Sridhar Ranganathan

10-Best-Leaders-from-Finance-in-India-2023

Revamping Bean Counter to Strategic Business Partner

Sridhar Ranganathan

Global Head of Finance,

Jifflenow

Some journeys cannot be defined in words. It could only be lived. Sridhar Ranganathan’s professional voyage is one that transcends the normal and becomes extraordinary. From steering organisations through challenging times, transforming accumulated losses into profitability, and revamping the finance function from a mere “bean counter” to a strategic “business partner,” Sridhar has demonstrated exceptional resilience, grit and business acumen.
This astute and dynamic global head of finance at Jifflenow has an extensive and diverse background in financial leadership roles which extends far beyond the finance arena. He possesses a wealth of experience in managing complex, cross-cultural organizational setups across the globe. Sridhar’s leadership has been pivotal in reshaping the face of finance, turning it from a perceived “back office” into a potent “lever for business growth.” His strategic contributions have significantly fuelled organisational growth, with impressive year-on-year figures ranging from 30% to 50%. He has not only been a financial expert but also a trusted copilot for CEOs, guiding businesses through their growth trajectories.
A master of automation, transformation, and change management, Sridhar’s initiatives have propelled companies to higher echelons of success. His ability to navigate challenging situations and emerge triumphant has solidified his reputation as a niche player in the finance space. TradeFlock interviewed Sridhar to learn more about this excellence in driving growth, productivity, efficiency and profitability while transforming challenges into triumphs. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses in finance leadership?

My key strengths lie in my well-rounded and grounded approach, which transforms me into a strategic business partner and advisor to CEOs and founders. I offer proactive and forward-looking financial intelligence, backed by a wealth of experience in both established enterprises and startups. My ability to exhibit resilience and determination during challenging business downturns has led to successful turnaround strategies. I thrive in fast-paced environments, demonstrating adaptability and an exceptional eye for detail. However, my commitment to work occasionally leads me to be overly dedicated, making it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, my pursuit of perfection and attention to minute details can sometimes be a weakness, as it might hinder efficient decision-making processes.

What drives you to handle complex financial functions in a competitive industry?

What drives you to handle complex financial functions in a competitive industry?The complexity of finance functions in a highly competitive industry serves as a motivating challenge. Embracing complexity inspires continuous improvement, pushing me to excel in areas such as controllership, tax, legal, and treasury. Learning the intricacies of the business side as I progress in my career fuels my motivation to raise the bar higher. Witnessing the positive impact of my deep analytical thinking and effective business decision-making to the organisation further enhances my motivation. Moreover, venturing beyond the confines of finance and actively engaging with various business aspects, collaborating with leaders in sales, R&D, engineering, customer success, and directly with the CEO and board members, is a source of immense motivation. Adding meaningful value to the business and directly solving problems alongside these leaders not only propels my motivation but also sets me apart as a finance leader in the industry, giving me a unique edge.

What major challenges did you face steering multi-million-dollar finance functions and global cross-functional teams, and how did you overcome them?

In steering multi-million-dollar finance functions and overseeing extensive global teams, aligning finance with rapid business growth was pivotal. Instead of merely expanding the workforce, my focus was on enhancing productivity and efficiency and creating a foundation for sustainable scalability. As a core leadership member, critical decisions were made, including refining intricate customer acquisition strategies, and formulating precise product pricing strategies across diverse markets. Strategic decisions were shaped by rigorous ROI evaluations, carefully balancing EBITDA and year-on-year growth. This approach ensured both financial stability and expansion, preserving the core essence of the process. Additionally, I proactively tackled the challenge of managing the loss of visibility amidst rapid growth. This was addressed by implementing robust processes and controls from the company’s inception. These strategic measures not only ensured stability but also facilitated strategic, sustained growth. The proactive stance towards mitigating challenges underscored the significance of detailed planning and execution in navigating the complexities of a competitive global industry.

In your experience, what traits define a successful global finance leader?

According to my perspective and experience, traits essential for a global finance leader have evolved significantly. No longer confined to a bean counter role, finance leaders today must be outward-looking, akin to a co-chair or co-pilot to the CEO. Navigational skills, coupled with a profound understanding of the business, are crucial. The ability to ask timely and pertinent business-related questions that drive business growth is paramount. Analytical intelligence, forward-thinking insights, and a mastery of key performance indicators (KPIs) are fundamental attributes for a strong finance leader in the modern landscape. Moreover, resilience and grit stand out as key personal traits. In the face of inevitable business challenges, finance leaders must demonstrate unwavering resilience, standing firm during tough times. Being at the forefront, leading the charge, and skillfully steering organisations out of difficult situations are hallmarks of an effective finance leader in today’s dynamic business environment.

Describe your leadership style and share advice for aspiring finance leaders.

My leadership style centres on strategic thinking, focusing on solving complex business challenges, and aligning closely with business leaders. I emphasise understanding decisions from the customer’s perspective, ensuring a customer-centric approach in our strategies. Effective communication, collaboration, business intelligence, prudent risk assessment, and adaptability to change are vital aspects of my approach. I prioritise building strong relationships with team members and peers, fostering mutual respect, and encouraging success. For aspiring finance leaders, I emphasise the importance of thinking strategically and mastering the ability to switch between business and finance roles seamlessly. It’s a challenging journey that demands continuous practice, but it’s essential for long-term success in the field.







     







       







         







           







             







               







                 







                   







                     







                       







                         







                           







                             







                               







                                 

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