The Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) successfully organized the highly anticipated CFO Conference 2023 on a theme of Resilient CFO – Balancing the Agenda for Tomorrow at a local hotel Karachi.
Mr. M. Ali Latif, President ICAP in his address highlighted the crucial role that Chief Financial Officers play in guiding organizations through challenging times while effectively managing their long-term strategic priorities. He said that this conference underscores the significance of possessing essential qualities such as visionary thinking, agility, innovation, and digital expertise in order to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. Moreover, this year’s CFO Conference holds special significance as it coincides with the prestigious Professional Excellence Awards (PEA) ceremony, honouring exceptional ICAP members in the business and industry for their outstanding contributions, exemplary performance & leadership, and remarkable value addition within their respective organizations.
Mr. Amir Paracha, Chairman and CEO of Unilever Pakistan delivered a keynote speech on Leadership through Empathy and Excellence. He emphasized the significance of empathy in fostering a performance-driven culture and achieving collective goals as a team, regardless of generational differences. He strongly emphasized the paramount importance of emotional banking, whereby achieving success not only elevates the individuals directly involved but also benefits the collective as a whole. He shared insights regarding two distinct approaches: the shotgun and rifle approach. The shotgun approach involves targeting a broad audience, while the rifle approach emphasizes a more focused and targeted strategy. He further provided detailed elaboration on the three fundamental belief systems (psychological safety, radical transparency and idea atrocity). These belief systems were identified as critical elements for fostering stronger relationships among staff members and nurturing an environment conducive to collaboration and growth.
The conference’s inaugural panel discussion on “Skill-sets for Tomorrow” featured esteemed industry leaders including Mr. Rayomond Kotwal, CFO, Habib Bank Ltd., Mr. Amin Rajput, Group Managing Director & CFO, SSGCL, Ms. Naila Kassim, Group Director HR, House of Habib and Mr. Muhammad Rizwan Dalia, Chief People Officer, K-Electric. The panelists placed a strong emphasis on the paramount importance of operational efficiency, delving further into exploring alternative methodologies for effectively representing data. They highlighted the essential role of CAs in contributing their expertise to the public sector and comprehend the importance of continuous upskilling to stay abreast of evolving industry demands. They further stressed that CFOs must stay updated with current trends, embrace technology, and build collaborative relationships.
During the 80/20 Dialogue session, experts delved into the intricacies of finding a delicate balance between optimization efforts and crucial business priorities. The panelists for the session included Ms. Farheen Salman, President of BSAPN Lipton Teas & Infusions, Syed Amir Ali, President & CEO of Bankislami, and Mr. Muhammad Humair, Head of Special Projects at Dawood Hercules Group. They shed light on the Pareto Principle, which unveils the concept that a minority of causes can have a substantial impact on outcomes, with roughly 80% of consequences originating from a mere 20% of the factors. The panelists shared profound insights and their extensive expertise, underlining the critical importance of striking a balance between resources and organizational imperatives.
Mr. Yousuf Bashir Qureshi, a renowned motivational speaker delivered an awe-inspiring talk in the dynamic segment known as “Power Tonic.” He shared invaluable wisdom and perspective, empowering individuals to unlock their true potential and overcome challenges they may encounter along their journey.
Mr. Samiullah Siddiqui, Chairman, PAIB Committee and Council Member, ICAP highlighted the conference’s objectives, vision, and ICAP’s significant contributions to Pakistan’s finance sector. He emphasized its relevance to professionals in business and finance.
Mr. Ali Tabba, CEO of Lucky Cement Limited, delivered a keynote address on Harnessing Leadership in Radical Times. He emphasized that embracing challenges enables us to tap into our strengths, uncover hidden capabilities, and build resilience. He emphasized the significance of venturing beyond our comfort zones, embracing calculated risks, and drawing lessons from our experiences, as these actions unlock our genuine potential.
In the insightful discussion on Opportunities Beyond Uncertainties, Mr. Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, Founder & CEO, Nutshell Group and Mr. Usama Rashid, CEO, V2F Solutions, illuminated the art of seizing opportunities amidst unpredictable circumstances. They stressed the pressing need for a comprehensive overhaul of our current political system to reinvigorate our nation. Looking ahead, it is imperative for every sector of society to diligently fulfill their responsibilities and leverage the potential of critical factors to drive progress.
The engaging Fireside Chat, titled “The Call of Duty,” delved into the multifaceted challenges that businesses encounter in the face of fluctuating energy and oil prices, rising competition from smaller economies, the advent of online banking, knowledge brain drain, and technology risks. The esteemed panelists who contributed their expertise to the discussion were Mr. Ashfaq Yousuf Tola, Minister of State & Former President ICAP; Amjad Waheed, CEO, NBP Funds; Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Economist and Prof. Dr. Huma Baqai, Rector, Millennium Institute of Technology & Entrepreneurship. The panelists shared their valuable insights and perspectives on how businesses can navigate these challenges and seize opportunities amidst a rapidly evolving global landscape.
To recognize the outstanding contributions and remarkable achievements of ICAP members, the Professional Excellence Awards (PEA) ceremony was organized. During the ceremony, ICAP members were honored in various categories for their noteworthy accomplishments in their respective organizations. Mr. Shahid Mahmood Khan, Managing Director, Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (PARCO), and Kamran Azim, CEO of Taleem Finance Company Limited were honored with the prestigious Business Leader Award. Syed Majid Ali, CFO, Faysal Bank Ltd., and Mr. Touseef Alam Khan, CFO, National Logistics Cell were awarded the Finance Leader Award. Mr. Muhammad Faisal, President Automotive & COO, Lucky Motor Corporation Ltd. and Mr. Muhammad Shahzad Yousuf, Chief Business Operations Officer, PTCL were the recipients of the Business Enabler Award. Mr. Jatin Kumar, CFO, TransKarachi, and Mr. Yasir Ahmad Hashmi, Chief Internal Auditor & Head of Audit, FINCA Microfinance Bank Ltd., were awarded the Emerging Leader Award. Lastly, Mr. Muhammad Saeed Butt, Head of Financial Control, Eskan Bank BSC(C), and Mr. Asher Noor, CIO and Group CFO, AlTouq Group were honored with the Overseas Member Award.
Mr. Arslan Khalid, Vice President, ICAP delivered the closing remarks, offering a reflective summary of the conference proceedings and emphasizing the key takeaways and insights shared during the event. He expressed heartfelt appreciation to the participants, speakers, and organizers for their invaluable contributions, which undeniably played a significant role in the success of the conference.
All in all, the CFO conference speakers debated the idea of staying resilience from different tangents in the lights of current economic turmoil and political uncertainty.