February 28, 2011
School of Business, Bengaluru
Two first-year students of MBA-MS from the Bengaluru campus recently had the opportunity to attend a CII conference for CFOs – Lessons from the Past, Leadership for the Future.
The conference organized on February 25 at Le Meridian, Bangalore is covered in insightful detail by the student report below.
Recent years have been rather tumultuous for the Indian economy. The fall of Satyam showed how a major upheaval in the upper echelons can produce ripples right across the system.
The CII Annual CFO Conference 2011 brought together business leaders who shared their views on past mistakes, lessons we could learn, and how future leaders could steer their organizations to success by focusing on ethics and character.
“The job of good is not to fight evil,” stated Mr. Subroto Bagchi, Vice Chairman, MindTree. “The job of good is to do its own job. Evil will cancel out itself.”
Quoting Mr. Narayana Murthy, respected as one of India’s most ethical business leaders, he said, “Your conscience is your softest pillow. When in doubt … disclose.”
Pointing out that even though laws exist to discourage people from resorting to unfair means, he said that laws cannot be a substitute for character.
“There are two people behind every scam,” he noted. “The CEO and the CFO. Without their collusion, a scam cannot happen.”
Other invited guests touched upon the practical business aspects.
Mr. Richard Collie, CFO, HSBC India, spoke on trends in the financial sector that led to the financial crisis. He highlighted the criticism that emerged when the high compensation amounts paid to top employees of financial services firms was revealed.
Mrs. C. G. Srividya, Partner and National Leader, Valuation Services, Grant Thornton India, spoke on mergers, acquisitions and private equity. She noted the major rebound in 2010 with such deals amounting to four times the value in previous years.
“The telecom sector has seen the most M&A activity,” she said. “The focus of outbound deals has shifted from the US and the UK to Africa, Belgium, Australia and Singapore. India is now on an acquiring spree. As compared to IT, biotech, pharma and healthcare sectors will see the maximum activity this year.”
Next, Mr. Sathya Kalyanasundaram, CFO, Texas Instruments, pointed out five main points every business should take care of: a) not be distracted by the current market environment b) invest where there will be growth c) conduct risk assessments d) innovate and e) build up the best team.
Saying, “you don’t control market, you control market share,” he discussed the importance of country, factory, support, capital, cost of goods, revenue and cost while forecasting.
Other invited guests including Mr. N. V. P. Tendulkar, Director-Finance, HP India and Mr. Robert Parker, Vice President, Finance & Operations, IBM India/South Asia also highlighted the importance of forecasting.
There were many more sessions and speakers.
Mr. Anup Maheshwari, Executive Vice President, Head Equities and Corporate Strategy, DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund, spoke about the perception-to-expectation ratio, elaborating on the subject Communicating with Investors.
Mr. Indranil Chowdhury, CFO and Vice President-Finance, Volvo India Pvt. Ltd., spoke on Leveraged Buy Outs (LBOs). Mr. Bhaskar Bodapati, Director-Finance, Bengaluru International Airport Limited, discussed scalability and sustenance.
All in all, we learned a lot about the challenges that India Inc. faces. Specifically, the challenges in the implementation of the International Financial Reporting System (IFRS) were discussed, as well, by Mr. Rostow Ravanan, CFO, MindTree.
“Changing to IFRS may be a painful process, but it is only a matter of time before we will begin to see its effects on the operations of businesses in India and worldwide,” he concluded.
– Meghdoot Bhattacharjee & Nikhil Chandalia