Tapan Jindal

Balancing Stability, Growth, and Risk in Finance

TAPAN JINDAL

Head Of Finance,

Sugarbox

Wearing the hat of an entrepreneur endows professionals with invaluable experience and knowledge, equipping them with a unique perspective that sets them apart. Tapan Jindal, Head of Finance at Sugarbox, embodies this entrepreneurial mindset, allowing him to excel in his role as a finance leader.
Tapan’s entrepreneurial journey spans marketing, business development, and sales, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of running a successful enterprise. This experience sharpens his decision-making skills, particularly in recognising the importance of timing for financial success. Transitioning to a finance leader, Tapan intimately understands the urgent demands placed on the finance function, such as short deadlines for contracts and timely vendor payments. His firsthand perspective enables proactive collaboration between finance and other departments.
Recognising effective communication as crucial for trust-based partnerships, Tapan engages with business teams, actively addressing challenges and finding solutions. This approach resolves conflicts and fosters seamless collaboration. To support the business effectively, Tapan prioritises finance automation, streamlining processes throughout the business cycle. Aligning finance operations with the speed of the business ensures a harmonious partnership that drives growth.
As TradeFlock delves deeper into the conversation with Tapan, he continues to create value by enabling operational excellence, responsible decision-making, and ultimately impacting the success, growth, and bottom line of Sugarbox. 

How have you used participative leadership to drive success in the companies you've worked for as a finance executive?

I believe that in today’s rapidly changing world, every leader plays a crucial role in a company’s success. With an open mind towards understanding new-age businesses, I go beyond traditional finance roles. To move financial metrics in the right direction, I focus on identifying and utilising operating levers and working closely with teams. My participative leadership style follows the T-C-T framework. First, I emphasise Technology by implementing automation tools, modernising the finance function, and ensuring it keeps up with the speed of the business. Accurate data is shared to contribute to business growth and strategy. Communication is the next crucial aspect. I create an environment of open communication where ideas, concerns, and suggestions are freely expressed and valued. Diverse perspectives lead to innovative solutions, risk assessment, and better decision-making. Team building is the final pillar. I nurture selfmotivated teams willing to go the extra mile and solve problems collaboratively across functions. While guiding them regularly, I empower them to make decisions, foster their professional growth, and cultivate a culture of accountability and trust. In key hires, I involve cross-functional leaders to ensure the right talent is recruited. Through my participative leadership style, I promote collaboration, innovation, and accountability within departments and crossfunctional teams. This approach not only drives financial success but also contributes to overall growth and team satisfaction.

What strategies have you implemented to drive the company's bottom line and foster growth?

I employ impactful strategies that directly impact the company’s profitability and propel its growth trajectory. Balancing growth and profitability is crucial, and as a finance leader, I prioritise both. I align with the business on the principle that they can spend money if they deliver results while keeping an eye on the impact on the bottom line. At SugarBox, our goal is to fuel the Digital India dream by providing digital content access to under-connected areas. With our patented technology, the business is focused on growth and willing to invest in various locations. Finance plays a key role in aligning business growth goals with bottom-line impact. Over the past two years, we have expanded from 50 to 600+ locations. Working closely with cross-functional teams, we develop revenue-enhancing strategies and have added revenue streams in e-Commerce, mobility, and education. We have partnered with more than 20 companies across seven business categories. To manage cash flow, we have transitioned from a capital expenditure (CapEx) heavy model to an operating expenditure (OpEx) heavy model. This includes partnering with hardware companies or leasing hardware instead of making upfront purchases. Additionally, we have made strategic decisions to close businesses that may not contribute to long-term growth or achieve positive unit economics.

How do you balance financial stability, growth, and risk management in your decisionmaking?

To achieve a balance between financial stability, growth, and risk management, I rely on data-driven decision-making. Establishing a robust FP&A framework allows for accurate financial forecasting, budgeting, and performance analysis. By closely monitoring key financial metrics and trends, I can optimise resource allocation, identify cost-saving opportunities, and drive revenue growth. Comprehensive risk assessments play a crucial role in managing risks. This involves analysing internal and external factors, financial and operational KPIs, market scenarios, and regulatory risks. I perform a risk-reward analysis, considering potential opportunities and associated risks. Scenario analysis, from best case to worst case, helps in assessing potential outcomes. Continuous monitoring of progress ensures informed decision-making for the business and organisation.

What personal qualities or habits have contributed to your success as a finance executive?

My adventurous spirit and love for challenges, demonstrated through activities like long bicycle expeditions and engaging in strategic board games, have helped me understand and navigate risks effectively. Effective communication, trust in my team, emotional intelligence, and a belief in constant change have fostered strong relationships and a positive environment. Continuous learning, analytical skills, and expanding my knowledge across functions, including legal, compliance, and commercial aspects, have been instrumental. Working in each organisation as a “Finpreneur” and driving financial performance have also been key contributors to my success.

What personal goals or aspirations are you currently working towards, either within or outside of your career in finance?

As I always desired, presently, I am working as a Head and leading various legal, compliance, and commercials at Sugarbox. For further, I aspire to be the CFO of a listed company is another goal, considering my experience in fundraising, business scaling, and venture sales. On a personal level, I am passionate about mentoring high school and college students, particularly in tier II and tier III cities. Coming from Ludhiana, I understand the challenges of exploring career options after graduation. By starting mentorship programmes at an early stage, such as the +2 standard, I aim to help students understand various career paths and accelerate their professional growth by 3-5 years.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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