Times Of Uncertainty Needs Exceptional Leadership Skills

A global finance leader, Mayank is a results-oriented professional offering extensive experience in corporate finance with recognized accomplishments within world class global business environment.

At this juncture when things are being relooked at with new lenses, several roles are being redefined. Such uncertain times call for unprecedented and never seen before leadership skills, and that is what will ensure an organization's success. siliconindia questioned Mayank on these and more.

With India emerging as a global leader, what opportunities lie for the nation, and how should the country prepare for it?
India's demographic dividend, development of smart cities and robust infrastructure, the startup ecosystem and efforts to achieve digital inclusivity work in favor as we move ahead in the `New Normal'. Furthermore, the Government's initiatives, including Digital India, Make in India, and Self-Reliant India, contribute to the positive boom expected across sectors - manufacturing, logistics, transport, public safety, telecom, and more.

According to GlobalData, the overall information and communications technology (ICT) spending in India is estimated to rise to $144 billion by 2023 from $101 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2 percent. With core sectors in India including manufacturing, infrastructure, transport and logistics shifting to IT driven business models, the spending is expected to grow multi-fold. India already enjoys great credentials as a software powerhouse and in my opinion bringing in focus on product led innovation will allow us to bridge the gap generating employment opportunities for the blue collar workers.

To chart out a successful growth trajectory in the coming years, the entire population must get an opportunity to grow and this collective growth can propel the economy which has surely been set back by a few years due to the pandemic. Hence upskilling and creating employment opportunities in both urban and rural areas is essential. Apart from this, a continued focus on ease of doing business and building flexibility in the regulatory framework will help attract global investors. Overall, the long term growth potential of the country definitely looks promising.

CFOs need to be more than just compliance experts with a fair understanding of IT and digital technology investments

What are some of the challenges the industry is currently facing and strategies to deal with them?
In the year 2020, people across geographies witnessed a humanitarian crisis where a healthcare challenge quickly escalated into an economic catastrophe. This ultimately catalyzed the adoption of technology, and most of these changes triggered by the disruption are here to stay.

At NEC Corporation India, we take pride in partnering with the Indian Government to derive solutions based on the new models. We are taking steps towards strengthening our R&D centre capabilities in the country. Our offerings in the `New Normal' are customized to solve the unique hurdles the country faces. We are helping create safer and smarter cities sporting contactless engagement for the citizens like contactless bus ticketing. We are also implementing paperless boarding at four airports in the country.

Finance is an important department of every organization, yet many companies make mistakes that cut off their wings. What are some of the major mistakes in the finance space and how should the organizations deal with it without biting the dust?
In the case of any uncertainty, leaders usually plan to hold transformation efforts. But the current pandemic has rightly shown us that organizations and countries that double down on digital technologies during times of crisis have far greater chances of emerging stronger.

We are in the midst of this Fourth Industrial Revolution, where digital technologies have emerged as a critical driver for any company's success. While it has become necessary for world leaders to embrace digital transformation with open arms, digital returns on investment (ROIs) are essential.

The uncertain times demand a more in-depth collaboration of IT and finance departments to be agile, respond quickly to disruption, and ensure business continuity.

A CFO's role is ever changing and it is finding more than ever more substantial space in the boardroom. What, according to you, will change for CFOs in 2021 and what would be the biggest five challenges for them?
CFOs need to be more than just compliance experts with a fair understanding of IT and digital technology investments. In these changing times, their roles and responsibilities overlap with that of a company's Chief Operating Officer (COO). With digitalisation taking hold, the traditional CFO roles have seen a transition and in the years to come, they will become custodians of strategic decision-making beyond the conventional function.

How are CFOs dealing with integrating technology into their function? How will ML, AI, robotics and others change their strategic focus?
I think, a CFO's role is under transition due to the emerging technology trends and the changing digitalization landscape across the globe, particularly now as countries and corporates begin to emerge from the pandemic. And this is nothing strange considering that technology disruption has impacted people in various sectors for the better.

There is a shift to real-time monitoring and regulation of expense management. Here AI-powered and automated expense management enables companies to identify and flag anomalous entries. Adopting advanced technologies such as AI and Machine Learning will help companies enforce accurate reporting at scale and minimize revenue leaks.