We are defined by our journey and the skills that we have acquired during the course of the journey. This might sound like a high-level philosophical statement, but very often it comes true when you try to map the success of senior leaders in almost every organization.
In one such exercise we had an opportunity to interact with Srikripa Srinivasan, Senior Director – Finance & Operations, Dell EMC, India COE to understand her journey to her current position, the skills she gained over the years and value she brings to the table during key decisions taken in the organization.
Srikripa, has more than 25 years of strong Finance and leadership experience in various industry sectors, having worked on both local and global assignments. After graduating in economics, she chanced on giving the CA entrance examination and given her fabulous results in CA entrance, her entire career course changed while she really wanted to study economics more until then.
She joined a mid-sized audit firm largely focusing on tea company audits and learnt few lessons in her early days. As she lists them, here are the key skills to survive CA if you are currently in a similar journey.
- Have super tenacity
- Study before work hours
- Study after work hours and
- Do well at work
Post her stint at the firm, she moved to PwC in the Audit and Business services to Delhi which in her words was ‘perhaps the biggest milestone in work’ and added a new learning to her journey – Stay above competition
“From here I had a wonderful stint in accounts payable, receivable, payroll, marketing finance in the FMCG world at GSK and here I learnt one overarching thing i.e. make you lose common sense sometimes” adds Srikripa.
Also Read: “Constant Improvement Paired With Self-Discovery Is Excellence!” – In Conversation With Vinita Gera of Dell EMC, India COE
From here she moved on to a longer stint at GE Capital as Vice President – Finance where her major achievements include setting up of their Bangalore premise, heading Business Finance for the largest part of GE Capital revenue in India and driving budgets for all high-end CoEs.
And this is the place which taught her the biggest lesson that shaped up her skills – speed of thought, trust and action and execution.
Before she joined Dell EMC, she had one long stint at Microsoft as the Head of Compliance and then as India Finance Controller. During her seven-year tenure here, she instrumental in setting up their compliance office, responsible for bringing controllership to Microsoft worldwide standards including SOX 404, Statutory Accounting, Statutory, Tax and Policy Compliances, Payroll, management of Outsourced Partners, Treasury, to name a few.
All the learning she had gained in her career over the years had helped her to serve effectively as the Senior Director of Finance and Operations in Dell EMC. As she states it, “every action in the organization has finance /ops in some way involved. You can choose to ignore it and move along or choose to be in the role. If look at it every day is a T20 match that you are playing.”
She chose to be in the role this time, and her responsibilities were predominantly focused on leading the team on the highest road on ethics and integrity which entailed meeting company financial goals and targets, helping the business grow through very robust and efficient operational processes in everything the business touches, helping existing businesses to revisit and tweak the processes which are old and helping business attract new talent in the company.
The above responsibilities might seem overwhelming for someone who is currently trying to take a similar path and are currently sitting for their CA exams or even in their undergrad studying economics for that matter. Remember, it was not just the subjects studied that can help one reach this position, but also the lessons learnt along the way that adds value to it.
Want to know more on the skills that helps one gain an edge on the table even if they are on a similar path as others? Here is how she lists her skills better.
- Feel the pain of the business
- Be agile on execution – don’t sit forever trying to solve an issue
- Have a super team
- Call a spade a spade
- Take on big challenges
- Be positive and remember that I am super blessed that I have got such wonderful opportunities
As she has rightly pointed out, sometimes even organizations play a bigger role in shaping the journey of one of its key stakeholders – employees. For example at Dell EMC, treating every employee fair and equal is no lip service, but DNA of the organization
“It’s not a number game, we are committed to an evolved workforce which genuinely strives to fairness and equality. We keep having programs to drive this behaviour in mind and spirit” she adds.
While it is easier said than done, here are a few points that helped Dell EMC bring about an inclusive culture without bringing a reservation mindset.
- Start from home: Do you behave condescendingly when you drive inclusivity or is it your DNA
- At work: Make it a habit to drive this bottoms up and tops down
- Keep moving forward: Dipsticks to see if the agenda is getting lost and becoming lip service
Finally, as golden pointers for people who wish to be in her position one day, she lists the following.
- We are in the greatest time in our career
- No job is too small. Take up the job or cause if this is the most burning issue now. Positively you will learn from it
- Don’t sit on your desks and expect things to come, walk across, collaborate and help and even ask for help
- Be in the thick of the problem and execute to the solution even if it means a small part of it
- Enjoy your journey
- Make many friends along the way