Finance Leaders focus on Leadership Skills, Transformation and Future Challenges

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The second-segment of the CFO Conference 2015 organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) concluded in Islamabad today with experts focusing on leadership skills for managerial roles and future challenges. More than 300 CFOs, heads of multi-national companies & state enterprises and business leaders attended the day-long event.

In his closing address, Mr. Muhammad Zafar Ul Haq Hijazi, FCA, Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) reiterated that one of the foremost challenges in the future for financial managers and management leaders would be issues relating to good governance and transformation.

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of ICAP, Mr. Yacoob Suttar, reiterated on the importance of the theme of the ICAP-CFO Conference this year, “Sustaining Excellence, Shifting Gears” and its principal objective of moving towards the ultimate vision of excellence. He said, “Its purpose is to reach out to members in industry and provide them with a platform to discuss debate and seek pragmatic solutions of emerging business and financial issues.”

The world’s public-speaking champion 2014, Mr. Dananjaya J. Hettiarachchi of the Toastmasters International gave an inspirational talk on “I see something in you” and eloquently engaged the CFOs in an interactive session. In a latter afternoon session on “Communication with Impact”, Hettiarachchi dilated on how communication strategies can lead to better relationships, increasing the power to influence and building leadership brands.

Fakir Syed Aijazuddin OBE, FCA in his thematic keynote “Once a Finance Leader, Next the Leader of the Enterprise – Skills and Steps” opined that the decisive roles played by CFOs in an organization were crucial in their professional development as future leaders. He was of the view that CFOs do not exist merely as regulators but also as facilitators, serving the best interests of their organizations, profession and other allied stakeholders.

The Chairman of Professional Accountants in Business Committee (IFAC) and Chief Executive Officer, CIMA, Mr. Charles Tilley who arrived in Pakistan especially to the attend the ICAP-CFO Conference 2015 dilated upon the challenges which face finance professionals in the performance of their strategic, operational and reporting roles. In his presentation on “How Financial Leaders Pre-empt and Face Future Challenges” he stressed on the importance of good governance and elaborated on risk issues, big data and analytics as being crucial elements in their responsibility as finance heads.

The session on “Family Enterprise” which covered highly structured discussions on empowerment through delegation, sustaining growth through diversification and decentralization, and myths and realities of succession planning, included prominent panelists from family-owned businesses: Mr. Mohsin Khalid, Executive Director, Ittehad Steel; Sen. Osman Saifullah Khan, CEO, Saif Textile Mills Ltd; Mr. Imtiaz Rastgar, Chairman, Rastgar Group; and Shahid Hussain, CEO, Service Sales Corp. The session was chaired by Mr. Asif Anwar Karim, FCA, Deputy MD, Finance & Admin Airblue.

A special interactive one-on-one dialogue “Success Journey of a Visionary” featuring Mr. Imran Afzal, FCA Past President ICAP highlighted milestones, professionalism and commitments, tales which enabled the organization to rise to glory. The discussion was conducted by Mr. Mukhtar Hussain Jaffery, FCA, Senior Partner, Naveed Zafar Ashfaq Jaffery & Co.

The panel session on “Enabling Regulatory Regime” which focused on issues of overcoming regulatory barriers and enhancing partnerships to attain optimum performance, included experts such as Mr. Junaid Khan, Managing Director, Airblue; Mr. Saleem Anwar, FCA, CFO, Askari Bank Ltd; Mr. Muhammad Rafi, MD/CEO, OGDCL; and Mr. Aftab Mahmood Butt, FCA, CEO, Kot Addu Power Company Ltd (KAPCO). The session was moderated by Mr. Aftab Ahmad, FCA, Director Audit, Assurance and Advisory, NZAJ & Co.
The Dean of Indus Institute of Management, Dr. Rizwan Amin Shaikh while speaking on ‘Talent Management – No Longer Just an HR Issue’ informed the participants that the strategy for talented resource was to keep pace with business change and that top-performers remain engaged in management process. An interesting feature of the conference was an enjoyable session on ‘Strategic Humour’ conducted by Mr. Danish Ali, Pakistan’s renowned professional stand-up comedian and writer.

Till now, 10 CFO conferences have already been held across the country with participation of more than 5000 business leaders and finance professionals. ICAP has trained more than 7000 professional accountants, who are globally recognized and respected for their technical expertise in financial management, integrity and adherence to ethical practices.