Finance and I | Prateek Chandra | ET CFO

How Finance and I mix?

I always had an interest in Finance and commerce from the beginning therefore I opted for it and completed Chartered Accountancy. Exploring and weighing various career opportunities and routing back to finance made me realize that this is the pathway I intend on walking and leading in. The inclination to wake up every day and love the work that I do is one of the greatest indications of how finance and I are intertwined as well as best suited for each other.  I believe Finance is not just a professional acumen, it is a lifestyle I chose and worked for.

Being CFO to me means:

As per me, CFO is a role that demands utmost honesty, dedication and persistence as he needs to live up to the trust that all stakeholders put in. CFO plays a vital role in influencing company strategies as he is a strategic business partner who looks at business from all perspectives and views situations in a more critical fashion.  It is a true reflection of the saying that goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”.

Motto I live by:

My belief is that hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny. No matter what life throws at oneself, the only people who succeed are the ones’ who are swift and tenacious as well as believe in themselves.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

When I switch any Company, I would like to be remembered for:

I would be inclined that people and organization I associate with remember me for the value addition done to the business, milestones achieved as a team as well as building a strong team that carries the legacy. Nurturing the team and balancing a healthy work environment is something we all must strive for.

Next pit stop:

I haven’t given much thought to it, however, Journey at IndiaMART is something that I will always admire. I believe I have been showered with immense respect and tremendous admiration for all the efforts I have put in throughout my career and at some stage, I would certainly like to pass on the learnings back to the society by mentoring and working with young professionals to the best of my ability.  

Leadership Mantra:

Build the right team and empower them to the fullest as that would determine how far you can go

If not a CFO then:

In addition to the numbers, I have always been fascinated by technology.  So probably, if not CFO then a tech enthusiast that I will root for.

What is my CFO story?

As I always had an interest in business, I could see finance helping business and managed to figure out optimum solutions keeping business needs at the core.  I believe understanding business first, as motto helped me to become an effective CFO across Industries, whether media or Internet.


Another CFO I look up to, why?

In today’s technology driven and rapid business environment, the role of CFO has been dramatically altered. From being a financial resource behind the curtains to pioneering team leader and visionary, CFOs role has enlarged with each passing minute. It is difficult to put names, however as I have had the honor of working with many esteemed learned professionals, I always tried to pick good things from them and imbibe within myself, which has helped me evolving with the dynamic environment

What leader / mentor do I look up to and why?

The leader is not the one who commands the workforce to move in a particular direction, rather he/she communicates as well as establishes a sense of belongingness and equality amongst all the team members to work alongside with them to achieve the desired results proactively and efficiently. I have had the opportunity to work with Vikram and Rohit at EXL and Dinesh at IndiaMART, who have built great businesses.  I believe there is plenty to learn from them.

In the warzone

What was the toughest decision you had to make in your role as a CFO?

A person needs to go through various ups and downs in his professional career and I have been no exception.  There have been times where we needed to restructure businesses or deal in situations demanding tough calls on people and business.  Decisions against the status quo are always tough irrespective of how big or small they are.

What are the biggest risks that you faced and how did you hedge it? How has Covid-19 pandemic changed the role of CFO?

Being one of the key managerial personnel and member of the Core team, the decisions have a long-lasting impact on the organization.  The external factors though have an indirect but significant impact on the business operations. Ensuring that all the external factors are considered with right sensitivity and accuracy of assumptions taken in significant decisions are the biggest risk any CFO faces. One such factor that hit the businesses was the COVID-19 pandemic. The dire need to ensure safety of our employees, suppliers, society as well as other stakeholders, while continuing 24X7 operations on IndiaMART website was one of the biggest risks faced by the organization. The situation demanded us to defy the status quo rules and think out of box to navigate the organization through these tough times.

How do you wish to transform the CFO’s role in the future?

The domain of CFO is not restricted to financial reporting and analysis anymore. With the ever changing business practices and technology establishing its roots in financial operations, it becomes imperative to preserve and protect data as well as instill a robust Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) and machine learning system to leverage this data for business use. 

One persistent pressure on CFOs

Being an IT-enabled business, the primal focus lies on embracing technology in new ways and discovering success driving revenue growth while ensuring an effective risk management.

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