Proschool : Please tell us about your background and qualifications.
Nageshwar : I am a B.Com graduate and a Chartered Accountant. I am currently a Manager in the Financial Reporting team at Dentsu Aegis Networks, handling a team of 5 people. Previously I have worked with HT Media and Quest Global
Proschool : Why did you decide to pursue this career and how did you get into this role?
Nageshwar : I was selected via campus placement.
Proschool : Your current role and a typical day?
Nageshwar : The work of a corporate finance professional is vast and includes various things, however at the entry level the job mostly involves playing with excel sheets and assisting seniors involved in analyzing various things for decision making. The role also includes reaching out to various departments and business units/ branch offices for information, consolidating the inputs and analyzing them. The advantage of a corporate finance role is that you get the opportunity to interact with and work with the top management like CFO’s, heads of different departments etc. This gives you a very good exposure and steep learning curve.
Proschool : High points in your career so far?
Nageshwar : In my first job our team completely changed the way forecasting and budgeting was done in the company. We implemented a detailed plan that forced the business and productions team to track their actual numbers at the lowest level and helped in identifying several inefficiencies.
I was promoted as a Manager from Assistant Manager for my contribution to my current team. I was told that the team was very happy with me for being very supportive and helpful. The best thing you can hear as a manager is that your team is happy working with you.
Proschool : Important projects you have worked on?
• Planning, Budgeting and forecasting financials, including preparation of annual, long-term plans and quarterly forecasts
• Management Decision support
• Competition benchmarking
• Assisting in Cash flow and Working Capital Management
• Pricing/Deal advisory which entails providing quotes or sales price to the sales team for the deals/projects
Proschool : Challenges faced?
Nageshwar : The biggest challenge in a financial planning team is that most of the requests are received from the top management and are always ad-hoc and very urgent. Also, to fulfill these requests, you need to source information from other branches/business teams. You need to fast and need to have excellent communication skills and relationships, which play a very important part in getting the information. I was an introvert and had to really struggle at the start of my career
The challenge faced while working in a pricing team is to balance the expectations of both the Management and Sales teams. The Management will always expect high margins but Sales teams will always challenge you on the price quoted citing the difficulty in selling at a higher price. You need to strike a balance between good margins and competitiveness.
Proschool : Outlook for the industry?
Nageshwar : The outlook for a Corporate Finance professional looks very bright in India. The tremendous growth in the economy is opening up new opportunities as new businesses are setting up. India has become a global hunting ground for talent. Now we have the opportunity to think of “global” careers. Global companies like IBM, Tesco, Honeywell, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and many others have setup their captive finance functions in India, providing a great opportunity for Indian finance professionals.
Proschool : Career opportunities for aspirants in India (and elsewhere)?
The various career opportunities/options for can be:
• Financial Analyst: Duties involve determining financing needs, analyzing capital budgeting projects, long-range financial planning, analyzing possible acquisitions and asset sales, working on budgets, analyzing competitors, implementing financial plans
• Financial Controller: Duties involve financial planning, accounting, financial reporting and cost analysis. May be called on to implement or work with a complex costing system, efforts at financial reengineering, transfer pricing issues or interface with auditors. This job requires extensive accounting knowledge
• Treasurer: Duties involve supervision of Treasury department which is involved in financial planning, raising funds, cash management and acquiring and disposing of assets
• Credit/ Commercial Manager: Duties include establishing policies for granting credit to suppliers, setting guidelines for collecting on credit and considering whether to securitize receivables
• Investor Relations Officer: Duties involve dealing with the investing public by disseminating financial information, responding to queries from institutional investors, issuing press releases to explain corporate events and organizing teleconferences with investors
• More sophisticated corporate finance jobs might involve mergers and acquisitions activity, such as calculating the value of an acquisition target or determining the value of a division for a spinoff
Proschool : Word of advice for aspirants?
Nageshwar : In today’s competitive world, it is not enough to have strong technical skills. In addition to their subjects, aspirants should also focus on below areas:
• Soft skills: You must enhance your communication skills, presentation skills and soft skills. Those who are not confident about their soft skills can join classes to develop their personality, body language, inter-personal and social interaction skills
• Industry Awareness: You should be aware of the latest trends in your field. It is important to keep on doing courses to update your knowledge. Participate in all kinds of group activities like group case studies, simulations, industry interaction programs and inter-college level academic and extra-curricular competitions to keep yourself updated
• Networking: To be a successful professional, you must be well connected and establish a good rapport with people in your field.