Ten questions put to Norbert Bieber
executive owner of Bieber Audit & Global Solutions GmbH in Saarbrücken
1. What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Coming together with people of all kinds and finding tailor-made solutions for our clients.
2. What has been the greatest challenge of your life so far?
Founding my own firm. In doing that I made a dream come true, and it soon became obvious that this Franco-German consulting would fill a gap in the market as regards cross-border tax advice.
3. If you could turn the clock back, would you choose the same profession again?
To a certain extent, my profession is also a vocation. And I can really say that I have never for one moment regretted my decision to become a tax adviser and auditor. You could say that I inherited an interest in economic and fiscal issues: my father had a medium-sized firm in Alsace and lived for his business. At home, it was all about the employees and economic matters. Even at that time, it was necessary to readjust the strategic alignment of a company each day. At a very early stage, I was fascinated, above all by the legal framework conditions and the accounting. The fact that I grew up in a bilingual region with a historical connection to both Germany and France explains why I feel at home in both cultures, not only in my private but also in my professional life.
4. Do you have a life motto?
I'm a great believer in what Goethe said: Live and let live! For me, tolerance, freedom and flexibility in dealing with sociopolitical and cultural issues are the basis of peaceful and happy coexistence. This attitude also helps me to approach clients open-mindedly, understand their personality better, and provide them with advice which is tailored to their requirements.
5. What do you like doing best in your leisure time?
I'm a passionate horse rider. I'm absolutely convinced that true happiness on Earth is to be found on horseback. Through equestrian sport I can obtain the compensation I need for my challenging and time-consuming work. And above all, when I'm on horseback I can enjoy a certain communion with Nature. Apart from that I like reading, and read a lot.
6. E-books? Or do you prefer print media?
Privately I tend to be quite conservative, so I like settling down to a classical book or a magazine. I like the touch and smell of paper. In my job, practically all the reading I do is digital nowadays. That way, I can quickly find scientific articles and up-to-the-minute answers to the questions I have.
7. What are you reading at the moment?
As always, I'm reading several books at the same time. On the top of the pile just now is 'Mittelstand ist eine Haltung[GB1]' by Heiner Ku?bler and Carl Siebel. The two authors outline the problems and challenges facing the midsize sector and illustrate some practical approaches to solving them. Parallel to that, I'm reading a biography of the French president Charles de Gaulle, founder of the Fifth Republic, written by the French politician, novelist and historian Max Gallo, who died only recently.
8. Which book has had the greatest influence on you?
Without any doubt, 'Silicon Germany' by Christoph Keese. Keese warns that der German midsize sector may miss the boat on its way into the digital world. In doing so, he paints a ruthless – though not hopeless – picture of the situation. This indeed is a circumstance my employees and I have been able to observe for a long time now, not only in Germany but also in France. Small and medium-sized companies in particular are right out of their depth when it comes to the digital transformation of the world we live in. With our holistic consultancy approach, meanwhile, we also offer our clients digital strategies and support in the optimisation of their work processes in these times of digital change.
9. Please complete the following sentence: In five years' time I will ...
… well, I hope my firm and I will continue to be right up there with the pacemakers, seeing the continual new requirements thrown up by changing markets as a personal and team challenge. And I'm quite sure that digitalisation too, as a megatrend, will go on becoming more and more important for our clients and thus also for our work as consultants.
10. What are your wishes for the future?
My wish would be for Bieber Audit & Global Solutions GmbH to continue to assist medium-sized businesses in closing the gap between their visions of a future in cross-border activity and reality. And I think it's important, in spite of continuing growth, to continue to enjoy the trust our clients place in our fiscal competence.