Over the past few years, the role of the CFO has evolved significantly. The CFOs of today need to tackle and master a number of challenging situations that emerge out various key influencing forces like organisation, technology, environment, people and processes.
“Retailers today need CFOs to go beyond being just a number crunchers. Unless they have a business sense, the number crunching capability is very limiting. They have to move from being cost controllers to being risk managers. In addition to managing the status quo, CFOs of today need to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the CEOs to drive business growth. This Summit provides an excellent platform to discuss the evolving role of the CFO in today’s business as an enabler to business,” said Rahul Mehta, President - Clothing Manufacturers Association of India & MD- Creative Garments Pvt. Ltd in his keynote address.
“The CFO Summit will bring to the table some of the most sensitive issues of retail including loss prevention, funding, profits and finance. Times have changed, markets have evolved. The aim of the gathering is to understand the new rules of this new-age game of retail. The idea is to facilitate a dialogue among the industry so that best practices, ideas and insights on money matters can be shared for the benefit of all and together we can move towards sustainable and profitable growth,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.
The key sessions included:
Money matters: Roadblocks in Retail Funding
Driving innovation and Business Growth using Technology
Navigating the taxation maze (Special focus on GST)
Fraud detection and Loss Prevention.
The four top themes that emerged from the day’s discussions included:
CFOs have to move from being managers to leaders: The CFO has to work with the promoters/CEOs to growth the business, not just control costs on various areas. “CFO is now a business partner,” said Vinay Gupta, CFO, Skechers.
CEOs and CFOs need to focus on operating model: “Get sustained funding requires a very sound operating model. If there is a clear thought, strategy and objective then funding can come from several sources,” Ashwin Khasgiwala, Director & Chief Financial Controller, Reliance Retail.
Traditional ways are out, innovation is in: Traditional ways of managing can only lead to more of the same. Retailers need to find new ways of funding, especially operating costs and the CFO needs to help drive that. “We can no longer rely on traditional means but find innovative ways. For instance, Big Bazaar a programme where customers pay us in advance for 10 months and get free shopping in the 11th and 12th month. This helps fund business as well as creates stickiness of the customer,” said CP Toshniwal, ED, Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd. (FLFL) & CFO, Future Retail Ltd. (FRL). Adding to this Vinod Menon, Group President – Finance, Landmark Group India said, “Innovative financing is not only about making money for yourself. You need to work with partners and all the stakeholders even customers to together make money and grow the business.”
Technology is changing finance in retail as well: Two most visible areas of technology revolution are: payments and gifting. However, technology is entering other areas too. “Machine learning is entering finance and funding as well, increasing efficiencies and helping mine customer data,” said Shridar Jayakumar, Cognitive Solutions (Watson & Analytics Solutions), Sales Leader (India & South Asia), IBM. “Retailers need to adopt technology fast or risk being obsolete,” Kailash Kulkarni, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund. Pay-per-use models of technology are business and balance-sheet friendly.
The insightful discussions of the day uncovered several practical insights that the CFOs and retailers present can go back and implement and succeed in the Changing Retail Landscape.
About Retailers Association of India:
Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. It is a strong advocate for retailing in India and works with all levels of government and stakeholders with the aim to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. http://www.rai.net.in
Caption for the session image (L-R):
Shridar Jayakumar, Cognitive Solutions (Watson & Analytics Solutions), Sales Leader (India & South Asia), IBM
Kailash Kulkarni, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund
Rajiv Warrier, CEO, Sodexo
Raghu Rajagopalan, President – Finance , Max
Vijay Jain, CFO, HyperCITY Retail (India) Ltd.
Venkatesalu P, ED- Finance, Trent Limited
Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI
Caption for lamp lighting image (L-R): RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan with
Kailash Kulkarni, CEO, L&T Mutual Fund as Rahul Mehta, President - Clothing Manufacturers Association of India & MD- Creative Garments Pvt. Ltd. looks on.