Fintech scale-up wil internationale groeikansen grijpen: “We hadden al een schaalbaar product. Nu hebben we ook een schaalbare organisatie”

“We already had a scalable product. Now we also have a scalable organization”


More than 10,000 companies already use EMAsphere software for their financial reporting. The Belgian scale-up reconciles financial expertise with technological innovation. Four young people in their thirties are now an important part of the organization. Together with the founders, they must keep innovation going and seize international growth opportunities, say Bart Baute (Chief Operations Officer) and Jean-Charles Hebbelinck (Chief Sales Officer). “We already had a scalable product. Now we also have a scalable organization.”

Bart Baute and Jean Charles Hebbelinck, just like the other two newcomers to the management committee Florence Noblet (Head of Marketing) and Quentin Lamaille (Head of Services), followed a similar trajectory at EMAsphere. “I was the very first sales to recruit EMAsphere 7 years ago,” says Hebbelinck.

“Bart Baute quickly added to that. Sales and business development were more or less undeveloped territory, we felt a lot of confidence from day one to be able to do pioneering work. We have been able to grow with the company.”

“Our founders send a very strong signal by giving four young people in their thirties so much responsibility from their own home,” says Baute. “Instead of recruiting more experienced, external people, they preferred to pass on their own people. Every company claims that it offers growth opportunities to young talent, which is stated in literally every vacancy. EMAsphere walks the talk. It is not just empty words, that can also inspire the generation that will come after us.”

Two generations

The rejuvenated management committee bridges the gap between two generations at EMAsphere, explains Hebbelinck. “Our founders are around sixty. They have been around for a long time, they know the tricks of the trade. They know the financial world inside out. They know the needs of CFOs, because they have been in that chair themselves.”

“They still have an incredible drive to grow EMAsphere. But, and that is perhaps most inspiring, they also know their own vulnerabilities and realize that a company regularly needs fresh bloodespecially for a growing scale-up.”


“Our generation has grown up with digitization. Just like a new generation of CFOs. Our biggest competitor was and still is Excel. But CFOs are also increasingly digital natives, who have digital tools at their fingertips. That is why we have to stay ahead and constantly innovate. Two generations learning from and challenging each other is the best guarantee to keep growing.”

Financial expertise X technological innovation

According to Baute, the mix of experienced hands and young wolves perfectly embodies where EMAsphere stands. “The vision of our founders has always been to reconcile financial expertise with technological innovation. There was a gap in the market at the intersection of the two, which we filled with EMAsphere.”

Our founders’ vision has always been to reconcile financial expertise with technological innovation

“It usually goes wrong with one of those two. Start-ups either lack the experience and do not know their market sufficiently, or they do not have the technological expertise to build an accessible and user-friendly product for that market. A CFO, even if he is a digital native, does not want to delve into a complex technological product that costs him more time than he benefits.”


“Major bank BNP Paribas has selected us from ten solutions in Belgium and France to offer to its own corporate clients. If we didn’t understand our market enough or if our technology wasn’t accessible enough, we never would have made it. We had to score well on those two elements. Our founders actually built the product they were missing themselves.”

They have poured their financial expertise into a product. That was totally new in the world of financial reporting”, says Hebbelinck. “How do companies traditionally gain access to expertise? By hiring a consultant. It costs them a lot of money and is therefore mainly reserved for large, wealthy companies. If you package the same unique expertise in a product and offer it as Software-as-a-Service with a subscription formula, you give every company access to that expertise. Also the SMEs.”

Suppose the regulations change or the technology evolves, then our technology allows us to respond to this and we can add updates and new features to our tool

A technological product is also the best guarantee to always keep that expertise up to date. Suppose the regulations change or the technology evolves, then our technology allows us to respond to this and we can add updates and new features to our tool. Then we give 10,000 companies in the cloud at once overnight access to those new features.”

Away from the church tower

With the new generation, EMAsphere is armed for future growth, emphasizes Hebbelinck. “We already had a scalable product, we now also have a scalable organization. It is there at the ideal time. In the current economic context, a good reporting tool is not nice to have more, but a real one must have.”

Cash is king in a crisis, says the cliché, and there is a great deal of truth in that

“Many companies today find themselves in such a situation for the first time, with a crisis caused by external environmental factors beyond their control. Cash is king in a crisis, says the cliché, and there is a great deal of truth in that. Cash planning and scenario planning are crucial. A CFO has to react very quickly. He has to analyze and make financial decisions faster than ever before.”

Today, EMAsphere is also active in the French and English markets in addition to the Benelux. The scale-up wants to push these international ambitions further, Baute clarifies. “This internationalization is in our DNA. It was clear to me from day one that we are not a company that wants to stay under the church tower. We just don’t want to tie ourselves down anywhere. Opportunities may arise more quickly, in other markets. You must be able to pivot. You have to remain agile.”

“Being a real Belgian company helps us to scale internationally, I think. We are in Ghent and in Louvain-la-Neuve. We learn a lot from this: if there are cultural differences between Flanders and Wallonia, they are even greater between different countries and markets. Belgian companies are learning to be agile and to adapt to cultural differences in their international conquest. Belgium is a very good test market”, laughs Bart Baute. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

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