• December 5, 2023

CFOs are now strategic thinkers: Integreon CFO Rahul Malhotra on Business Transformation

CFOs are now strategic thinkers: Integreon CFO Rahul Malhotra on Business Transformation

CFO India recently interviewed Integreon CFO Rahul Malhotra on the significance of business and digital transformation.

In the fast-evolving landscape of commerce, where adaptation is not merely an asset but the heartbeat of sustainability, most businesses find themselves compelled to metamorphose, innovate, and recalibrate strategies to stay ahead. Amid this dynamic, the concept of business and digital transformation has emerged as the guiding beacon for established as well as up-and-coming enterprises. 

Business and digital transformation embodies a holistic approach, catalysing profound changes in organisational culture, processes, and technologies, propelling companies towards resilience and growth.

To understand this concept better, we asked Mr Rahul Malhotra, CFO at legal and business outsourced services provider Integreon, to share his insights about the essence and significance of business and digital transformation in shaping the future of enterprises.

Q. Can you provide an example of a business transformation initiative you’ve led as CFO? What were the key drivers for this transformation, and what were the outcomes in terms of financial performance and strategic objectives?

Rahul: We are currently working on an end-to-end contracting to invoicing platform which is being led by the finance team. These tools will enable Integreon to streamline our contracts, manage contract obligations and ensure compliance/adherence to various contracting terms and provisions. The commercial terms of the contract will then be extended through a workflow to manage client invoicing. This platform will also allow Integreon to automate our entire revenue accrual to invoicing process with the entire contract lifecycle being managed at the back end.

Process efficiency and effectiveness are paramount to an organization like Integreon that is scaling up.  This initiative will put in place the right tools and facilitate achieving our objectives.

There is a fallacy when it comes to transformational projects that it would result in significant financial savings. While that may be the case, these types of initiatives deliver much more than just financial benefits and extend to strategic objectives. For us, the intent was to ensure a streamlined process and ensure the accuracy and completeness of the process.

Q. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, how do you see the role of the CFO evolving.

Rahul: CFOs are now strategic thinkers for the organisation. They have earned a seat at the table for strategic decision making shaping the future of the organisation. CFOs bring in the power of financial data which provides valuable insights and helps determine the sustainability of the business and serves as the basis of the strategic direction being contemplated.

This uncertainty of business is what makes having a digital transformation strategy critical. All the technological advancements and new technologies like GenAI have made automation solutions accessible, cheaper, less capital intensive, scalable and flexible to customisation. Technology cannot replace human effort but rather complement it. This confluence of manual effort,  technology and its impact on the business is important for every organisation to understand before it determines its digital strategy. Digital transformation will be a core element of every function and department. Every new decision or strategy will have to seek the help of digital solutions to ensure that the strategy execution can be altered quickly if there is any unforeseen event. Digital transformation achievement provides that nimbleness which is so very critical today.

The aspects of nimbleness, business resilience and scalability are where CFOs are looking to digital to reshape how businesses conduct their approach towards strategy development.

Q. What specific strategies have you implemented to ensure your finance department stays agile and adaptable in the face of digital disruption?

Rahul: Some key steps to ensure agility in the finance function include:

  1. Employee engagement. Getting the team aligned to the end objective is critical to ensure there is acceptance for the transformational strategy being pursued. Just implementing a digital solution is not the solution. It is the people who will ultimately implement and use the solution that is critical to its success. Behavioural change is key. They also have domain expertise and without that knowledge, no solution can be successful.

  2. Broadening of skill sets. Conceptual knowledge of finance is a given, but an agile finance function requires a broader, more technology-oriented skill set which should include the use of digital technology.

  3. Collaboration. For agile finance, collaboration is key. Finance being an enabler needs to synch with other parts of the organisation. It cannot operate in a silo.
Shreya Biswas

Shreya Biswas

Shreya Biswas is an editor and multimedia journalist. Previously a financial reporter, she is currently Senior Editor at CFO Collective, where she leverages her expertise in business journalism and effective communication.

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