The avalanche of downgrades — two or three a day — was evidence of how difficult the environment was. However, even in those tough times, several finance chiefs managed to turn in sterling performances.
Extra marks were given to a CFO who had done a good job at a time when the rest of the top management made mistakes.
The past few years have been a very trying time for India Inc and more so for those who are managing a company’s finances. A distinct and sharp slowdown in the economy left sales stagnant, cash flows constricted and profits under pressure. The avalanche of downgrades — two or three a day — was evidence of how difficult the environment was. However, even in those tough times, several finance chiefs managed to turn in sterling performances.
The winners of the FE CFO Awards 2020 were chosen by a distinguished and high-powered jury headed by Paresh Sukthankar, former deputy MD, HDFC Bank, and comprising Pradip Shah, chairman, IndAsia Fund; Ajay Srinivasan, MD, Aditya Birla Capital; Amit Chandra, chairperson, Bain Capital, and Amit Tandon, MD, IiAS.
The team at Deloitte did the number crunching, sorting through hundreds of companies to come up with a manageable shortlist. The scores given by rating agencies were checked as were the comments by auditors. While the strength of the balance sheet, leverage and return ratios such as the return on capital employed (RoCE), for example, were among the key parameters used to judge the performances, several other factors were also kept in mind.
Given how revenues were under pressure, it was important, the jury felt, that the cost of capital and debt be reined in; moreover, the capital should have been raised at the right time and right price. Again, the firm should have borrowed optimally so as to keep interest bill in check and should have maintained a good rating at all times.
Extra marks were given to a CFO who had done a good job at a time when the rest of the top management made mistakes. Brownie points were also given to a CFO who managed finances well at a time when the industry the company belonged to was going through a downturn. Any CFO who was able to maintain profitability at a time when the market was not growing deserved a pat on the back. Complying with so many new regulations was a back-breaking job, requiring tremendous diligence. The winners of the FE CFO Awards 2020, whose names will be declared on March 23, have good reason to be proud as their performances have been assessed by a highly knowledgeable, experienced and competent team of professionals.