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BW Businessworld

Modern CFOs Creating Future Ready Organizations

The top-level CFOs from across the industries came together to talk and discuss the outcomes of ongoing accelerated digitization and the evolving role of CFOs in this disrupted era.

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Technology is redefining and remodeling the conventional finance strategies, the structure of businesses, and the way we work. Along with witnessing various changes; the recent pandemic has also introduced a huge room for innovation and opportunities. Today, the company leaders and specifically CFOs need to work beyond basics; need to be the change-makers and be in the center of the stage to navigate the organization. 

The top-level CFOs from across the industries came together to talk and discuss the outcomes of ongoing accelerated digitization and the evolving role of CFOs in this disrupted era. Gaurav Khandelwal, CFO, India, and South Asia, Oyo and Nikhil Parekh, CFO, Cadila Healthcare joined one of the panels which were moderated by Suhail Amin, Senior Editor, BW Businessworld at the recently organized 4th Edition of Best CFO Summit and Awards 2020 organized by BW Businessworld in association with SAP Concur celebrating and recognizing India’s Best CFOs.

Evolving Role of CFOs

We are living in a dynamic environment of constant uncertainties and the CFO’s role in managing their enterprise’s risk is expanding to the next level. Disruption and technology are here to stay and the role of the CFO has become much more than just the numbers – he or she must possess key strategic skills to effectively manage risk and respond to change swiftly. While speaking on the evolving role of CFOs; Gaurav Khandelwal mentions, “It has been a wakeup call for everyone that more of the past may not necessarily work and there is need to change some very basic assumptions of business models.” Experts expressed that the recent pandemic has made us realize that without being physically present work can be done in the virtual platforms. The accelerated adoption of technology in different spheres of business and life has enormously gone up assert experts.

Talking about the Pharmacy industry in general; Nitin Parekh mentions that the Pharma industry has remained reasonably profitable and growing industry with good export potential during this disruption period. The CFOs are also focusing on the growth of the organization along with maintaining business continuity where they remarkably experienced the boon of technology in this period. 

While sharing the ways to cope up with financial challenges in the company; Parekh explained and said, “Protecting and conserving cash is important for short term goals in term of managing liquidity, and managing the business through disruption.” Specific to the hospitality industry Khandelwal mentioned that consumers are these days looking for safety and hygiene and at our end, we also initiated many practices to make sure the needs and demands from the consumers’ viewpoint. 

Modern CFOs Embracing the Digitisation

Gaurav Khandelwal talks about relooking at the conventional finance structures and said, “In today’s time it is critical to go back and look at the cost structures of the company and to evaluate that how much of the cost is variable versus fixed.” Organizations are facing not only a rising level of risk but a faster pace of change as there is limited time to identify, evaluate, and direct or redirect an organization’s strategy. Adding more to the lines talking about the relevance of technology in upcoming times; Parekh opens up and mentions, “As the time passes the cost of manpower or human resources would keep increasing and therefore more of automation and technology would certainly to be the cost-efficient of running the business.”

Disruption is here to stay and the role of the CFO has become much more than just the numbers – he or she must possess key strategic skills to effectively manage risk and respond to change in a timely manner. However, digital disruption also creates the potential for a digital divide: if members of the finance team lack the necessary business acumen, they may not be able to make the most of these new digital capabilities. CFOs in today’s time needs to be the change-makers and be in the center of the stage for the organization.