In conversation with Staney Pullolickel Regional Treasurer ASIA, MENAT & SSA General Electric
Your views on digital transformation in finance?
It’s critical to adapt quickly and invest in this phase of finance transformation. Adaptation and investment not only as organizations, but also as finance professionals to upskill is as equally important.
How is your firm managing the financial functions in disruptive times?
GE is a company that has weathered disruptive times for over a century, we have over 125 years of innovation as history which has transformed the world. From a finance standpoint, switching to work from home, relooking at our processes internally using lean principals and constantly improving have helped our finance functions stay on top of these tough times.
During this COVID 19 situation, what shall firms do to manage their financial decisions efficiently?
Firstly it’s important for firms to have mechanisms in place to make near-real-time decisions. For example, real-time visibility of liquidity, real-time visibility of supply chain, inventory, etc. Secondly CFO’s and finance professionals need to be enabled to go beyond bookkeeping and be more a partner to the commercial processes. As every sales decision in these times needs to be viewed from a cost-benefit and liquidity perspective.
How can we advance the accounting and finance industry in the UAE and Middle East region?
Accounting and finance should not be seen as “bookkeepers” but more strategic partners in commercial growth. It’s important hence for the industry to also upscale itself by being more attuned to tools, changes in market practice, and how the digital wave is impacting all of us. The finance professionals have also visibility to all aspects of the business and hence need to step up to provide proactive data points, rather than retrospective closure.
What are the top trends to watch out for in the accounting and finance industry of the region?
Digitalization and associated skill sets, rapidly changing banking environment and the possible usage of robotic processes to manage repetitive tasks and the key trends to keep an eye on in this region.
What is the biggest challenge in the F&A industry in the UAE and the Middle East at the moment?
The key challenge in the long term is to reinvent the conventional F&A role from being bookkeepers to strategic partners in commercial growth and in the short term ensuring appropriate liquidity and the right liquidity mix by working with banking and other partners is key.
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