Véronique Palmier will be teaching financial management throughout the Gaming Business School curriculum. Ms Palmier talks to us about her job and the interest that G.BS brings to the video game industry.
Véronique Palmier has 25 years of professional experience in the management and finance sectors, 15 of which were in the video game industry. Ms Palmier has most notably been the CFO of large gaming studios such as SEGA and ARKANE studios. She works now as a financial advisor for various businesses.
Could you present yourself and your work with video game editors?
My professional past includes 10 years in various sectors, (accountant, construction and real estate, teaching software creation, Bio-Tech and Med-Tech) but also 15 years in the video game industry. At ARKANE Studios – recently at ZENIMAX (from 2013 to 2017) or also at SEGA (from 1999 to 2001), I was a Finance Manager (and/or finance controller)
My role was based on two main goals:
- On the one hand to create and follow budgets, and to produce reporting to give a precise and rapid visibility of the in-house accounts – based abroad (the US in one case and Japan on the other)
- And on the other hand to establish annual accounts which respected French legislation, in terms of accountancy, but also social legislation, business legislation and intellectual property legislation.
At Little Worlds Studio my role was different and twofold as I was associate cofounder in 2004. I, therefore, followed the growth of the business not only on the operational side but also on the strategic side, notably in their online diversification phase. In hindsight, I feel that the studio was extremely well managed both on the production side and regarding their financial planning. But we didn’t know how to push forward and seize the opportunity to join a structured group on time. We invested large sums in preproduction that never appeared in terms of commercialisation, due to the absence of a strategic vision of the market. This error could have proved fatal if the German editor Big Point hadn’t purchased it in 2014, 10 years after its creation. However, the buyout of Big Point by the Chinese editor Youzu ended our adventure.
What are the qualities necessary to work in the sector?
There are multiple qualities necessary. Simply put, I would be tempted to say that it is important to know the difference between quality and … the contrary.
Firstly, its helpful to permanently align openness of spirit and intellectual curiosity, all the while avoiding wandering because only strictness and organisation allow the obtention of concrete results.
At the same time, you must be able to work independently, without having the time to follow everything up or to exhaustively evaluate the consequences of your choices.
But it is also important to keep in mind that success is never individual and necessarily collective… and therefore to keep a team spirit in all circumstances.
It is also important to know how to make decisions, sometimes very quickly, all the while keeping a middle-term vision (the long term doesn’t exist in this sector).
All in all, adaptability and resistance to stress are in my opinion the key factors that determine success.
A brief summary of your job?
The video game sector is like a big family, and we can never really leave it, even if sometimes we get angry sometimes. I still work in the sector one day a week, for BENTO Studios who, last year released Snake Vs Blocks, an online application (freemium) which met with phenomenal success upon its release in September 2017 and which continues to generate particularly high profits. The current issue of the manager is coping with the financial windfall, which must flow in an intelligent way, through reinvestment in future applications, and it is my job to help this.
Outside of that, I work as an External Financial Manager for various small businesses starting out and/or in a period of high growth. My superiors come from distinct sectors, Digital Communication (Tech start-ups) Edutech Solutions Publishers, Financial holdings, etc..
My role is to occasionally accompany these businesses regarding specific tasks, (account closing assistance, budget creation, financing application creation, etc.) or in a recurring manner (administrative and financial structuration). This atypical position was created because small and medium-sized businesses need the expertise of accountants the most often. In terms of management, these businesses are provided with advice that managers have trouble putting into place. Often, small structures have available at best the skills of an internal administrative assistant of whom the training and autonomy are limited. This type of staff await precise instruction to proceed, instruction that the management are not able to give; due to a lack of time, as they need to concentrate on the heart of their job, and/or because it is not their cup of tea, they often neglect the administrative and financial aspects. They are however fully aware of the risks linked to ignoring the obligations that fall upon them (financial, legal, social… ) and the stakes linked to a bad grasp of their financial needs, or of their financing and investment choices. This is why the need to be operationally assisted to grasp the administrative/finance/management triptych.
Why is the G.BS curriculum important within the sector?
In an economic environment which is constantly becoming more complex, this sector, though relatively young, is reaching a certain maturity. The economic stakeholders must prove their professionalism immediately, or else their projects are doomed to fail. A management school dedicated to the sector will allow the training of “support” graduates who are already aware of the specificities of the sector, which will prove a considerable timesaver when they are hired. Quickly independent in the workplace, these young graduates will also be organised in their approach.