Leadership Insights Chapter 8: Apoorva Sahu, CFO, GeekyAnts

An insightful conversation with Apoorva Sahu, the CFO at GeekyAnts, regarding his journey as a finance professional
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Apoorva Sahu, the CFO at GeekyAnts, is an empathetic leader who believes in imbibing his values of optimism and critical thinking in the financial decisions of the company. He follows an approach of constructive criticism when it comes to handling the way his team functions which has helped in bringing about an inclusive environment where each individual feels valued.

In this conversation with Apoorva, we shall learn more about his journey from when he joined the organisation to his present role as a CFO while also understanding more about his empathetic approach to team-work.

The following Q&A has been edited to deliver ease of understanding and clarity:

1. Can you elaborate on your humble beginnings and your journey to becoming the CFO?

I had joined GeekyAnts in 2014 working as non-executive director whose main role was to handle very basic accounts and financial decisions of the firm. Back then, the company was a mere fledgling with a group of six people who have gone on to become the current directors of the organisations but it has witnessed astonishing growth over the years which gave birth to the need of a full-time CFO who would analyse the company’s finances and make sound and profitable financial decisions. It was in 2018 that I had joined GeekyAnts full-time as I took on the role of the CFO and in the course of time I have grown and learnt both professionally and personally as I journeyed with the company and its family while witnessing the inclusive work environment and culture which has given birth to some truly wonderful innovations in the app development arena.

2. How do you think the pandemic will affect the role of a CFO going forward?

As the pandemic hit, various verticals were hit by heavy recessions because of which they had to revolutionise the way that they work in order to thrive in the fluctuating market. It can safely be assumed that the CFO shall assume a more hands-on role as we move forward in the post-pandemic world as it has been observed that most of these losses could have been averted through thoroughly analysed financial decisions. In order for a company to achieve financial sustainability during these uncertain times, it is critical for the CFO to move out of his comfort zones and look at real scenarios and business data by not just looking at the past performance but by analysing the market to understand the changing requirements which in turn will determine the future success of the company. Simply put, it is important for a CFO to understand the operations and business processes at a software firm by being proactive instead of reactive in order to drive the business forward.

3. GeekyAnts as a company has seen immense growth even through the crisis of the pandemic. How was this achieved?

While various verticals have been severely affected by the pandemic, it has been observed that services and software industries have not witnessed much recession. This was because there was massive growth in the availability of digital infrastructure which GeekyAnts harnessed as we moved our physical processes to online platforms which has helped us to extend our client base even through the crisis of the pandemic. We also house some of the best talent in the industry which has helped us to create a cutting-edge atmosphere because of which we were able to better our processes and collaborate with many huge corporations to create innovative digital solutions.

4. How can digitization have an impact on the financial decisions of an organisation?

Digitization is a boon that has positively impacted the processes of a company and it can safely be said that the future of finance is going to be digital. This shift can be observed especially in India where the government is propagating the cashless movement which has prompted the majority of the population to shift from using physical cash to digital mediums. Parallelly, the Indian government has also prohibited the transfer of high volume transactions except via online transactions as it offers for enhanced transparency because of which multiple businesses are changing up their processes and adapting to the new digital norm. Even though the system is yet to be streamlined, especially in terms of the stringent regulations regarding cross border transfers, the seamlessness that digitization has brought has revolutionised the financial processes of organisations.

5. I see you believe in teamwork and optimistic thinking. In a sphere like finance where data is king, how do you align your values to the work you do?

Being a finance professional is not just dealing with numbers or compiling figures. Instead, it is also about nurturing relationships and also thoughtfully explaining to the management about the financial progress of the company while being sensitive to their emotions about the scenario. Critical thinking and optimism is an extremely important part of finance as it is important to understand that there will always be pitfalls which can only be handled through teamwork and determination. Moreover, finance professionals need to understand the emotions and sentiments behind key business decisions as this will help them to critically think, analyse and plan the way forward.

When it comes to working as a team, it is imperative that an open channel of communication is maintained as this is not only a great way of understanding each team-member but also the rationale for their individualistic opinions. I make it a point to ensure that everyone’s feedback is valued as this lets each member know that they are contributing to the overall success of the company which in turn boosts their morale. I also believe that each individual should be given a chance to showcase their skill-set and expertise which will not only help them to hone their skills but also build up their confidence as professionals.

6. What does the future look like for GeekyAnts?

GeekyAnts has come a long way since its inception and I wholeheartedly believe that we are going to progress in leaps and bounds as we go forward with our mission to provide futuristic digital solutions for every possible problem. While the organisation has birthed many fantastic digital innovations in the past few years, the best is yet to come as we have many exciting announcements in the times to come amongst which the enthralling success of thetopgeek, NativeBase Pro, NativeBase v4 and NativeBase Builder are a few. Apart from that the services team at GeekyAnts is growing at an astounding rate of more than fifty percent each year because of which we see ourselves as big-size corporations in the near future.