January 2013 | Published in Silicon India
Over the last 30 years, what gave me most satisfaction as CFO/Head of Finance in several organizations was being in a role of business enabler and directly contributing to the company’s growth, reputation and well being. All of us do the hygiene bit, compliance and tax, the treasury bit, forex, funding, planning and more but we must bring more to the table specially when we set up our processes and delegate most transactional activities.
"When the customer appreciates your competence, the company’s branding significantly improves"
Enabling business also has shades and what is important is building corporate relationships with major customers. Having spent 11 years with Nucleus Software as its CFO, I have had the opportunity to interact with large corporate houses and build business relationships to sustain and grow business. Essentially, what you need is a macro outlook, some grounding in basic economics and keeping up with current affairs. When the customer appreciates your competence, the company’s branding significantly improves.
Nucleus Software offers differentiated advantages making it a preferred partner for banking and financial organizations worldwide. We believe in working closely with our customers to understand their business needs. This has gone a long way in establishing strong relationships with them.
I remember speaking with the Chairman of a Japanese Bank. Since the 1990s, Japan has been in and out of recession many times. However, the country continued to be the second largest economy in the world (currently third after being overtaken by China). When I asked him why there is no sense of urgency and no push to regain competitiveness, he replied that the Japanese have not felt any pain due to the economic circumstances. Unless there is pain, there is no major effort. It was a very important insight into the way that country works - without any fuss about recession but at the same time not taking dramatic steps. A perfect example to CFOs on how to handle a chaotic situation in the organization.
Overall, I believe that CFOs must act as an enabler of business. We often hear that Indian IT Companies need to move up the value chain and require access to the C- Suite for this transformation. CFOs are uniquely equipped to do this and can add tremendous value for their organizations.