CFOs Need to be Co-pilots to the CEO, Sustainability Champions, M&A Wizards and Storytellers says Krea University and D&B Study

CFOs Need to be Co-pilots to the CEO, Sustainability Champions, M&A Wizards and Storytellers says Krea University and D&B Study

Krea University and Dun & Bradstreet’s Quantitative and Qualitative Study of CFOs in the Nifty 250 Presents the “The Future CFO: Changing Roles, Changing Goals”

  • The biggest challenges for CFOs are availability of skilled person-power, broader stakeholder management and managing new-age roles driven largely by digitization and sustainability
  • Finance executives with an MBA degree experienced faster career growth

Mumbai and Chennai, May 30, 2022: The IFMR Graduate School of Business at Krea University and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) today announced the findings of a study that captures the shifting priorities, new focus areas and diverse skill sets of new-age CFOs. Titled “The Future CFO: Changing Roles, Changing Goals”, the study is based on quantitative and qualitative insights from dozens of Indian CFOs and outlines the changing role of CFOs, key capabilities and competencies needed for CFOs of today and tomorrow, and the shifting priorities and newer responsibilities for CFOs. The study also presents interesting changes in the demographics of Indian CFOs over the last five years.

Mr. Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Professional Learning at Krea University,said,“Technology is fast becoming the language of business, and sustainability its underlying grammar. Rapid digitalization and a sharper focus on ESG have triggered a renaissance in the CFO office. Today’s CFOs play multiple roles—they are trusted partners to CEOs on not just financial but also strategic matters, conscience-keepers of Boards in enhancing stakeholder trust, storytellers deriving hindsights, insights and foresights from financial data, and PE-minded investors strengthening core businesses with investments in next-gen start-ups. This study delves into the skills, attributes and actions required of new-age CFOs to transform their organizations into purpose-led brands, drive profitable growth, enhance stakeholder satisfaction, and increase competitive differentiation.”

Ms. Preeta Misra, Senior Director, Dun & Bradstreet India said, “The relationship between a CEO and a CFO is critical for any business. Our study foundthat the ability to envision the business growth is the most important trait for a CFO. To be a trusted partner to the CEO, CFOs need newer skills to address newer demands of the market. The finance team now needs to become a multi-disciplinary team to champion organizational transformation, to manage existing challenges and capitalize on newer opportunities.”

Key takeaways:

  1. Availability of skilled person-power remains one of the biggest worries for CFOs.
  2. MBA is a career accelerator. In Nifty 250 companies, 47% of CFOs with an MBA are under 50 years, as compared to 35% of CFOs with non-MBA qualification for FY 2022.
  3. From traditional CFO-led activities—accounting and auditing, financial analysis and planning, investor relations, financial risk management, product pricing and regulatory compliance—CFOs now find themselves more involved in corporate strategy, organizational transformation, digitization, enterprise risk management and ESG implementation, and they feel these would be focus areas for next five years as well.
  4. Leaders need to walk the talk. The avowed commitments made by boards to increase diversity at executive levels do not reflect in the actual appointments. In FY 2022, there was no woman CFO in Nifty 50 companies, and the number was less than 5% in Nifty 250 companies.
  5. 86% CFOs gave high importance to digital technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud-based systems that are increasingly deployed to help CFOs transition from “systems of record” to “systems of engagement and intelligence”. This calls for new-age competencies largely driven by new-age technologies.
  6. CFOs need to build relationship capital through greater people-oriented skills including communication and collaboration with teams across the organization.
  7. CFOs need to be storytellers to present the larger corporate purpose as well as business, operational and financial strategy to multiple stakeholders.
  8. In addition to allocating capital to minimize unsustainability, CFOs need to create newer financial models to shape business sustainability and achieve publicly disclosed sustainability goals.
  9. Educational institutions and professional bodies need to curate new-age programs across these focus areas and new-age skills to enrich the capabilities and competencies of finance professions in the country.

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About the report

The report highlights the shifting priorities, challenges faced, and key focus areas of CFOs based on primary surveys. The survey interviews of CFOs were conducted between January and March 2022.  To capture the demographic changes, D&B analysed the Nifty 250 companies—Nifty 50, Nifty Next 50 and Nifty Midcap 150 index companies for FY 2016 and FY 2022 to see how the needle has moved over this period across different facets and mine insights. D&B chose the Nifty 250 as they represent over 70% of sales for FY 2022 of India Inc. and constitute about 86% of market capitalization of the listed NSE universe.

Click here for the report

About IFMR GSB at Krea University

Propelled by the 50 years strong legacy of IFMR and in line with Krea University’s ethos of re-imagining education empowered by the unique Interwoven Learning, IFMR Graduate School of Business is preparing impactful and effective business leaders who can solve the problems of the future. Having evolved from a research-based institution to a full-fledged business school IFMR GSB’s curriculum blends a mix of theory with simulated real-life exposure and endeavours to shape business practices through inventive, sharp thinking and cutting-edge research. Porous boundaries bring the real world to the classroom and enable students to gain an an immersive learning environment, aided by programmes, internships, workshops and sessions in collaboration with diverse global institutes and eminent speakers from varied fields. IFMR GSB offers a full-time MBA programme, executive and management development programmes for experienced professionals and PhD program in affiliation with University of Madras.

