Easy Office
LCI Learning

CCI in an exclusive interaction with Debasish Biswas, Country Head (CIMA)

Now let’s meet our next guest for today Mr. Debasish Biswas. Debasish possesses work experience of more than 22 years, and his professional expertise spans general management functions & leadership roles in large scale organizations at national / international level across – MNC banks, insurance, telecommunication, media and education.

Hello, Mr. Debasish!! I welcome you on CAclubindia!!

Thank you very much.

Now, continuing the discussion on integrated reporting guide, my question to you is - our Indian companies are adaptive to Integrated Reporting and what are the road blocks?

When you look at the overall canvas of the Indian companies, more so over home grown Indian companies; not really multinationals, who have come and set shop here is- integrated reporting embraces three very core aspects of any business which is there, so one part of it is got to do with the strategy, the second is governance and third is performance. Now, when you look at the Indian companies, typically, Indian companies have looked at all of these three aspects very differently, so when it comes to strategy it’s always been as the top management is the one who is responsible, accountable to drive strategy across the organization, and when you look at the aspects of the governance its typically been identified that functions like finance and accounts, legal, HR are the ones who are responsible for governance and when it comes to performance, then it’s always the provocative of sales and marketing functions, business develop to take care of it now. This causes a reasonable amount of confusion within the organization when you have the various departments not talking to each other. Traditionally, in Indian companies, if you look at, this is the biggest challenge which they face, the road block is that when it comes to strategy, often the people those who are out there, those who are supposed to drive business across the organization at a frontline level or at a feed level don’t correlate to this strategic intent of the organization, people those who term themselves as support functions which no more remains support but they are actually frontline functions like functions of finance, HR. They are the ones who feel that they are responsible to ensure that the governance structure of the organization, everybody follows rules and regulations and the stipulated mandates which are there - so that’s something which is very unique about the typically home broad Indian organizations and the challenge which they are facing is because these departments don’t talk to each other frequently and they are not on the same wavelength, there’s not something which is happening which is the biggest challenge - the biggest challenge is integrated thinking and when you look at integrated thinking that’s the first curtain raiser to integrated reporting. If you are not going to talk to each other, if you are not going to think together, if you are not going to join hands and come together to understand what is the larger cause which you need to serve for organizations in India or what the organizations aims to take it to their consumers and customers, it’s very difficult to make things happen. So, yes, Indian companies are facing road blocks because of issues which are typically got to do with their understanding of how the respective functions needs to operate and often they land up being in silos and watertight compartments and challenges happen when they don’t communicate effectively with each other and the lack of communication results in lack of integrated thinking. That’s the resultant in not having any form of integrated reporting happening out there in organization which then can go out and you can have in one shot – entire understanding about the health of the business and how it is operating in that particular industry where they belong to.

Why is it important for Indian companies to adapt integrated reporting?

When you look at integrated reporting and that is what I ended my last, I was finishing up my last answer is that integrated thinking is something which is so critical to ensure that integrated reporting happens. For Indian companies, when we look at it, what is that which integrated reporting helps in achieving? Because that will give an answer to the fact that why it is important for Indian companies to adapt integrated reporting. When you look at what integrated reporting brings to the table, it brings in focus on external business environment so you are not only looking at what is just happening within the organization but you are looking at the entire environment around you and you are trying to see what are the external factors which impacts and influences my organizational behavior and my organizational performance. You look at the second part of it which is the better understanding of the value creation process and critical business relationships which needs to be focused on. Critical business relationships often gets diluted because of certain emergency situations or certain urgencies which crops up which may not be the right thing to focus and allocate all your attention to. Integrated reporting brings in and helps you focus on those critical factors which are most important to ensure that the organization is moving in the right direction and focusing in the right direction. Most importantly, when you look at it, integrated reporting helps you to get into a forward-looking approach; it helps you in orienting you towards how do you need to look at the future, it doesn’t only helps you dwell in the present, it doesn’t only helps you to understand what’s happening at the present scenario but it also helps you to understand the dynamics of how do you need to position yourself for the future. And that’s very important because Indian companies predominantly, the one which are home grown Indian companies and as I said earlier are not the big term multinationals which has come and established their Indian chapters out here. Indian companies if they need to get globally competitive, if they need to be globally prevalent and they need to go out and dominate the world, needs to understand how to handle factors which are beyond the scope of just managing it in India.

