Navan is committed to uplifting women throughout our organization by embracing equity through company values and involvement with nonprofit and community impact causes. As March is Women’s History Month in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, we’re profiling innovative women throughout the organization.
Today, we spotlight Julia Jansen, VP of Finance EMEA, who joined Navan last year as part of the Comtravo acquisition. Julia started her career in a multinational company in APAC, which she describes as a great experience because of the region’s growth and constantly changing nature. Although she enjoyed the contrast of helping a legacy corporation build amid a hyper-growth environment where it had to constantly adapt, she found the pace of a multinational company frustrating.
“It would take months to get things done, so the opportunity might have passed by the time you get approval,” said Julia. “The expense process, for example, required nine signatures in writing on paper. You get accustomed to it until you get challenged by the outside world or feel something in yourself that says, ‘Something is wrong here.’ The experience taught me many best practices, but I needed something faster.”
Interested in the startup sector, she joined the Berlin incubator IONIQ Group, where she was part of the centralized finance function that offered financial services to portfolio companies. She led the entire centralized finance function for 32 entities, helping choose the tech suite and applying it to multiple business cases to help them scale while implementing standardized processes.
She enjoyed picking different tech solutions and employing them at scale.
“My role at the incubator was my first step in the tech world, and I could leverage my skills in knowing how to manage operations on a large scale while also training myself in the world of startups,” she said.
Julia felt ready to lead a finance team inside a startup instead of helping them grow from the outside. She looked for a young business with great leadership and the opportunity to shape the finance function from the ground up. That’s when she met the leaders behind Comtravo, who wanted to dominate the travel management sector in Europe. At the time, the company had a very complicated accounting back end, with multiple legal entities and an entire finance team that needed to be built.
Since Navan acquired Comtravo, Julia’s role has shifted. Julia has taken on a bigger role as the Controller for EMEA. In this position, she is responsible for leading the accounting organization that oversees the EMEA/APAC legal entities as well as the EMEA ExpenseOps teams. Additionally, Julia is driven to discover the optimal go-to-market strategy for the EMEA VAT and invoicing function while also prioritizing expense features.