Over 20 years, IFMR GSB has built a robust network of 5000+ eminent alumni across the spectrum of industries who bring in valuable insights and expertise to the students while the illustrious Academic Council provides deep insights and direction to IFMR GSB’s teaching, design curriculum, research and related activities. The Governing Council, Executive Committee, and Board of Management at Krea University include eminent leaders from the world of finance and economics such as N Vaghul (former Chairman of ICICI Bank Ltd), Raghuram Rajan (the 23rd RBI Governor), R Seshasayee (former Chairman of IndusInd Bank), Raghu Sundaram (Dean of NYU Stern School of Business), S Mahalingam (Former Chief Finance Officer. & Executive Director. Tata Consultancy Services), and Esther Duflo (Nobel Laureate and Co-Founder and Co-Director at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), among others.

IFMR GSB at Krea University Contact:

Name: Akhila Krishnamurthy
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 9841085692

About Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet, a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics, enables companies around the world to improve their business performance. Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk and transform their businesses. Since 1841, companies of every size have relied on Dun & Bradstreet to help them manage risk and reveal opportunity. For more information on Dun & Bradstreet, please visit www.dnb.com.

Dun & Bradstreet Information Services India Private Limited is headquartered in Mumbai and provides clients with data-driven products and technology-driven platforms to help them take faster and more accurate decisions in domains of finance, risk, compliance, information technology and marketing. Working towards Government of India’s vision of creating an Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) by supporting the Make in India initiative, Dun & Bradstreet India has a special focus on helping entrepreneurs enhance their visibility, increase their credibility, expand access to global markets, and identify potential customers & suppliers, while managing risk and opportunity. Visit www.dnb.co.in for more information.

Dun & Bradstreet Contact:

Name: Kaustav Bhattacharya
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 9650306645

With a vision to interweave policy making with digital well being, Amartya Sinha heads to Harris School of Public Policy

student work

Amartya Sinha hopes to remedy the complex challenges within the world of today that rally around digital wellbeing and data privacy. He aims to design policies, create awareness and encourage dialogue in relevance, a vision that has led him to the Master of Public Policy Programme at Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago.

When the acceptance offer came knocking

Amartya received the acceptance call from the School in April and for the first few minutes he couldn’t believe the news. “The feeling, in a single word, was ‘exhilarating’. I had finally gotten accepted to the top school of my choice and I didn’t need to worry. Once it sunk in, I started working on scholarships and other funding choices for the programme.”

Amartya had applied only to the colleges that ranked high in his list of choice and while he doesn’t recommend others to do the same, his efforts and judgment have paid him well. 

When asked on what he would suggest to future aspirants of higher studies, Amartya adds, “Start off by identifying what you exactly want to do. Figure out that career path, the right job and then retrace, and pick the right course as a means to that path. It’s okay to be confused and work towards clarity. I myself didn’t have much of a clue until the presentation that started it all.”

The session that started it all

“It all started with the presentation from Harris School of Public Policy, organised by the Career Service Office (CSO) at Krea in September.” Amartya believes that the session offered clarity and opened up his mind to the various options available that he could pursue. Amartya had applied and was accepted to multiple top universities and chose Harris School of Public Policy.

The vision for the future

Amartya aims to increase awareness about data privacy and design policies which are effective for digital wellbeing. He emphasises on how following his foray into the field and with the learnings gathered, he is much more conscious of his presence online and is careful about data sharing. While they may seem innocuous, our digital footprint can often lead to compromise of personal information. “We should be in control of our digital presence and wellbeing –  not the other way around.”

The Krea Journey

“Krea has been instrumental for my development and growth. I joined Krea because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and had an open mind to pick and choose everything.” Amartya’s path through Krea has been truly exploratory, meandering through various streams of study before zeroing in on what he really wished to focus on. He also believes that if he hadn’t been given this large choice of subjects and rare combinations to choose from, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“The process to choose the Major and Minor was very interesting. I explored everything, and even tried Literature though I quit after four classes. I then took up Economics as Major which was my default choice, and Social Studies as Minor; but later realised that I would like to do more on the Social Studies side with Economics as a Minor, along with a concentration in Politics.” 

Amartya tried and tested multiple choices before landing on the one he really wished to pursue, very true to the ethos that Krea academics is rooted in.

Assignments that steered the vision

The internships and assignments at Krea also helped Amartya foresee what his future goals would be. In the second year, Amartya worked as a Data Analyst for Prof John Mathew, with Kaustav Mehta and Ananya Raju on a research project focusing on impacts of SARS-CoV-2 in India using Spark NLP to make language detection pipelines for big data. “I hadn’t done any CS courses but I did programming for the project and it made me aware of the scope and reach of technology.”

