INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW WITH VIKAS KAPOOR,
VICE PRESIDENT – FINANCE,
Mr. Vikas Kapoor has shared some interesting perspectives on how the finance organization is adapting to new expectations, and some of the innovations that Tata Sky itself is doing to translate the vision of their finance function into reality.
In your opinion how has the finance function evolved since the 1990’s and what are some of the key drivers to this change?
The traditional role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as custodian of a company’s financial stability has become more nuanced and complex in recent years, as financial reporting and compliance responsibilities are balanced with strategic business support. The recent years , have seen a dramatic shift wherein business is relying more on finance than ever . Boards are not just interested in getting ONLY the monthly packs and updates. They want finance to share their insights on business, forecast scenarios basis trends and their understanding of where company is headed. Finance is today required to understand the nuances of business more than ever. Interaction is not limited to set meetings but is all about understanding consumer behaviour and trends.
In the next five years what are the new ways in which the finance function will drive business transformation and orchestrate better performance?
The coming years , will see a marked shift towards select key themes of continuous process improvement, automation beyond traditional accounting areas like Accounts payable and payroll to specialized finance areas like business planning, treasury and tax, predictive analytics as consumer behavior is ever changing.These themes will drive finance to work more closely with business as strategic partner.
What in your opinion will be the DNA and distinctive qualities of a successful CFO of the future?
CFO has a dual role to play: meet the expectations of CEO and focus on growth agenda while enhancing the governance and stakeholder expectations . Increasingly CFOs need to act as the perfect partner to the CEO. On the one hand they must support them in bringing strategic decision making to bear, whilst also demonstrating great finance leadership and controllership.
They will need to keep an eye on their traditional gatekeeper responsibilities, acting as a voice of caution in the face of poor investment strategies and business decisions that are short term and detrimental to shareholder value in the long run. The balancing of priorities concerning collaboration and independence will be one of the defining attributes of the future finance leader’s role.
How will digital technologies have an impact on the finance function of the future? In what ways can the finance function leverage these technologies to drive business performance?
As technology continues to evolve, businesses are being forced to respond to these changes. A number of such changes are making finance function’s role easier. However, with new platform and programs being introduced at dizzying rate, it is imperative that CFO looks beyond the “cool apps” to select the appropriate technology solution. Technology is key enabler of transformation and it is proven in quite a few corporations where improved and efficient processes have been coupled with technology, they have been able to transform the organisation and its ability to respond.
Predictive analytics, forecasting future performance based on past performance will be a key enabler for tomorrow’s CFOs and their finance operations, but in the current age of turbulence in which businesses operate, scenario planning and stress testing will be increasing priorities as outcomes for the finance function. These areas will be where future finance leaders will be looking at technology as key enabler.
What is your vision for the finance function at Tata Sky? What are some of the innovations that you are doing that will set the path to realizing this vision?
The vision for finance in Tata Sky is to be world class and be a business partner , which drives and is part of profitable growth.The innovations that we are doing to realize this vision is to use technology as key enabler in delivering predictive analytics, stress testing, automating beyond routine areas and using systems to manage control better. We are also ensuring from training perspective , team members are aware and ready to embrace and deliver on these changes.
What are some of the steps that you are taking to identify and develop future finance leaders?
Some of the steps that we are doing to identify and develop future leaders, is give key projects to potential leaders , and mentor them as they work on delivering complex projects , which involves stakeholder engagement . Another key aspect , is to make them ready for future responsibilities is give them opportunity to interact and liase with senior leadership, right from initiation of project to its delivery , which provides visibility to them as well.