‘Technology is the Enabler in Finance Functions’

Financial control has become relatively easy with the adoption of technology, says Bipin Kumar Tibrewal, the Group Chief Finance Officer for Airbus Group India Pvt Ltd

Q: Please tell us something about yourself. What have been the key highlights in your career? Any awards/achievements that you would you want to share with us?

I have over 25 years of varied experience in reputed organizations and business conglomerates across industry verticals. My core strengths lie in Strategy, General Management, Procurement, Marketing Strategy, Finance, Accounts, Taxation, and Legal and Statutory Compliance.

I started my career with the Aditya Birla Group (ABG) in its fertilizer business in 1994. I had the opportunity to learn many new things and my career flourished well under the leadership of some great mentors there.  In 2004, I moved to ABG’s IT services business, which gave me exposure to what was then a global sunrise Industry.

Having worked for 11 years at this Indian MNC, I felt it was time to move to a global company and gain experiences which went beyond the domestic industry. In 2005, I joined Schneider Electric. Two years later, in 2007, I moved to Airbus, then a Greenfield venture in India, as CFO, and was elevated to Group CFO India in 2014.

When I look back at my achievements, I can easily pinpoint the successful implementation of Fertilizer marketing strategy for pricing, when the industry was struggling with heavy discounts thereby hitting the bottomline heavily. I can also say that making the right strategy for certain M&A for value addition to the business, and implementing the same as a role model under-one-roof strategy in Airbus, was also an achievement.

I have got various recognition and awards, the latest being the CFO of the Year 2017– India Award from The Asset Treasury Publishing, Hong Kong.

Q. How much emphasis do you place on chargeability/utilization of resources while setting your organization’s financial strategy?

Resources are the key and as a manager, it is utmost important to keep the tempo high. Skill-set is core to the talent needs in these challenging times. I focus on understanding the capability and learning skills of the resources and on their development to ensure they reach their maximum possible potential. The role of a CFO is not only management of financial resources but human resources managing Finance function as well.

Q. Would you agree to do a trade-off for an incremental hike in topline to achieve a better bottom line?

All increments are not the tradeoffs for bottom line. It is the organizational culture, working atmosphere and career growth prospects which help build a world class organization. Top Line growth is utmost important, especially when everyone wants to be a bigger player for long-term survival and outsmart competitors. In the current atmosphere, forgoing bottom line for short term depending on the financing of the organization is not a bet but a business imperative.

You might also be interested to read: ‘Embracing Disruption and Harnessing Technology is the New Normal’ – Unmesh Pawar, Partner and Head of People, Performance and Culture, KPMG

Q. What’s the risk assessment strategy you adopt to safeguard your organization?

We are living in a VUCA world, enterprise risk assessment is the key to survival and Corporate Governance. Retention of market leadership, Financial health, and product life cycle with a new market and new product line are always to be analyzed in risk assessment. Also, the key internal controls in the organization have to be focused on  surprises and corporate governance.

Q. Given a choice, which regulatory compliances would you want to see getting simplified?

Labor laws have been simplified to some extent. Four Labor codes is still a work in progress. But plenty needs to be done in the arena of labor laws and structural reforms. Foreign exchange related Tax laws are another important piece which should be addressed on priority. These reforms will help our country become competitive in the global marketplace.

Q. How have you embedded technology into your team’s daily functioning?

Technology is the enabler in finance functions. It has helped us improve our speed of service delivery and reduced our turnaround time. Quality has improved in so far as accuracy in numbers is concerned. It is not easy to forecast trends and include predictive analytics which gives us the edge in decision making. Financial control has become relatively easy with the adoption of technology. Regular training is imparted to the team to be in line with technology advancement in the finance function.

Q. The recent Supreme Court judgment about removing ceiling for computation of Pension is a landmark one. How are you preparing to comply with? How’s the sentiment of your employees towards this ruling?

Still, I think it is under review by most of the employers and waiting for clarifications. Since the matter is sub-judice, I will not like to comment.

Q. What are some of the key traits that are imperative in a good CFO?

The CFO should move from micro management to macro management. He or she should be a team player and be a guide, mentor and coach to his team and the management on finance matters. He is the conscience keeper of the organization on fiscal discipline. The organization depends on the CFO for cost efficiency, investments and all decisions which are vital to the financial health of the organization through an out of the box approach.

Q. Do you see the finance profession getting impacted by digitalization? What might change?

I do not think it is a disrupter, rather it enhances the role of finance with the advancement of skill set for data mining and analytical approach. Further, it eases the decision making process with better reliability. It is impacted by digitalization but in a positive way. It has really been transformational for the finance function.

About Bipin Kumar Tibrewal
Group Chief Finance Officer, Airbus Group India Pvt Ltd

Bipin Kumar Tibrewal is the Group Chief Finance Officer for Airbus Group India Pvt Ltd since 2007. A Chartered Accountant and Cost & Work Accountant, Bipin has 25 years of versatile experience in strategy, general management, procurement, marketing strategy, finance, accounts, taxation, legal and statutory compliance with reputed organizations and business conglomerates across industry verticals. Prior to this, Bipin was Head of Finance & Administration for Schneider Electric India (2005-07). He started his career in Aditya Birla Group and served at various positions from 1994-2005.

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