We will remember 2021 as a year of continued strong growth and astonishing successes. Our strategy worked and we were successful in its execution in terms of all of the key objectives. Our earnings increased by a whopping 36 per cent during the year, when examining our most important results indicator, adjusted EBITA. Net sales, in turn, increased by 34 per cent compared to the preceding year, to EUR 104.5 million.
In compliance with our strategy, we experienced strong organic growth. The year was challenging in terms of the labour market owing to factors such as the personnel turnover rate within our business segment. This notwithstanding, we managed to attain a solid organic growth percentage of 13 per cent, propelled by successful recruitments, re-design of the organisation and enhancements in operative efficiency. Particularly the 18-per cent growth in the latter half of the year was a stellar achievement.
We also continued our growth through corporate acquisitions. In early 2021, we welcomed CCEA into the Group, providing us with Finland’s strongest change management expertise. The preparations for the Devecto acquisition started during 2021, and we got to start the year 2022 with the acquisition news about Devecto reinforcing Gofore’s intelligent industry offering and customer portfolio. Corporate acquisitions support Gofore’s strategic direction and, in the long-term, our sustainable growth. During the year we also consolidated our ability to continue our inorganic growth going forward, when we carried out a directed share issue in April and further reinforced our organisation with competence related to corporate arrangements.
A focal element of our growth has been our expansion from public sector customer accounts to the private sector. Developing our offering and providing partnership has proven its strength and our private sector net sales increased by 82 per cent during the year. The public sector accounts for 65 per cent of our total net sales, while the private sector accounts for 35 per cent. We are delighted that our customers are placing their trust in Gofore as their strategic partner in digital transformation.
Our business in Finland has developed particularly well, but we have also made progress outside of Finland, where our key customer accounts have developed as anticipated, with the emphasis being on our internationally operating private sector customers. We have increasingly succeeded in exporting our public sector expertise abroad, particularly to Europe, and we have developed our sales competence required for same. International business accounted for 8.7 per cent of our net sales during the year. It would appear that the demand for Finnish digital transformation competence will be on the rise in the future.
The Gofore culture is our backbone and fostering same while our company is growing requires particular attention. We strive to ensure that everything about our operations supports openness, transparency and agility. Our ability to cultivate and foster our unique and award-winning company culture is something we truly cherish.
We transferred to the official list of the Helsinki stock exchange and reinforced our international shareholder base
In March 2021, we took a significant step and migrated from the First North Growth market place to the official list of the Helsinki stock exchange. In April, we raised EUR 19 million through an issue of 1 000 000 new shares directed to institutional investors. With this, we wanted to support the execution of the company’s growth strategy through corporate acquisitions and organically, and also to implement a controlled change in the company’s shareholder base. The proportion of our foreign shareholders has increased in double digits following the migration to the official stock exchange list.
We strengthened our ethical sustainability
We are striving towards being a pioneer in ethical digitalisation, particularly through our actions. During the year, we launched a collaboration project, which will result in us creating a model for the further development of the ethically sustainable operations of our working community. In its scope and impactfulness, the model is first of its kind within the technology sector in Finland. Developing ethical operations also provides our experts with means for considering ethical aspects in customer work and facilitates the resolution of societal sustainability challenges.
CCEA brought us people-driven change expertise
Successful corporate acquisitions comprise a key component of our growth strategy. In 2021, our team was reinforced with people-driven transformation expertise, as CCEA’s team of 50 experts joined the Gofore family. The corporate acquisition effected in February enhanced our ability to combine technological and people-driven transformation management. The integration has progressed well. CCEA contributes to our ability to help customers succeed even in the most demanding of transformation projects.
Recognition as an employer
People are at the heart of digitalisation, and also Gofore’s success comes down to its top talent. We are constantly doing our very best to ensure our attractiveness and employee experience are in check. We want to hold on to our top experts and attract new talent to join our crew.
Our success in recruitments was commendable. As I am writing this, there are already over 1000 Goforeans in our community. Together, we represent the cutting-edge expertise both in technology and in human-driven leadership – the very aspects in which the digital transformation of all organisations require competence and support.
Our strong company culture is built on six strengths: transparency, trust, ownership, development, communality and caring. We were, for instance, one of the first technologysector companies in Finland to have devised our very own company-specific collective agreement.
We are actively working to develop our employee experience and employer image. The efforts we have exerted are consistently demonstrated by the fact that our employer reputation is being acknowledged in a variety of ways. Gofore was selected the employer brand of the year in the Rekrygaala, recognising the best operators and actions within the recruiting industry. In addition, we ranked seventh in the Young Professional Attraction Index (YPAI) 2021 survey, listing Finland’s most attractive employers.
We thrive on customer success
A happy customer is an important source of growth and work satisfaction for us. During the year, we conducted two customer satisfaction surveys, indicating that overall satisfaction remained high throughout the year. In the survey conducted in the fall, overall satisfaction scored 4.3 (on a scale of 1–5), while in the spring it was 4.2. In their feedback, our customers especially value our customer orientation, reliability and co-operative mindset. The Net Promotor Score for the fall survey was 54 (scale -100 / +100), while in the spring survey it amounted to 61. According to the company that conducted the survey, the NPS for reference companies was 37, which means Gofore places among the top companies in the comparison.
A thank you – and our journey continues stronger than ever
In 2022 we will be celebrating Gofore’s 20th anniversary, because the business of the company incorporated in 2001 commenced in the fall of 2002. A company founded by four friends has over the years grown into an international corporate group employing more than one thousand employees. I would like to once more thank all of our stakeholders and, especially, all Goforeans and our customers for the year 2021. It was a busy year, but we were, once again, successful through our collaborative efforts. Thank you!
CEO’s review has been published in Gofore’s Annual Report 2021.