The CFO Centre: delivering financial leadership to businesses
Chief Financial Officers or CFOs are the superheroes driving values for businesses and lead to better outcomes for the organization. Today, the business world is taking a breath of fresh air which has put CFOs’ involvement under great surveillance, both internally and externally. They encounter with mounting pressure to cut costs, pace revenues and ensure control. CFOs deliver a strategic framework for the financial planning of businesses by minutely observing the rapidly evolving, highly competitive business environment. In the absence of a CFO, a business can get wounded and it risks falling behind their rivals, who are already shifting gears of their business models and gaining a competitive edge. With no such luck, there are many SMEs and start-ups who have missed the boat and struggle hard to find that astute brain that would drive the organization towards the apex of new heights. Observing the gap, Colin Mills laid the foundation of The CFO Centre in 2001 to provide the skill sets of experienced CFOs to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, allowing smaller organisations to benefit from the expertise of a highly experienced Chief Financial Officer without incurring the expense of hiring someone full-time. The part-time CFO concept caught on quickly and the business has grown rapidly on a national scale. Over the last 17 years, the CFO Centre Group has emerged as the largest and most respected provider of part-time & interim CFO services in the world.
The brand made its entrance in India under the leadership of Mr Rajarshi Datta in the year 2015. “Here the start-up and SMEs ecosystems are hot and these ambitious business leaders hawk to build a robust finance dexterity for their businesses. I thought why not get the best brand of the world to India? We assist these snowed CEOs and MDs to free up time and grow their businesses while we take on the management of the finance function.” Mr Dutta told our spokesperson during an exclusive conversation with him. The CFO Centre helps SMEs/Start-ups in India to set up systems and processes, formulate and implement strategies to help the organization to scale up and help owners build a succession plan or get an exit. The organization houses a 12 box approach services categorized under Strategy, Operation & Business Support. Spearheading its endeavour with the motto of giving freedom and flexibility to its clients, The CFO Centre adds rocket fuel to Indian businesses and ensures their fast track growth.
Swayed by the adroitness The CFO Centre is deploying in the business world, we interviewed Mr Rajarshi Datta, CEO-The CFO Centre India to have a glance at the organization’s journey till date and its future plans.
To begin, how is your brand-defining “trust” in the market? What stands behind its uniqueness?
The holding company of The CFO Centre Group is Liberti. The word ‘Liberti’ in Latin stands for freedom from slavery. We have a panel of CFOs who have chosen freedom and flexibility over prestigious corporate jobs. In turn, what we want to achieve for our clients is to give the freedom and flexibility, so they can pursue whatever they choose to, without having to compromise on a good night’s sleep or family time. And they can afford to do it, peaceful in the knowledge that we, as their business partners, are safeguarding and keeping a hawk eye over their businesses at any given time.
The unique element in our brand and offerings is our motto to change the lives of our clients.
What’s the first thing that enters a consumer mind when he/she sees your brand?
World’s no 1 brand in the part-time and interim CFO services category which gives the business owners of SMEs /Startups the freedom /flexibility in life and also helps them to scale up their business.
In an age of mistrust, are you seeing an evolution in how consumers trust brands, or are they still for the most part doubtful?
Our approach stands unique with each client. We deliver our best to ensure that the owners have trust in the whole delivery process over the course of a fixed time and then they can get the freedom to do other pieces of stuff which accelerates their growth process. We are not just the business partner of our clients but also the son who is not in the business. For any new idea, crisis etc. we are the firsts coming to their mind.
Our whole business has been built on a relationship model and a substantial amount of the business comes from existing clients and our business partner referrals.
What’s next for the Brand?
We need to penetrate into the Indian market to make business owners aware of what we can do for them. We are building our team in India and we need more hands/legs to do this exercise faster. At the same time, we need CFOs who understand and homes the skillset to become a part-time CFO. We envision taking this brand to a few more geographical locations within India this financial year and simultaneously building a stronger team who believes in our entrepreneurial model. We envision doubling our revenue this year and want to become India’s no 1 by 2021.
What advice can you give to the entrepreneurs who want to venture into the same domain in the future?
I would say that one should look forward to giving something of value to clients. Clients value you more when you get to the bottom of their growth story and understand what really keeps them awake at night.
With such a fast growing team, how do you make sure everybody stays motivated and how do you support the corporate culture?
We are don’t work like typical corporate(s); we work more like a family. We get people on board only when they understand our model and business philosophy. We do have training programmes which are conducted worldwide by our Head office. But right now what we are looking at is to work on the “occurring” of our team members. Occurring drives Action. We drive the team members to look at the future in a very constructive way which leads to their individual growth also.
Tell me about when you failed. How did you overcome?
I fail every day. My life coach has taught me various tools which I utilize to overcome the failures and learn from the mistakes.
What was your journey like to get where you are?
The journey has been enjoyable, tough and full of learning(s). Most importantly, I get to meet new people all the time.
Tell me how you’ve approached change.
Change is the way which is moving the world; either we need to learn to adapt to change or we fall behind. We are constantly working keeping in mind this aspect.
What was the most difficult lesson you have learned as an entrepreneur?
To be patient and focused to succeed.
- Colin Mills
Group Chairman & Founder of The CFO Centre Group
- Sara Daw
Group CEO & Co-Founder of The CFO Centre Group
- Rowan De Klerk
Asia Pacific COO
- Rajarshi Datta
Indian CEO and Co-Founder