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Investor blog

Marek Helm: As a leader, I am enthusiastic about data

by Nortal HQ, November 10, 2017

Leadership starts with targets, but setting relevant targets is much more complicated than we can guess, Head of Public Finance Management at Nortal Marek Helm admitted at Analysis Disruption, the largest conference for IT and business analysts in the Baltic States and Nordic Countries. In Helm’s opinion, the answer is hidden in data.

“As a leader, I am enthusiastic about data. Of course, only on the condition that it can be correctly interpreted,” Helm said this week, speaking to 200 business analysts in Tallinn.

In today’s information society, where the abundance and diversity of data creates major challenges for leadership, data and the relevant impact analyses carried out based on it are in Helm’s opinion more important than working plans, measuring working time or other traditional and slightly worn-out methods associated with leadership.

Helm thinks that, on the basis of qualitative data analysis, it is not only possible to lead better, but also to shape the reputation of the organization and to communicate with partners and target groups without letting emotions and thoughtless evaluations interfere with the dialogue. “Data and qualitative analysis are the basis for organizations’ ability to change, to be relevant and up-to-date,” Helm added.

For more than twenty years, Helm worked at the organization with the largest collection of data in Estonia – the Tax and Customs Board. For the last five years, he was the head of the organization. Helm said that fifteen years ago, the Tax and Customs Board decided to start developing analysis capacities. Before that, it was clear how much tax had been collected, but the new target was to find out how much remained uncollected.

“At that time, declarations were beginning to move to the e-service, and every month we were getting more and more data to analyze,” Helm added. At that time, the decision was made to create the analysis team and invest in resources that could be used to manage the ever-increasing amount of data.

“As it stands, the Estonian Tax Board is thus far one of the few in Europe to make an analysis of the tax gap or uncollected taxes once a year, and proceeds from this analysis in planning its work and having a say in tax policy,” Helm explained. According to Helm, it was the data and the relevant data analysis that provided the possibility to leave behind the outdated purpose of merely collecting taxes, and set a new target of supporting the activities and development of entrepreneurs.


Analysis Disruption is a conference that has grown out of the initiative by analysts from software and business consultation company Nortal to provide analysts a platform where they can share their knowledge and experience. In its early days from 2014, the event was in the form of morning seminars for analysts, but in 2016 it was held in a conference format for the first time. The Conference is organized by Nortal in cooperation with Manuali, Fortumo, PwC and Testlio.

Marek Helm

Marek Helm

Marek Helm, Genereal Manager of GCC and Africa at Nortal , is a true opinion leader who has introduced tangible change and improvements in several countries. He was the Director General of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board for six years. During that time, the organization became one of the most trusted government organizations in Estonia, VAT fraud was almost eliminated and the OECD ranked it within the TOP 3 most efficient tax organizations. To go into more detail about how governments can digitize tax authorities and boost economy, get in touch with him via email.