Sayamdeb Mukherjee, CFO, United Breweries Limited shares his thoughts on the shades of life and why finance is an integral part of business.
Philosophy: Count your blessings and be happy
Political views: Liberal
Vision for self: To keep pace and adopt to the tectonic transformations taking place in the outside world
First job: Regional Accountant of ICI Paints Ltd
THE NUMBERS GUY
Why I love finance: Finance as a function is an integral part of business and it gives us a 360 degrees view of all that is happening in the organisation
One career high: Being selected as a Finance Brand Ambassador by Heineken's global CFO
My strongest skill in finance: Business partnering and strategic planning
The most rewarding project/moment of my profession: To win the CFO100 Roll of Honour for 4 years.
If I were to redo a project: Setting up in-house KPO for data analytics for Ericsson India to cater to different entities world over. My focus in this project was more on the competence of team members with respect to their understanding of finance. But if I were to do this project today I would equally emphasise on technological aspects like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.
One big mistake/failure I turned into an opportunity: I had to implement sustainability initiatives with our contract suppliers in Philips . During negotiation I had to yield to their request to increase the procurement price to comply with the sustainability norms which was quite high compared to the market rates. As we had to comply I was not in a position to negotiate with them effectively. However, this gave me insights on their costing structure. A few months later, when the commodity prices went up and they asked for another round of price increase I could manage to negotiate with them to keep the prices constant by improving their operational efficiencies.
The legacy I would like to leave behind: People remember me as person even after I am no longer associated with them in their day to day functions.
One unforgettable lesson I learnt: Important to build relationships with people because however strong the case is if it does not have an emotional connect with the stakeholder it is bound to fail.
India of my dreams: No citizen should go to bed hungry and all children should have the right to basic education
Lesser known fact: Interest in photography
My eureka moment/epiphany: Working for multi national companies I always wanted to take up global roles. However I had locational constraints and therefore it was difficult for me to pitch for these roles. In Ericsson there was an opportunity to do Project Controlling roles for other countries. I succeeded in convincing our global head quarters that it is possible to do such assignments out of India. In the past these projects were handled out of Sweden. The learning for me was if a person is committed then anything is possible.
I as a mentor and mentee: As a mentee I was always encouraged to look beyond numbers and understand the core of business. I have imbibed that principle and now as a mentor I encourage my team to participate in cross functional groups and look at business in a holistic manner. I believe as a true business partner one needs to look at each and every element of business rather than only do financial analysis.
One shocking discovery about me: I am an introvert by nature. But with 2 decades of corporate exposure I am now able to communicate with people with different interests and build relationships with them
The most memorable characters in my story: My family
If I were to write a book it would be about: How can finance professionals be strategic advisors to CEOs
The leader I would love to be/the role I would love to play: A leader who encourages people to try out new things and supports in case of failure. Most people are apprehensive to try out new things for fear of failure. I would like to encourage my team to take risks and support them in case it does not work out as per plan
When not playing numbers (hobbies): Working with NGOs
How I de–stress: Meditation
What gives me hope for the future: The honesty and integrity of the common man of this country