Nov. 14, 1997
UW-River Falls Professor Advises Businesses in Moldova
by Ellie Walradth
UW-RF News Bureau
Business is not as usual in the country of Moldova. Nor is government or education, as a result of the assistance of a UW-River Falls professor.
This past summer, UW-River Falls accounting Professor Tom Tschetter advised private businesses striving for success in the region's emerging free market economy.
On Nov. 14, Tschetter returned to Moldova as the head of a four-member team to convert the entire business, government and higher education community to International Accounting Standards.
He will be in Moldova for up to two years on that project, headquartered in the capital city of Chisinau, with 750,000 persons.
"They've got a long way to go. They're slow at change. They really need work on marketing and sales, which are new parts of their business," Tschetter said.
Moldova, which is located between Romania and the Ukraine, faces the challenge of sustaining a free-market economy. Decades of being centralized and controlled by the former Soviet Union poorly prepared Moldova to compete in a market-driven, free economy.
Dean Neal Prochnow of the UW-RF College of Arts & Sciences notes that Tschetter's selection to lead the team is a reflection on the quality faculty of the University's School of Business & Economics. He added that although Tschetter will be gone for two years, his experiences will be add measurably to his classroom teaching on his return.
"Tom will have the opportunity to lead a team of senior professionals who are working with International Accounting Standards for an entire nation. This experience will be of tremendous value to our students as we prepare them professionally to work in an ever-expanding international business environment. Moldova is just one of many nations that is evolving into a free-market economy. Tom's experiences with them will be invaluable when he returns to the classroom."
Tschetter says that Moldava has much to accomplish in the nation's economic re-birth.
"They just produced products before, so selling and marketing is new for them," Tschetter says.
Tschetter traveled to Moldova for two-months this summer with the non-profit organization Citizens Democracy Corps based in Washington, D.C. The CDC recruits senior-level entrepreneurs and executives as volunteers to prepare local companies for economic success in Russia, the Ukraine and Central Europe.
Tschetter joined other experts in their fields who acted as a consulting team to set up management, finance, marketing and accounting departments for private Moldovan businesses.
A new area of business for Moldovans is selling and marketing the products they produce to make a profit.
"Imports are taking over and they need to make their own merchandise and adopt a profit system, which they have never done before," Tschetter says. "By doing this, it will prevent their economy from becoming stagnant."
The businesses in Moldova have remained in contact with Tschetter. He will continue to provide them with assistance on his return.
"Progress is very slow. I do think that 10 years from now they'll be in better shape; the younger people are ready to change."