Finance and I

Why Finance and I mix

Finance allows you to not only contribute on the financials but also gives you a wider business perspective, enabling you to add value holistically

Motto I live my quarters by...

”Never allow short term temperament to affect your long term decisions”

Being CFO to me means

Growth. From identifying and seizing ways to grow the revenue line, driving cost optimisation to drive the bottom line and harnessing the collective genius of the team to lead to growth for the finance people overall

When I switch any company I would like to be remembered for

Making a positive difference for the people that worked for and with me, as well as making a positive difference to the business results

Leadership goals

Ensuring our growth remains sustainable for the future and creating future CFOs

Learnings

Another CFO I look up to

Most people don’t want to follow marketers when it comes to presenting. But within our organisation, Gary Fayed did that for finance and demonstrated emphatically that accountants can be engaging, inspiring, not to mention funny too.

He obliterated the stereotype view of accountants and triggered the movement of finance people becoming true business partners and leaders within our organisation. 

What leader/mentor do you look up to and why

Alex Ferguson, as I am a Manchester United fan.

He had the ability to inspire the best in his players which could not have been easy given that many of the players found success at young ages – the egos would have been tough to manage, yet he got them to play as a formidable team, winning many trophies at his time at Old Trafford

One deal I wish I had done

I could have taken up the opportunity to run an operation when I was younger.

It may have led me to the GM / CEO path, but I let it pass despite moving easily across different functions prior to this. Life could have been very different, but I have nothing to complain about what I have now

One thing I still want to learn

Spanish

Most over rated financial advice

People advising you about personal finance.

You are your best judge and the same goes for financial advice too, you know your goal and personal finance better, so evaluate for yourself and invest as per your own needs

My mantra for adapting for change

Face it head on, no matter how tough, nothing is permanent

In the War Zone

What was the toughest decision you had to make in your role as a CFO?

I’d say that my toughest decision was in my previous role of Commercial Finance Director in Central & Southern Europe.

My team was asked to lead a turnaround plan and many told me not to do it as it was a poisoned chalice, if it failed, I could easily be used as an escape goat. But my nature is to try, and even if I fail, I’d much rather take the challenge, than not trying at all.

The turnaround plan worked, volume performance turned to a positive, bringing strong revenue and PBT growth. You have to take big chances as they provide greater opportunities to learn and make you stronger

What is the most challenging thing you faced in your current role? What is your biggest learning in these VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguous) times?

Here in India, it’s all about how you deal with the volatility as not only are the results capable of being double-digit in either direction which is always harder to manage, but there are many macro surprises that come at you fast.

Being agile, being fearless and being able to deeply connect with people so that they want to support you to the hilt, is key to being successful in India

How do you wish to transform the CFO’s role in the future?

It’s very important that finance people recognise that if they are in roles that can be robotised, they must broaden their experience.

The name of the game has become a skills acquisition game.

The more skills you have, the less chance you can be replaced by a robot. I think CFOs need to proactively add business value.

How do we identify and help businesses seize new opportunities for growth beyond the reporting, budgeting, and compliance monitoring. The traditional roles of the CFOs are evolving fast.

Have you transformed into a Digital CFO yet?

The digital world is never static so I am an eternal student on this front.

This story was originally published in Economic Times