As one of the most established and innovative players in the online betting market, Parimatch attributes financial process scaling as integral to its success. Speaking after one of its most profitable years the company’s CFO, Anna Motruk, highlights the key to their investment strategy and why the brand’s financial reputation is always right on the money…
Founded in 1994, and amongst the first bookmakers in the CIS region to launch an online betting website, Parimatch has maintained consistent growth in the last two decades thanks to a strong focus on finance and interdepartmental support. As the company continues to expand, Motruk is keen to share the data behind their budgeting prowess and ensure sustained progress for, not just themselves, but the international gambling industry.
“To ensure success when scaling up the financial process, it’s essential to provide a quick, convenient and accurate service to customer facing departments,” she explained. “Finance is a back-office function, meaning that we must treat our colleagues in other departments as we would a client. In order to keep them happy, we must be flexible, react quickly to any issues they may face and provide them with the tools needed to assist in their job. It is crucial for us to have a harmonious and professional relationship with our colleagues, ensuring success across the whole business.”
“At Parimatch, we’re always ‘Fired Up To Win’ so our current strategy is focused around organic growth. The key to growing across existing and new markets is by further developing, improving and supporting the product. Our IT is at the heart of this focus. Not only is our betting platform a piece of software, it is various programs for analysing big data, working with digital marketing, accounting software, and visualisation tools.”
For Motruk, finance is a multi-faceted function, with many interconnecting reporting streams which need to be considered, a melting pot she refers to as an ‘inner financial kitchen’. Despite its intricate number of streams, when considering the two primary metrics a brand’s CFO should monitor, net income and profit margin are top of the pile. “It is very difficult to pick just two metrics, due to the nature of finance. For example, take gaming and its direct costs. If direct costs increase at a speed greater than the rate of income growth, then on the surface this is a sign of some concern and that profitability will begin to drop. But this is not always the case, because the costs may be related to plans for the bookmaker margin. It is not always black and white.”
Parimatch supports 2.4m registered users across a number of unique countries, resulting in a need for strong finance function across the company’s offices and partnerships. “We want to expand into new markets, we want to dip our toe in without using huge amounts of resources, and most importantly doesn’t require a large financial investment. For example, our already existing relationships with payment partners and marketing agencies help introduce people in potentially new markets to our brand, style and our approach.
“We are always happy to work with new partners who share our values and our goals in a particular region. This helps to immediately penetrate local, unwritten, unregistered ‘laws’ that can greatly influence and control the market. Previously we strengthened our position in existing markets, invested in their development and improved the quality of our performance. Our main investment, however, is always in marketing.”
Marketing is the number one path to success in this business according to Motruk and one of Parimatch’s core focuses for the year ahead as the company prepare to launch its latest products and services in new markets. Commenting on the top three achievement drivers for a brand entering a region, she said: “Key drivers are where we put our time, our money, and our resources. They can often be recognized in the P & L structure, and how we report our financial results. For an online bookmaker, the first key driver is the launch of new products. The second is payments and their capabilities and the third is marketing – nothing works without it. As we have operations across multiple countries, we have great visibility as to what is best practice in lots of other markets. We keep our eyes peeled and carefully observe what is happening in different countries. For example, if we identify something in one region, then we will carry out an assessment to see if it is appropriate to adopt in other countries.”
As Parimatch continues to consolidate itself as one of the leading online betting platform connecting emerging markets with the world of traditional and niche betting, Motruk is clear to remind the industry that money isn’t everything. “For many, even already developed brands, the main concern is reputation,” she added. “We devote a lot of energy to what people think about us, so that they feel reliability and desire to be associated with our brand. We are a brand and a platform that everyone can trust. We care about our players. We are speeding up payments, keeping funds safe, and promoting responsible gaming so that people can enjoy betting. Building and developing this reputation is our main concern.”
With more than 25 years in the game, Parimatch’s financial scaling is a marked triumph but what’s the key to their well stocked financial kitchen? When asked if a gaming brand’s growth goals are best driven by ambition or whether there is more reward in restraint, she concluded: “From the point of view of financial processes, aggressive growth and rapid development does of course cause challenges. Finance loves calmness, moderation and continuity. However, we always take into account and prepare for active growth and ambitious goals. We spend more effort and resources here, but it helps to provide the foundations to support growth. As with everything we do at Parimatch, including finance and reputation, we always Dare to be Different!”