On behalf of the Members of Committee, thank youfor the trust and honour that has been bestowed on us by Membersof Singapore Chapter of Chartered Accountants of India, in electing the Committee and me as the Chairperson of the Chapter.
My predecessors have laid a very sound foundation for me. Last year’s award of being adjudged as 2ndBest Overseas Chapter is testimony of the hard work, dedication and team work displayed by the former Committee Members.
Last year, was one of the tough years in the history for world’s economy- the then little-known disease made its way, few could have anticipated the impact on across societies and sectors of business.Very quickly, normal routines – working in the office, eating out, face-to-face gatherings with loved ones and friends –changed. Organisations were compelled to return to the drawing board to work out contingency plans to stay in business.Many of the businesses with defined BCP plans (Business disruption and Continuity plan) could not sustain the aftermath of this natural disaster. Among the worst hit industry were airlines, tourism, real estate, manufacturing etc. While there is no unanimity on the loss of the global GDP in the year 2020, however majority consensus is at circa -3%. After the annus horribilis of 2020 ushered in one of the worst economic recessions across the globe, one can only hope and work towards making the economy rebound in 2021. However,one cannot be confidently claiming this will segue into sustained growth going forward since the shadow of Covid-19 still looms large and wide.
Long ago I read “CHANGE is the only CONSTANT” and it comes so true with the developments seen past year and it continues to be so, for each industry.
Corporates / businesses who are agile enough to transform quickly, will survive. Each industry is leaning onuse of technology –(e-commerce, financial technology, video-conferencing, telemedicine online teaching etc)–figuring out innovative ways to fight back and these companies are the ones which have done amazing on stock exchange (Shopify +178%, Pinduoduo +331%, Cryoport %165%). Virtual meetings and seminars, working from home, “phygital” shopping experiences, contactless payments etc are few of the new norms that are being offered and is gaining acceptability across.
Finance professionals today have to think out of the box and stand along with the CEO of their company making crucial business decisions, keeping these challenges / opportunities in mind to work towards their organisational survival and growth. Gone are the days where the finance professionals were limited to book keeping and fund raising related jobs. In today’s dynamic, transitioning, ever changing environment the role of the CFO calls for strong understanding of the company’s business model and industry. Aside to fulfilling their role in finance function,the CFO today needs to use theirknowledge and experienceto constructively challenge the operations team, ensuring that business decisions are grounded with solid financial criteria. When doing so, theyshould think with business in mind ensuring the opportunity in hand is not missed and safeguarding the company,ringfenced with control measures.
“When it rains most birds seek shelter. The eagle is the only bird that will fly above the clouds to avoid the rain. Be like the Eagle and push through the storm”.
I wish each Member of the Chapter to keep pushing through the COVID 19 storm and fighting all theother challenges that may come in your life.
Over the last year, the members have been very active on the social network applications Viz. WhatsApp and LinkedIn group,and would encourage each of you help making it even more interactive and vibrant.