Anuj Bhatnagar: Bringing New Perspectives Of Investment Into Businesses | CEOInsights Vendor
Anuj Bhatnagar: Bringing New Perspectives Of Investment Into Businesses

Anuj Bhatnagar: Bringing New Perspectives Of Investment Into Businesses

Anuj Bhatnagar,  Head Of Finance

Anuj Bhatnagar

Head Of Finance

An accomplished leader in the finance industry, Anuj Bhatnagar (Head of Finance, Glance) has over 16 years of unmatched experience working across diverse industries like technology, telecom, and hospitality. He is adept in Strategy, Business Planning, FP& A, Business Partnering, Controllership and Automation across B2B & B2C sectors. Before Glance, he was with Oyo Hotels and Homes for 2.5 years as the Head of Finance for India and South Asia. Prior to that, he was with Bharti Airtel for 14+ years and played various roles within Finance.

He joined the organization at a Senior Executive level and obtained seven promotions within a span of 13 years. His last role was the Financial Controller for Network Services Group at Bharti Airtel. He excels in strategic financial planning, budgeting,financial controls and analysis, audits and compliances, market intelligence, automation, and project management. Anuj is an analytical problem solver who impeccably delivers out of the ordinary solutions according to business and operational requirements. Let's hear it from him.

Define Glance as an organization and how technology is playing a role in what the company is doing.
Founded in 2019, Glance is a consumer internet company which operates some of the most disruptive digital platforms in the world including ­ Glance, Roposo, Glance Gaming and Glance TV. Glance has redefined the way the internet is consumed on the lock screen, removing the need for searching and downloading apps. The Glance lock screen platform which is powered by AI technology, today is available in over 400 million smartphones in India and Southeast Asia. Roposo a Glance business, has revolutionized commerce by launching a destination for creator-led live entertainment commerce.

Glance TV is redefining smart android TVs with hyperlive interactive experience with off beat, personalized stackable content of 5-20 minutes duration across sports, entertainment, infotainment, e-sports, current affairs and more. So, the impact that Glance has created in this short period of time is quite phenomenal, and much of this have been possible due to the extremely
able group of professionals who are leading these initiatives with a deep customer first approach. I am very excited to be part of this team.

As the Head of Finance, how do you determine the profitability of an investment in the company?
It is an extremely pertinent question in the macro environment we find ourselves in. Not all investments are ubiquitous in their need and outcome and hence, it is important for organizations to define that upfront. Assuming a substantial investment, at a structural level, any profitability or return on it should be looked at through different lenses one is the obvious financial metrics, i.e., the usual ROI/IRR/Payback vis-à-vis other investment options.

In addition to the usual financial metrics, I am a big proponent of the qualitative aspects and the possible synergistic value of any investment across capability, customers, or market share. Within that frame, I also evaluate investments through a lens that I like to call as `cost of not doing'

However, internally I am a big proponent of the qualitative aspects and the possible synergistic value, which is generated out of any investment, be it across its capability, customers, or market share. Within that frame, I look at investment through a lens that I like to call as `cost of not doing.' In this concept, one quantifies existing business `without' this investment over medium term and then loading that impact on to the ROI of the standalone investment in question. In all, I believe quantifying as much as possible is extremely important for a profitable investment.

Describe your leadership approach and the methodologies you use to lead your team.
Being an avid sportsman growing up, I truly believe that common goal orientation is critical for a high performing team. Outcomes within the team can be diversifying (and often non-synergetic) but if those outcomes lead to a common goal, things tend to operate in an auto mode. It is often easier said than done though. Large and diverse team tend to operate in silos, moreover, Covid19 has made all of us operate in a virtual / hybrid environment which brings with it whole set of novel challenges. For me, the mantra has always been a) define a common goal along with the why of it b)Link individual outcomes to that goal, c)Regularly
communicate how we track against that outcome and d) Celebrate successes.

What are the key elements of successful financial planning and budgeting?
Financial Plan should start with an `intent' statement which effectively outlines what exactly does it hope to achieve vis-à-vis the lifecycle of any organization or industry. Beyond that, I would add three additional elements. The first element is team alignment towards the plan and regular interlock with the teams driving it. In my experience, most often financial plans fail if the teams driving it see it as unrealistic or top-down driven.

Secondly, I would say that breaking up of the financial plan into input and output drivers is important. It is easier said than done, but extremely high on upside. Teams need to be oriented in driving inputs vs just being accountable for outcomes. Finally, I feel it is important for the planners to always plan for scenarios. Markets rarely turn out the way we envision and hence its critical for businesses to have a few scenarios upfront and game out eventualities.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?
In the future, I foresee continuing to be a very solid partner (almost like a pseudo-owner) of business units and taking them to the profitable scale that they deserve.

What advice would you give to upcoming leaders?
In my opinion, developing collaborative culture and engagement within teams is extremely underrated. All leaders should focus more on that, especially, those of us who are in finance roles. A leader typically would already have been a very good individual contributor and a high performer himself/herself. But that needs to be unlearned a little bit and more emphasis must be put on coaching and mentoring. Secondly, I would advise all upcoming leaders to be extremely abreast with new technologies. A lot of how things have been done are changing around us very rapidly and one should always be open to question the status-quo and keep presenting newer options that drive efficiency.

Anuj Bhatnagar, Head of Finance, Glance
Born and brought up in Delhi, Anuj has pursued BE from Gogte Institute of Technology Karnataka, and an MBA from Pune. In the last 16 years of his journey, he has worked in various cities namely Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, and Gurgaon experiencing different challenges and discovering different opportunities, cultures, and people which in turn has helped him to grow as a successful finance leader.

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