It is late in the night, the lights in one section of the office are on (no prizes for guessing which function this is), the CFO and his team are busy with the year end closure, getting ready for audits and there is also a budget exercise looming ahead.Budgeting is an annual feature in every company’s itinerary and is quite an elaborate process if its done well. Most large organizations have robust processes and better quality talent to be able to pull this off with relative ease. The issue lies with mid corporate organizations who are neither too large to have the processes and people nor too small to ignore this, especially those who have an investor on board or where the accountability rests with the board. Having seen many such organizations, I have put together my thoughts on how can organizations get the best out of a budgeting exercise. This is in no way comprehensive nor do I claim to be a ‘guru’, this is purely experiential and has come from my exposure of having dealt with such companies. Continue reading
Traditionally, the CFO represents the Finance function, just as the CMO represents the Marketing function, the CTO the Technology function and so on. Within the finance function, the CFO is expected to deal with accounting, taxation (both direct and indirect), banking, auditing, working capital management, risk management, corporate governance, internal controls, investor relationships (esp. relevant in case of a listed company), budgeting, costing. He has also to deal with various tax authorities (income tax/service tax/customs/excise/VAT etc. depts.), external stakeholders (customers and vendors for important commercial negotiations, auditors, govt. depts., stock exchanges and analysts in case of a listed company and private equity and VC investors in case of a private company), Board members (to explain the company’s performance, satisfy them regarding the company’s corporate governance processes etc.), company executives (i.e. heads of other functions and colleagues within the company in connection with the company’s operations), CFO’s of other companies (to share knowledge/information that may be useful to each other) etc.. Continue reading
Union Budget 2015 came as a pleasant surprise for the business community. Loaded with several tax relief for corporate and start ups, it can well be seen as a good step towards the agenda of ease of doing business.
The budget is a representation of 2 Is, investment and infrastructure. Finance minister had bounties on offer even for the last man in the row; that would be MSMEs. The budget carries huge thrust for SMEs and MSMEs as they will be able to access funds. Let’s have a quick look at some important tax sops, granted by the FM. Continue reading
Our client Pharmax is a family owned and managed company with turnover close to INR 700 Crores. Pharmax is a leading name in the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and Finished Drug Formulation (FDF) segments which is sold in both the regulated and the generic markets in India and over 50 countries worldwide. The company has state of the art manufacturing facilities approved by US FDA and has 17 Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) filed and 12 in the pipeline.
Challenges for MyCFO:
Budgeting at Pharmax was a simple ‘spread sheeting’ exercise restricted only to collation of data inputs received from various departments. The variance between budgets and actuals for instance in financial year 13-14 was more than 80%. The variances were reported every month to the HOD’s and the management on a month on month basis for their review and comments. Continue reading
Our client Fulex is in the business of developing fuel efficiency solutions for the Genset manufacturers. This involves carrying out R&D on the technological and commercial feasibility of the products and, once the feasibility is demonstrated, developing and manufacturing these products. The Company is in a high growth phase with a need for maintaining high level of working capital to sustain the growth, in addition to capital requirement to fund expansion.
The objective of the budget exercise was
- (a) to develop 5 / 10 year plans, Annual Operating Plan or Annual Budgets with monthly / quarterly break-ups at a departmental and segment level
- (b) Determine sales targets to the sales team, broken by products, geographies, customer segments etc.
- (c) Determine P&L position and cash/working capital requirements at various levels of sales
- (d) Determine the amount of capital to be infused to support ongoing operations and expansion plans
- (e) Planning for manpower needs
- (f) Expense control, by allotting expense budgets to departments
- (g) Determining profitability by product, geography, customer segments etc
- (h) Exploring feasibility of expansion plans with metrics such ROI and IRR
- (i) Scenario analysis, Sensitivity analysis and “what-if” analysis through modification of the assumptions.
IndFrag is an 80 year old, $ 100mn Indian group and the industry leader in industrial fragrances and flavours. The company is based in Mumbai having manufacturing capacities in Mumbai, Gujarat and Netherlands.
MyCFO assisted the company in a comprehensive change management project from a Promoter managed to a Professionally managed company. MyCFO was involved preparation of MIS reports, preparation of financial statements under local GAAP, analysis of product and business profitability, project managing the implementation of an ERP, preparing the data room for potential PE partners. Continue reading
Dr. Abhijit Phadnis worked as the Chief Operating Officer of UBS Investment Bank in India and as Head – Finance, Operations and Administration with Credit Issues. He also served on the board of a leading co-operative bank. Abhijit has experience in manufacturing and consulting sectors in a wide variety of interesting engagements.
Abhijit’s academic record is quite exemplary in the accounting & finance domain with high ranks in all the professional examinations such as CWA (1983), CA (1984), CS (1987) and CFA (1989). His all-India ranks were 2nd, 11th, 1st and 3rd respectively. He was recently awarded a PhD by IIT Bombay for his pioneering work on ‘Factors influencing investments into Indian states.’ Abhijit’s teaching experience also spans over 26 years. He has participated in over 250 executive education interventions. Abhijit has in the past served on the Academic Council and Board of Governors of the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India. Abhijit has devoted significant time for non-profit activities.
Budgeting is a hotly debated tool. There are companies that swear by it. There are companies that have long abandoned it citing the dynamic nature of this world. Its proponents emphasize use of budgeting as a strategic, planning and control tool. Its opponents reject it as a ritual with huge costs and little benefits. Any tool is useful if we engage its heart and soul. At the soul of budgeting is the trio of communication, involvement and ownership. Often this soul is completely forgotten and then budget circulars, budgeting calendar and deadlines take over. Finance professionals are busy crunching numbers throughout the year. Six months before the year begins, they begin their work on the budget, three months into the year there is an updated budget, in the middle of the year there is a mid-term review, the rituals go on but we hardly find any involvement of and communication with the people who are at the forefront executing the company’s strategy in the operations and market place. They hardly get to know what the firm’s strategic thinking is and how it is panning out. The question of seeking their views and involvement just does not arise at all! The ego at senior levels that we know everything often pushes firms to take a top-down approach to budgeting. But if one lets it go and accept the reality that intelligence and knowledge resides at all levels of the organization, it opens up the wonderful door to the real soul of budgeting: communication, involvement and ownership with lasting benefits for the organization.
I had an opportunity to serve on the Board of a leading co-operative bank. Come budget season, we gave up the past processes of a top-down approach and focused on the trio at the soul of budgeting. We began with a communication session in which the Board had an open session with all the operating and branch managers. Important aspects such as emerging banking environment, bank’s strategic imperatives, opportunities, critical organizational action issues were communicated with the operating and branch managers. The branch managers shared their views as well. More importantly, they carried these discussions forward at the branch level. The branch managers with support of senior executives held communication sessions with the branch staff. They together worked on the opportunities at the branch level, challenges and areas of improvement. Some of the operations staff even carried out surveys in the market place, giving them a feel of what the customers are looking for and emerging competition. The branches had a nearly a month to work together and prepare themselves for today and the future. This exercise wonderfully created a sense of camaraderie and involvement. The branch budget was no longer that of the senior management or of the branch manager. The staff members were focusing on certain business opportunities not because they were told to do so but because it was they who felt such opportunities were waiting to be exploited and they had to be done with alacrity for their common good. This baby step of involvement and communication had a lasting impact on the ownership paradigm and I am really delighted to see that this sense of involvement and ownership has benefited the bank immensely with the bank being a proud winner of many awards and laurels.