Vikash Kumar

A Maestro Strengthening Financial Functions With Automation

Vikash Kumar

Sr Vice President & CFO,

Gopalpur Ports Limited

I n the high-stakes world of the port industry, where competition is high and the landscape is ever-evolving, Vikash Kumar emerges as an inspiring leader adept at steering through this complex environment. With over 19 years of experience and a Chartered Accountant’s expertise, Vikash, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Gopalpur Ports, has been a key player in driving the company’s financial success and stability. His adept leadership in P&L Ownership has propelled the company forward, boosting both financial performance and operational efficiency.
Under Vikash’s strategic guidance, Gopalpur Ports has seen an impressive improvement in EBITDA margin by more than 6% to 8%, thanks to his cost-saving and consolidation initiatives. His efforts in securing a Credit Rating Improvement have significantly strengthened the company’s financial footing. Furthermore, he championed the implementation of a lower deduction TDS certificate, freeing up a huge amount of working capital. Collaborating with the Corporate treasury team, Vikash successfully down-sell RTL loans totaling approximately INR 500 Crs with PSU banks, ensuring robust project funding.
Vikash’s leadership has also brought about enhanced revenue assurance practices, drastically reducing EBITDA outflow from more than 90%. These initiatives have not only bolstered the company’s financial health but also positioned Gopalpur Ports for sustainable growth.
His extensive experience with Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., Vedanta Ltd. (Power Business), Marico, and Tata Steel Ltd. have blessed him with invaluable insights into business decision-making. Through financial analysis, projections, and restructuring, Vikash has brought scalable financial control to operations. Notably, he has implemented end-to-end SAP for financial modules in Coal Mines, Power Plants, and Smelter Operations, showcasing his prowess in financial software and systems integration.
Vikash’s contributions have been recognized with the SilverEdge Award for automating payments at Marico, implementing shared services for supply, services, administration payables, and employee reimbursement. TradeFlock interviewed Vikash to delve into his strategies, initiatives, innovations, and future plans as a CFO, providing a glimpse into the visionary leadership driving Gopalpur Ports toward unprecedented growth. 

What key experiences or turning points have shaped your career in finance and business leadership?

My professional journey has been adventurous, marked by rapid progression to strategic positions across diverse industries such as Steel, Cement, and Power. While I have had various experiences that shaped my career, a pivotal one was my tenure at Vedanta Limited. At Vedanta, I managed complex financial operations, including outsourcing a 3615 MW power plant and leading cost reduction initiatives, saving over 4% to 6% annually. I also led a debtor recovery task force targeting INR 3000 Cr, showcasing our financial acumen. This earned me recognition, including nominations for the Chairman Awards and selection for the Vedanta Future Leadership Team. Further, our proactive initiatives and exceptional team management improved EBITDA margins at Ports by nearly 6% to 8%.

How are your past roles different from your current role at Gopalpur Ports? How have you adjusted your strategies?

In previous roles, I focused on financial reporting, compliance, and operational efficiency within large-scale organisations in Steel, Cement, and Power. At Gopalpur Ports, with its smaller scale and niche focus on port logistics, I’ve adjusted my strategies to emphasise operational efficiency, cost control, and innovative financial solutions. For example, We are in the process of setting up a solar plant under the BOOT model and converting traditional Hywas to electric, aiming for long-term savings and sustainability.

What strategies ensure effective budgeting, variance analysis, and financial forecasting in dynamic industries like steel, cement, and renewable energy?

In dynamic industries like steel, cement, and energy, we ensure effective budgeting and financial forecasting through historical data analysis, market trend assessment, and scenario planning. Regular variance analysis helps identify deviations early for prompt corrective actions. For example, at Steel & Power, we implemented a realtime financial monitoring system to track key metrics, enabling swift decisions. At Gopalpur Ports, we’ve streamlined processes, reducing monthly closing time from the 10th to the 5th, ensuring timely and accurate reporting.

How do you balance stringent financial controls with fostering innovation and growth?

Balancing stringent financial controls with fostering innovation is essential for sustainable growth. I believe in establishing financial discipline while encouraging creative problem-solving and strategic risktaking. At Precious Metal Company, we implemented SOX controls in international locations, ensuring compliance while driving innovation through automation and cost reduction initiatives. Similarly, at Ports, we’ve introduced new insurance policies and innovative projects like solar plant setups, demonstrating that robust financial controls can coexist with and even facilitate innovation.

What innovative approaches have you implemented for tax planning and minimising financial risks?

Throughout my career, I have implemented innovative tax planning strategies to minimise financial risks and enhance compliance. At the Steel Company, we completed VAT, CST, and Entry Tax assessments promptly, securing all refunds. At Ports, we obtained income tax refunds for multiple years in record time and introduced a lower deduction TDS certificate, reducing working capital blockage. These strategies optimise tax efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance, thereby mitigating financial risks.

What inspires and motivates you as a CFO, and how do you stay updated on industry trends and best practices?

As a CFO, I am inspired by the opportunity to drive financial and operational improvements that contribute to organisational success. The dynamic nature of finance and evolving industry practices have always motivated me to stay ahead. I stay updated on industry trends through continuous learning, attending online conferences, and participating in professional networks. I also find inspiration in mentoring my team and fostering a culture of excellence and innovation. By staying abreast of emerging trends and maintaining a proactive approach, I ensure my strategies align with the latest developments in finance.
















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