Sujit Potnis: Transcending The Ordinaries Of Finance | CEOInsights Vendor
Sujit Potnis: Transcending The Ordinaries Of Finance

Sujit Potnis: Transcending The Ordinaries Of Finance

Sujit Potnis,  Head Of Finance

Sujit Potnis

Head Of Finance

Carrying over 13+ years of experience in the Renewable Energy & Power sector with proven expertise in Corporate Finance, FP& A, Business transformation, and Financial Reporting, Sujit Potnis has been driving the finance function of Mahindra Teqo in the right trajectory. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights, he shares his journey. Also, peruse some valuable inputs in the below excerpts.

Throw some light on your professional background and experience.
Soon after graduating with a BE degree from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, I started my career as a financial analyst in a real estate firm based in Nasik. After a brief period, I pursued MBA in finance and joined the structured steel manufacturing & overhead transmission line business of Jyoti Structures in Dubai. I was fortunate to have held the responsibility of leading the commercial proposals and the trade finance. Subsequently, I transitioned into the renewable energy sector in 2013 by joining Mahindra Susten which was into EPC (Engineering, Construction & Procurement) in the renewable energy space. At Mahindra Susten, I have played multiple roles from corporate finance, monitoring cash flow and budget, cost control, trend analysis, component level rate analysis, business finance, treasury& commercial management, annual strategic planning, and end-to-end implementation of organization wide strategic initiatives.

I have been a part of Mahindra Susten's illustrious growth journey since 2013, and in 2019 I was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the new and emerging business of renewable asset management at Mahindra Teqo(a subsidiary of Mahindra Susten).

Tell us about the journey of Mahindra Teqo under your headship and what drives you today.
Since 2019, Mahindra Teqo's revenue has spiked 3X with a CAGR
of 30 percent. We are looking towards a much faster growth trajectory in the next five years. Something that drives me today is the way we are inspiring the transition towards a net zero world. All the fresh challenges that come across in this fast-paced growth of a service business motivate me.

Highly astute, energetic, and team oriented person with a strong work ethic, commitment, excellent communication, and inter relationship skills

How would you define Mahindra Teqo as an organization and its position in the market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offers to clients?
Today, Teqo is ranked number one in India and seventh globally in terms of market share by Giga Watt portfolio capacity under O& M and asset management. As an organization, Teqo is driven by the ethics, governance, and framework of M& M Group ­ through which we strive to live by the highest standards. Our unique proposition is our ability to provide an end-to-end Asset Management solution to our clients, which enables them to maximize their return from their solar assets.

How do you determine the profitability of an investment or business?
It is widely believed that profitability can only be measured by tangible metrics. But any capital allocation towards an investment should have a higher return than what the business would have brought from a standard, risk-free sovereign bond.

This aside, an investment should be able to generate the expected return that an equity shareholder would have set before investing in the business; something that we measure through return on equity or return on capital.

An investment that is considered profitable generates a competitive advantage for the business in terms of cost leadership or through an innovative offering in the long term. So this intangible portion will then convert into tangible measurable parameters. Having said this, an investment that is not balanced with an associated risk is not profitable; if I were to look at it holistically.

Going forward, what are the chan
ges in market behaviour that you anticipate, and what are the opportunities that you foresee?
Speaking of the solar sector, with the entry of large business groups and the growing volume of foreign investment over the last three years a lot of consolidation is expected in the future. Acquisitions will stabilize the cutthroat price competition which will in turn help to stabilize the volatility of the margins that we have witnessed in the industry. Also,will give stability to the individual profit and loss statements.

With Giga Watt level operations, volume-based pricing will also provide more cost-optimized offerings to the customers. Apart from that, the opportunities that I see in this sector or the industry as a whole are the advanced data analytics, software platforms, and onground automation of the erstwhile manual activities.

In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding leaders in finance?
Understand the core of the business, potential risks, and pain areas before focusing on the numbers. Many times people in finance get carried away with the reporting of numbers, ratios, and the insights coming from Excel based models; while ignoring the on-ground realities of project execution, labour issues, regulatory issues, and other ground challenges which are not visible in any kind of Excel model. Understand the core business and then translate those requirements into your modelling, which will give a much more holistic picture of the entire analysis.

Further, focus on building a robust internal process or set of processes within your department and across the organization. To have a sustainable business, we should be process dependent and not person dependent. Only strong processes will enable organizations to withstand the dynamic changes that are happening in the market on a daily basis.

Sujit Potnis, Head of Finance, Mahindra Teqo
Sujit is an MBA in Finance(Mumbai University), B.E Electronics (Pune University), a certified Six Sigma Green Belt holder and has completed an E-MDP in advanced financial management from XLRI Jamshedpur. He has various other certifications in finance and is currently underway in attaining the CIMA membership, CGMA designation, and ESG certification from CFA Institute, UK.

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