Debasish Biswas
Country Head - CIMA india

So the moment you need, you have an aspiration of growing yourself beyond the boundaries of the Indian territory, you need to understand that you need to think about the future - Integrated Reporting helps you in exactly doing that; because the moment you can bring together the factors which are financial and non-financial and that’s the beauty about this integrated reporting is it brings in very critical aspects of business which correlates to things which are not only related to aspects of finance but non-financial factors which creates value over the short, medium and long term and specific to things which relates to a range of capitals which is the human capital; it’s a very important element of the organization. Often, Indian organizations tends to ignore human capital and look at what is that which is coming in as an investment and look at the financial part but you look at something which talks about the intellectual capital of an organization- extremely critical component of understanding of how we today as an organization, ‘X’ as an organization, ‘Y’ as an organization in India needs to move today to the next level. If you are not sensitive to the non-financial capital which is something like social capital, human capital and intellectual capital likewise - these are the factors which possibly would help Indian companies to move to the next level and if they adapt to integrated reporting, it would surely make them not only locally competitive but globally competitive and help them to move to the next level in terms of not being only present in India but beyond the boundaries of India too and spread their products and services across the world.

What would be your message to CAclubindia members?

An interesting message and the message is loud and clear. Integrated reporting has helped very large global organizations - the big time players to scale up and achieve what they wanted to achieve as an organization, they have not only consolidated their positions as global players and global leaders; they have scaled up their operations, they have moved into newer territories, they have expanded their product line, they have gone ahead and added value to their consumers, to other stakeholders and they are not only somebody who makes a lot of money both in terms of top line and bottom line but also they add a lot of value to the community they belong to, to the society where they are present. So these are very big connect out there which goes beyond the rigor of financial returns. For CAclub members, being the largest platform for financial and professionals in India, an online platform, which I think has about 1.1 million users and I think roughly about 6 lakh page views per day, my message to the members is that you need to look at Integrated Reporting little bit more seriously. If you have not been adapting that, it’s time that you look at it and you understand this importance and criticality of embracing Integrated Reporting. I am sure you will understand that while you work within an organization or you own an organization or you are somebody who have started an organization- could be a small enterprise, could be a medium enterprise, could be a part of a large group, there is a lot which can happen when you think together and the moment you think together in an integrated format, you can give shape to things which are far larger than what happens when you think in isolation and do things separately, specifically a message for those who are in the small and medium enterprise, those who are entrepreneurs and do partnerships into small time ventures, you can think big. It is important that you think big because Indian industries are growing in leaps and bounds, it is poised to be one of the largest super powers globally and this is the right time for you to embrace the best and practice the best in class – global practices; something like Integrated Reporting and ensure that you take yourself to the next level - not only within India but beyond that. So, you could be a small enterprise today but tomorrow you could be one of the largest corporations in the world and India has ample examples of a one man show or a couple of people coming together and creating an organization, could be in manufacturing, could be in the sector of IT, could be in the sector of anything else and then those who have gone beyond the shores of India and has become big global corporations. Think big, we insist, we encourage you to think big but we also insist you on the fact that it is important to look at having a very structured approach towards your thought process. Integrated Reporting helps you in doing that. So, for all the CAclub members, there is any form of assistance or help which you require from our organization in taking it forward, conducting any forms of interactive sessions where you can understand what Integrated Reporting is all about, how it can help your business and organization to grow to the next level, we will be more than pleased to assist because it is something which will not be only taking forward to CAclub members but we will be taking this message and would be serving the larger business community of India and as India moves to the next level as global super power, all each one of you, would play a very critical role in making that happen. So, that’s what is my message to your members in CAclub.

Thanks a lot, Debasish for speaking to us!!

Thank you, so very much for your time.

I, Hetvi Sheth, from CAclubindia signing off.

Thank you!!

Comments on this Interview

22 January 2015

" Good Initiative CCI & thanks for posting valuable info. We would like to hear more from ICAI, ICSI & CMA faculty. Thank you."