Amartya has handled various initiatives over time that firmly hit home the fact that Krea is diverse, inclusive and the experience; holistic. He was the Tech Support for the Online KICs (Krea Immersion Case) and a Conversation Partner who helped freshers build proficiency in the English language. He also worked with the Admissions Team and prepared guides for the Tech Literacy Bridge Program aimed at helping students transition to basic online learning and tools.

“I believe Krea teaches you that you don’t necessarily need to have the skills to come in, you need to have the passion and then you take the path onwards.”

Amartya was also part of the Constituent Assembly, and was an Indoor Sports Representative for the Sports Committee. He also helped host three tournaments in Table Tennis, Foosball and Chess in the first year before the world evolved in response to COVID-19. He has also imparted Table Tennis lessons to fellow peers.

Faculty like friends

“The faculty at Krea form a fundamental part of the Krea experience. Professors are more like friends; you can just walk into their office and have a dialogue.” Amartya firmly believes that the bond shared between faculty and students at Krea is respectful and more of equity than coming from a place of authority. Amartya also shares gratitude towards a number of faculty members who helped him through the learning journey, including the clarity on the choice of Major and Minor, various assignments and internships and overall, in just being great mentors.

The Nostalgia Moment

Amartya has had various memorable moments interspersing his Krea journey but one of the most memorable highlights is his joining the choir in the first year.  “I always wanted to sing but knowing that I am not a good singer, this was my free ticket to saying I am one.”  Amartya was a bass singer and thanked Prof John for insisting that he join the choir. He has both performed and directed for the choir. 

How did Krea happen?

Amartya hails from Nalanda but has spent most of his life in Navi Mumbai. He believes he was a confused young man ( and still is) albeit powered with curiosity.  “If an idea pops up in my mind, I latch on to it and figure it out and this has led me to do various things like programming, video audio editing, photography, mountain biking and so on.”

Amartya found Krea in the year of the University’s inception and the KIC along with the holistic admissions process won him over to make the choice to choose Krea over other Liberal Education Schools and that’s where it all started.

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

BOOKS BANTER : Q&A with Prof Sathya Saminadan on the launch of his book

The Deception Moment

Please tell us a little about the book and the genre?

“The Deception Moment” is a Sci-fi thriller. It is about a mission the protagonist Devavrat Deshpande, a Retired RaW officer, takes up knowing a minor slip in the assignment would lead him to execution. Concomitantly he was undergoing a personal depression which was rising above him from time to time. Would Devavrat be able to come out of the challenges and complete the assignment successfully? Is the bottom-line of the story.

Is it set in India?

Yes, it happens in Mumbai. But wait, you have a twist in that. You should be reading the book to know what I’m referring to.

We do not hear much about contemporary Indian science fiction, what’s the inspiration behind penning down this manuscript?

The biggest inspiration for me to pen down this book is our Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. If we put away all the religious colours aside, Mahabharata talks beyond time for that age. All the latest scientific advancements these days like Surrogacy, Human farming, DNA manipulation and cloning or the atomic advancements were mentioned in Mahabharata. Being an ardent fan of the epic, I took all the inspiration from that. 

When did you start working on the book and how does it feel now that the book is released?

I have been doing research since 2017 to write this book, as it involved a lot of scientific and logical explanation for many sequences in the story. But I started to write the book in the middle of 2019 and completed it by early 2020.

How has the experience been juggling the role at IFMR GSB and moonlighting as an author?

I wanted to be an author even before I became a professor. Writing was my childhood passion. I have been publishing stories, summaries and articles in magazines since my college and school days. Writing is something which I do during the relaxing time from the demanding job.

Are you working on another book at the moment or is it parked for the future?

Yes! The next book of mine is a political thriller. I have completed it and am looking out for the best publisher around.

Prof Sathya Saminadan is the Assistant Professor, Marketing at IFMR GSB.  An educator and author, Prof Sathya is also an alum of IFMR GSB.


About Prof Sathya Saminadan R S

Post Completing MBA from IFMR, he garnered 19 rich years of work experience of which 10 years he was in the industry and 9 years in Academia. His initial career started with a Pharmaceutical Company as Sales representative and he later moved to aviation industry and later into banking sector.He has had a vibrant career growth, starting as a Sales Executive to Assistant Vice President. He has been a part of every marketing department which included Sales, Training, Digital Marketing and Product strategy. He was heading the branches in a bank, leading a holistic team of managers who were responsible for revenue and broadening the market.

During 2010 moved to Great Lakes Institute of Management as lecturer for marketing as move towards the passion of becoming a teacher. Prof Saminadan, Completed his PhD in Digital Marketing in alliance with search and purchase behaviour of the consumer from the University, SCSVMV – Kanchipuram. He is associated with more than a dozen colleges in Chennai and outer as a visiting professor and to name a few, IIT- Madras, LIBA and SRM.

He was awarded as the best teacher for the year 2016 by the International Business Conference committee, Goa for his contribution towards teaching and research in the area of Marketing. He has been a committee chair on many occasions for managing an event, conference, department and institution building exercises.

Prof Sathya Saminadan have also published several research papers and some them have been widely recognized among the research community Reach him at [email protected]