Founded over 40 years ago, Talenom’s IPO strengthened its self-confidence and improved its stakeholder relationships. Talenom Plc Chair of the Board Harri Tahkola explains what things a company preparing for an IPO should focus on.
Accounting and financial support services company Talenom Plc successfully launched its IPO in May of 2015, garnering a total of 500 new shareholders. The IPO made it possible for Talenom to continue its growth.
“The biggest challenge we had was that we were for many an unknown sector. We had to start by explaining what an accounting company does. Many investors didn’t have the first clue as to what we do,” explains Talenom Plc Chair of the Board Harri Tahkola.
During the IPO, Tahkola was still serving as President and CEO of Talenom. Preparing for the IPO was a long process, in which attention had to be given to a wide range of things.
“We had to look like a listed company even before starting out on our IPO. We thought about how much of our company we would have to give up when the IPO was completed. We thought very carefully about whether we wanted to operate in the whole equity or listed company world and who would be given all the authority and responsibility,” recalls Tahkola.
Choose the right advisers
According to Tahkola, it is crucial for companies making an IPO to find the right partners, who truly understand the business, to serve as advisers. Talenom sought, for example, financial, communications and legal advice from outside the company.
“It is best to make the choices based on recommendations and interviews. It is also a good idea to find out about the team that is involved in the project. The selling part is usually done by the CEO or the best expert, but someone else may do the actual job”, he says.
A communications consultancy played one of the key roles in the process. Talenom was given advice and guidance on what information to present to the market and when to do it.
How things changed for the company
Operating as a listed company has had an impact particularly on Talenom’s external and internal communications as well as its stakeholder relationships.
“Our communications have undergone radical changes since the IPO. We can no longer tell people about, for example, the company’s future goals when first meeting them. We had to put an end to all that. When making a press release, we go over it with a fine-toothed comb several times. We can’t even talk about the company’s goals with our own people, like we’re used to doing,” says Tahkola.
“However, the IPO provided significant benefits to our stakeholder relationships. It gave our confidence a massive boost. Now, it’s much easier to work out co-operative arrangements when operating as a listed company,” explains a satisfied Tahkola.
The need to take fast action was also reduced, because it would have caused unnecessary confusion both on the market and among shareholders.
“With just the right amount of rigidity, our organisation is now capable of keeping up with any changes that come along,” says Tahkola.
Getting its start on the First North market, the company moved up to the Main List of the Helsinki Stock Exchange in June 2017. According to Tahkola, the IPO was, all in all, an educational experience.
“In hindsight, I would have done some things differently. For example, the company story should have been made more readable, easier to follow. But, as they say, hindsight is always 20/20,” sums up Tahkola.
Tahkola’s tips for companies preparing for an IPO
- Determine where your company should be in order to realise your goals: in venture capital or on the stock exchange.
- Think about how much your current shareholders are ready to give up where their holdings are concerned.
- Consider who you want to give authority and responsibility.
- Your company should look like a listed company inside and out well before launching your IPO.
- Choose advisers who understand your company’s business to guide you with your IPO.
- Tell your company’s story clearly and concisely.
- Who: Talenom Chair of the Board Served as President and CEO of Talenom from 1994 to 2016.
- Born in 1972. Lives in Kempele.
- Education: Master of Science (Economics) and Licentiate of Science (Economics and Business Administration).
- Motto: Set an insanely big goal – that’ll give you the start you need.
- What: Accounting company founded in 1972 that offers its clients a full range of financial and accounting services as well as other consulting services that support its clients’ business. The company develops its own software and offers its accounting clients online financial management tools.
- Where: Locations in 27 cities in Finland. 590 employees.
- Turnover: Turnover for Talenom Plc in 2016 totalled EUR 37 million, with a year-over-year increase of 12.0%.
- Shareholders: Talenom shareholders include Ilmarinen, Tesi ja SR Danske Invest.