The Changing Dynamics of the Finance Function

Are you ready for the battle ahead?

“The future finance professional is as much a strategist as an accountant.”

Overview

We live in an era of transformation, an era which is widely referred as the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’ fuelled by the giant and out of the blue technological developments viz. artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics, robotics, blockchain, and cloud computing. Undoubtedly, the dramatic advancement in science and tech has forced businesses to reinvent themselves, right from redesigning the age-old processes to reimagining the product and service offering, to rethinking the go-to-market strategies to re-engineering the business and revenue models. Every organizational function – be it sales & marketing, finance, HR or operations, is today facing a tempestuous heat; an unprecedented challenge to revamp itself, stay current and relevant, while timely delivering on the ever-increasing expectations.

Finance, which is often rhetorically labeled as ‘bean counter’, is all set to be completely disrupted by the changing business and industrial landscape, volatile economic environment, as well as immense thrust on adding value and achieving business objectives. This is really going to be intriguing as time spent in transactional activities would reduce substantially and finance professionals would find themselves doing more interpretative analysis, delivering consequential inputs on strategic business decisions. Take it with a pinch of salt, finance, hitherto, has focused mostly on ensuring robust finance control, risk management and, adherence to regulatory norms and internally adopted policies with less time to collaborate with business and pro-actively drive financial performance. Continue reading “The Changing Dynamics of the Finance Function”

Is Ache Din over for Indian Start-ups?

Decoding the Sordid Saga behind the Hype, Gloss, and Glamour.

“No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long-term if you don’t have a sufficiently good product.” – Sam Altman

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Overview

We all aspire to be rich, successful, and famous, who doesn’t? Being ambitious, having an innate desire to accomplish something notable and chasing worthwhile goals is everyone’s ultimate dream. Why follow the traditional route when you can be different? But what happens when ambition transforms into insatiable hunger and leads to “bigger-is-better” attitude? How dire could be the consequences? Certainly, one is that greed of a few had led to dreams of many being shattered. This, to some extent, holds good in the context of the current state of hitherto thriving indigenous start-ups severely hit by flawed business models, funding winter, mounting losses and depressing investor sentiment resulting in mass layoffs and shutdowns. There is a recent view that the tall tales of Indian startups is over and the biggies like Amazon and Uber can proclaim victory. Call for protection from so-called ‘capital dumping’ with risk capital drying up hints that the party is now over and one should be prepared for hell of a topsy-turvy experience. Continue reading “Is Ache Din over for Indian Start-ups?”

The Epic Rise of Patanjali: Game-changer in Indian FMCG Industry

Demystifying the unusual growth story of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Empire.

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“An Indian, who built Yoga empire, a product and symbol of the New India, A yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom.” – New York Times on Baba Ramdev.

Overview

What started in 1997 as a small sized pharmacy, Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. (PAL), today, is arguably the fastest growing company in the Indian FMCG sector, a USD 50 Billion industry once dominated by multinational behemoths – the likes of Unilever, P&G, Nestle, Colgate – Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson. From shampoo and biscuits to ghee and noodles, and now apparel and footwear – no other indigenous company has built such a well-diversified product portfolio. It has grown more than ten times in revenue in last five years, an unparalleled feat in India’s FMCG industry. The company which is targeting revenues of Rs. 10,000 crore for FY 2016-17 and Rs. 20,000 -25,000 crore in FY 2018 has extensive sales channel of over 5000 distributors, 15,000 stores, and 100 mega-marts. Moreover, it has also tied up with retail chains like Future Group, Reliance Retail, Hyper City and Star Bazaar as well as leading e-commerce platforms. The recent announcements of Rs. 1,600 crore food park in Noida and Rs. 1,200 crore production facility in Assam as well as the buzz around Patanjali’s plans to go public signals the company’s robust expansion plan. Continue reading “The Epic Rise of Patanjali: Game-changer in Indian FMCG Industry”

Effective Meetings!

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We have all been pulled into meetings where our only purpose seemed to be to warm a chair, and we’ve endured hour-long meetings still rambling at the two-hour mark. Rhetorically speaking, the innate objective as to why organizations typically hold meetings is to discuss ideas, debate issues, overcome obstacles and drive outcomes ultimately getting things done. Why is it, then, that most meetings only serve as time sink or even chewing the fat? The truth is that most meetings end up being about as valuable as a Snapchat post – people talk, ideas quickly disappear without outcomes or follow up. Well, perhaps not so surprisingly, a major reason is because most people multitask during meetings, making them far less efficient than they could be. Continue reading “Effective Meetings!”

CFO – The Corporate Super Hero!

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What makes superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely – Christopher Reeve.

CFOs are people who generally occupy a position next only to CEO (read it “power”) and are expected to exercise it with utmost integrity, responsibility, and accountability. With the ever changing nature of business models, technological advancements and the dynamic environment in which an organization operates, the role of CFO no longer remains of a finance controller, rather a strategic business catalyst who is expected to play a pivotal role in not just rescuing companies in the need of emergency but also in partnering with the business in helping them scale. The 21st century has seen a profound shift in the office of the CFO. It has shed its traditional image limited to financial stewardship, safeguarding assets, controls, and governance. Continue reading “CFO – The Corporate Super Hero!”