6 februari 2019

Story of Blika – making it easy to live by the rules

Is there a way to make life simpler for head office departments, considering the extremely complex world in which they operate? Blika started out in 1989 by solving the tax and legal compliance requirements and is now helping multinational corporations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America to stay compliant.

The worn-out cliché of how the good old times were sound and simple is rarely true, but in the case of legal, tax, and financial compliance, it’s actually a fact. In the eighties when Blika’s founder Ulf Lilja realised that a new set of Swedish regulations opened up a business opportunity, little could he imagine how complex and detailed corporate regulations would become in a global and fully digitalized world. Every new regulation means an extra compliance challenge for managers in charge of large multinational corporations – and a business opportunity for Blika to help them solve these compliance issues.

“We focus on collecting, analysing, presenting and filing tax, legal and financial information in a structured and searchable way to provide our customers with full control”, says Blika’s Head of Sales Peter Öhling.

The company focused on developing tax accounting solutions, group accounting software, and legal entity management solutions in the nineties. The latter evolved and formed the base for the current SaaS platform, which is the fifth-generation software and has been finetuned over the years to handle complexities that you may come across in large multinational companies.

Peter Öhling was a long-time customer of Blika, working as a group accountant and tax controller at several large multinational enterprises when the financial crisis hit the global market in 2008. In response to the crisis, legislators around the world imposed more financial regulations to increase transparency and improve control over big corporations. Peter Öhling joined the company in early 2013 with a strong belief that every global corporation now would need some kind of technical support to stay compliant in such a complex regulatory environment. When founder Ulf Lilja asked if Peter wanted to take over as the CEO of the company, he did not hesitate.

“I joined in the belief that my analysis was right, these changes will transform how head office departments work and drive the need for digitalization solutions even further”.

The technical platform needed a lot of investment at this time to fully support large corporations. Although there was a lot of knowledge built into the system, gained from experience of working with multinationals for more than 25 years, the platform needed to be more flexible for future product releases and move into the cloud for easier delivery.

The investment in a new technological platform, making sure that new regulations in the tax and legal field would be covered with a new module from Blika, was a starting point for a period of fast growth with new customers signing up from all over the world. In 2016, Lennart Svantesson, a former partner at PwC, joined the company. Two years later, Gunnar Sjöberg, the former Head of tax at Assa Abloy and Scania, did the same.

“We are now staffed to speed up the growth internationally with solid expertise from both the customer side and the big consultancy firms as well as from the tax, legal and finance areas. Looking at how fast head office data is being digitalized makes me feel positive about how we can help head office functions such as the tax and legal departments even more in the future”, says Peter Öhling.

In the beginning of 2019, Peter Öhling stepped down as CEO to focus on the international expansion. Gunnar Sjöberg was appointed as the new CEO to head the organization.

“It is important to build a strong organization in a fast changing business environment to serve our customers and help them stay compliant. At the same time, we need to continuously improve our offering to stay up to date both when it comes to technological developments, as well as to meet new compliance requirements”, says Gunnar Sjöberg.