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A Very Finnish Accounting Office in Poland: Interview with Maria Onikki-Górski, Managing Director of Leinonen

Leinonen Poland, a subdivision of the Leinonen Group, provides expert accounting, tax, payroll management and other services to foreign-owned businesses to help facilitate their integration into the Polish market. The team consists of around 30 employees. This year Leinonen Poland celebrates its 15-year anniversary!

Tuomas Asunmaa talked with Maria Onikki-Górski – Managing Director at Leinonen Poland – about Finnish connections in Leinonen and the accounting system in Poland. Maria is fluent in both Polish and Finnish and has over 20 years of experience in working for various Finnish companies in Poland.

Leinonen is the only Finnish accounting firm, how do you use that to position yourself on the market?

Our roots are very precious to us; we call ourselves a very Finnish accounting office.

We apply Finnish management style and leadership principles in our daily work. Our team is straightforward, transparent and has a can-do attitude, which leads to quick decision-making. It is also valued by our clients that I can relate to those entering the Polish market; I understand their expectations and assumptions well.

Where are your clients from?

Approximately 60% of our clients are Finnish companies, while the remaining 40% includes mainly companies from other Nordic countries, the Baltics, and, more recently, also from Germany and Spain.

What keeps surprising your clients in Poland?

One thing that is always hard to understand, not only for Finns, is the complicated payroll system in Poland, with its many variables. Foreign clients sometimes also forget that Poland does not use the euro, so you need to take the exchange rates from the Polish National Bank, not from the European Central Bank.

What are the most common complaints that Finns have about the Polish accounting system?

They get overwhelmed by all the details. The clients want to see only the executive summary because the deeper you go, there are too many complicated details and exceptions.

What do you expect could change in the accounting world in Poland after the elections?

We expect that one change for businesses will be the restoration of flat rate health insurance contributions. In general, I hope that there won't be too many changes introduced in a very short time period, like it was during 2022 in the Polish Deal program.

Do you think that national e-invoicing mandate will be postponed again?

No, our guess is that this time it will go live because it was already postponed twice. In the beginning, it will result in a lot of work and challenges for many companies, but at the end of the day, I think it’s great that it will finally happen. The system is very transparent and safe from a tax perspective and it will reduce the amount of manual work.

What advice would you give to Finnish companies that are thinking about entering the Polish market?

It is important to plan well before starting operations, for example by considering things like the legal form of the business and financing options. I believe that “well planned is half done.” The second thing I would recommend is to network and find local partners to support you, because Polish regulations can be challenging even for the locals. It is a waste of time and money to do something based on incorrect assumptions, if you can find someone who can propose solutions that have been shown to work. I think it is also useful to just be open-minded, because Poland is a huge and advanced market with many technical opportunities. In my experience, Finns can quite easily find a common business language with Poles.

Maria Onikki-Górski


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