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Heli Kortesalmi

Heli Kortesalmi

Teaching in the language of business

Having chosen the 7th floor of Pasila campus as the place to be interviewed, Senior Lecturer in Accounting Heli Kortesalmi soon confesses that this is her favourite location on campus. It’s not hard to see why. Overlooking the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre and Käpylä sporting field, the view towards the Helsinki’s eastern horizon is superb.

“It’s said that accounting is the language of business,” Kortesalmi states. “No matter what language the report is in, or the income statement and balance sheet is written, the structure and the Latin numbers are the same.”

Teaching in a number of business programs, along with the global BBA, Kortesalmi is also responsible for Financial Accounting and a module of Managerial Accounting for the eMBA in Service Excellence.

“I want students to understand accounting reports and how to interpret the figures,” she explains. “There are a lot of practical exercises where students have the chance to analyse their own company. They receive real tools and can apply them. What was really successful last year was the balanced scorecard, when many students incorporated them into their own work. They actually prepared it with their own managers and their teams.”

Kortesalmi draws on her previous employment experience, which includes working for Nokia for ten years in accounting, projects and controlling. “The service industry is growing and getting bigger, with accounting and systems and tools for it developing as such,” she observes.

Aside from the immediate practicalities of applying knowledge, Kortesalmi also sees the value of the multicultural classroom.

“As the teaching is in English, students come from a number of different countries, even though they are currently working here in Finland. I like that there are adult students, they also bring knowledge of their specific field into the class. We share information and thinking.”

In fact, so inspired has she been since joining the teaching body at HAAGA-HELIA nearly two years ago, last spring Kortesalmi was accepted into the University of Vaasa as a PhD student, which she is currently undertaking in her spare time.

“I got so inspired by people learning, that I wanted to develop myself.”

Text by James O'Sulllivan