Nitin Mittal

Leveraging Experience to Create Unmatched Finance Strategies

NITIN MITTAL

Chief Financial Officer,

Afflatus International

With the changing times, the roles and responsibilities of a CFO have changed dramatically, from simply managing bookkeeping to now playing a larger role on the board in deciding the future roadmap of the organisation. Whether it’s the product, technology, geographic expansion, or otherwise, a CFO’s go-ahead is equally valued. On the other hand, complying with the changing regulatory requirements and global tax regimes needs brains that are always abreast with the latest industry happenings.
At Afflatus International, Nitin Mittal is leading this change and beyond as its CFO. He is instrumental in framing financial strategies and a roadmap for his apparel company, leveraging his demonstrated history of working in the apparel and fashion industry. TradeFlock interviewed Nitin to understand his processes and methods. 

Kindly give us a brief overview of your professional journey and shed light on some challenges you encountered.

My professional journey began in May 1995, when I cleared my CA final exams on the first attempt. Immediately after that, I joined Action Shoes as an assistant manager of accounts. Since then, I have worked for multiple organisations in different roles. The roles varied from leading the finance function as CFO of listed MNCs to being the head of M&A for a global conglomerate. As the roles have evolved, so have the challenges. Being CFO of an organisation is more than simply ensuring compliance with multiple laws or jurisdictions. With time, the challenges faced by current finance heads have become more multifaceted. Nowadays, you are not just expected to prepare MIS Leveraging Experience to Create Unmatched Finance Strategies Chief Financial Officer, Afflatus International NITIN MITTAL The goal of an effective finance manager is to drive the growth of the organisation while, at the same time, minimising the risks involved 10 Best CFOs in India 2023 28 statements or budgets but rather work to manage the risk faced by corporations, be it technological changes or the risk of larger economic events such as recessions.

How has the role of a CFO shifted when it comes to managing regulatory changes, driving growth, and making investment decisions? What impact does it have on your responsibilities?

As I mentioned earlier, the role of the CFO is not just about managing accounts, performing audits, or preparing statements for the board to consider. You are expected to do everything from manage cash flows to change management. The government is increasingly becoming stringent with the implementation of laws and regulations, thus, ensuring that you follow the letter of the law while at the same time managing street expectations is a new challenge. In line with this is the fact that you cannot let any event derail your organisation from its growth and investment track. Thus, you need to deal with a lot of uncertain situations and should have the ability to visualise them beforehand so that you can prepare accordingly.

Could you tell us the present demands of the finance functions that you prioritise and your strategies to effectively achieve your goals?

The goal of an effective finance manager is to drive the growth of the organisation while, at the same time, minimising the risks involved. The present demand from the finance function has changed drastically post-COVID; finance is more focused on risk mitigation than ever before. For me, this has been a top priority—to ensure that the organisation is not taking unnecessary risks while at the same time being adequately compensated for the risk it undertakes. For risk mitigation, I rely heavily on hedging strategies, be they in the foreign exchange market or otherwise. Overall, a healthy balance needs to be struck between risk and the reward associated with those risks.

How are you leveraging your previous experience today? Can you please name some technologies you are currently using?

All of my past experiences have shaped how I deal with situations today. For instance, my previous experience as CFO for a major conglomerate has shaped how I view my team, as I sincerely believe that you can only go far if you travel as a team. Also, my experience with the great recession of 2008-09 is shaping our strategies today for the anticipated recession, this time around. One technology I swear by is a to-do list. Though it may seem redundant, a simple to-do list prepared at the beginning of the day goes a long way towards defining how productive your day is going to be. Other technologies we extensively work with are our data analysis tools, such as Microsoft PowerBI or Tableau. Besides these, there are, of course, ERPs that are extensively used in our day-to-day work.

What should the accounting profession do to prepare the next generation of CFOs? How do you encourage your coworkers to be change agents?

Something that I feel that the accounting profession needs to do is invest in technologies of the age and, at the same time, prepare the next generation of CFOs who have the requisite skill set to work with these technologies. There is an increasing debate that AI might replace accountants in the next few years, but one thing AI cannot do is look at the substance of a transaction. Hence, I believe that in the coming few years, the finance and accounting function is going to be more about analysis and judgement calls than simple bookkeeping. I appreciate how ICAI keeps updating the course to be in line with the current developments in the world. To encourage my co-workers to lead the change, I insist that they attend master classes and stay abreast of changes.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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