicated, sensitive, always evolving with new methods and procedures. Many factors are involved in determining costs. That’s why it’s fun!”
“Okay,” I said. “Say I DON’T want to work with UTi IMS… what’s the best way to manage these costs?”
Sam answered, “Recording parts as an expense, rather than as inventory. Not worrying about the details and being okay with not saving as much money as you can. But, with or without UTi IMS, inventory management is a growing trend that most professionally-run companies appreciate.”
“Okay, you got me,” I said. I was exhausted. No dirt on Double Sam. Maybe somebody else will have better luck.
Sam can be “grilled” with more questioning at [email protected].
Tuesday, October 28, 2014