Only fittest survive in volatile, uncertain, complex environment

ICAP: CFO Conference 2016

Salim Ahmed

Lahore—‘Only the fittest survive in volatile, uncertain, complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment that is almost always present around the globe.’ This was stated by speakers at CFO Conference 2016 organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) in Lahore. The speakers included President ICAP Hafiz Mohammad Yousuf, Dr. Jaffrey Stacey, Managing Partner, Geopolicity, USA, CE Funverks Global Farhad Karmally, CEO KAPCO Aftab Mehmood Butt, and among others. Highlighting the role of finance in VUCA environment, they said traditionally the finance role has been charged with the responsibility of financial management and bookkeeping.
‘Currently in addition to conventional role, now the finance professionals are getting involved in commercial, projects and diversification functions,’ they said adding that this is a big leap from maintaining/ presenting the historic results to financial projections, feasibilities and business developments. ‘In future the role of finance would that be of business driver and Leadership role in business. Financial leaders should set clear targets based on internal and external expectations,’ they stated. They added that financial leaders are now required to posses cross functional knowledge/skill development and are effective communicators. ‘The finance professionals are now required to come up with new business proposals and strategy for business sustainability and growth, unlike traditionally where they comment on the historic data,’ they stated.
Dr. Jeffrey A Stacey, Managing Partner of Geopolicity, USA, who served as a speechwriter and legislative aide to former British Prime Minister and as Chief of Staff to European Parliament, delivered his keynote on ‘Geopolitical, Economic and Trade Futures’ He said that 2.2 billion people belonging to middle class will drive the market economy in 2030. ‘40 percent of the workforce will be automated in the next 10 years. We have to think proactively to create jobs for the people which may be replaced by automation,’ he added. The conference also hosted a panel discussion on ‘Thriving in the Age of Disruption Disrupt or Get Disrupted’. ‘Our topics used to be about being watchdogs, prudence and audit and now ICAP is thriving and changing in this VUCA world with electronic registration, drone and live feed,’ said Yasir Masood, Executive Director Finance, Cherat Cement Company.
He added that chartered accountants have remained conservative but traditional accountants have no space now and we have to change the role as CFO are converting into business leaders. ‘In large scale manufacturing, which is a fuel dependent industry, VUCA implementation and technology disruption could be becoming fuel efficient as Pakistan is a fuel deficient country,’ he said, adding that we have to exploit renewable energy to be disruptive or we will be get disrupted. ‘VUCA is not just an environment but a mindset. If you look at google they don’t write content, Airbnb owns no hotel, Uber owns no car or driver,’ said Zohair Yousafi, Head of Expansion, Uber Pakistan. He added that it’s all about innovation as a software used to have a life cycle of 15 years but now it has been reduced to 3 to 4 years, so you have to innovate to compete in this VUCA world. Chairman PAIB Committee of ICAP Khalilullah Shaikh said contrary to popular opinion that chartered accountants mostly become auditors by joining different auditing firms, over 70 percent of chartered accountant are working as Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) in various business functions such as Finance, Planning, and Budgeting Projects.
‘The CFO Conference is primarily aimed at equipping PAIBs with the skills they need to excel in their professions, to learn and adapt to the rapidly changing business environment in the VUCA world,’ he added. He added that ICAP has so far organized 13 CFO Conferences with total participation of more than 6,000 business leaders and finance professionals. ‘ICAP PAIB Committee enjoys strong recognition by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), in fact, IFAC showcases us as an inspirational model for all accounting bodies across the globe,’ he added. He informed that ICAP is hosting IFAC PAIBC Meeting in Dubai in September 2016 along with its CFO Conference which will be another landmark achievement for the institute.

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