Anbann Chetti, CFO Nedbank Corporate Banking: Be the number one

“THE best advice that I can give to young finance experts is to try and understand financial statements better than anybody else. This way, you’ll get rewards that others don’t get,” says Anbann Chetti, CFO of Nedbank Corporate Banking. In an interview with CFO South Africa he explains that a successful career is as much about enjoyment as it is about “positive, healthy competition” with your peers.

As a driven leader, Chetti likes to motivate his colleagues, something that becomes more important now he that finds himself in the role of finance head. "Being a CFO is a strategic role and it's crucial that one is able to work well with people and the teams they operate in. I encourage people to go beyond what is expected. To go higher up, you have to be the number one."One of the crucial aspects for a fast-paced career - and one that young, ambitious chartered accountants might sometimes forget - is to enjoy your job, Chetti says. "It is important to know exactly what your job entails, what you will be rated on and what drives you. Then, when your work throws you a curveball, you actually enjoy the difficult challenges ahead instead of begrudging it. The people I see getting frustrated in their jobs are the ones without clear goals. You have to be happy in your role, because you are going to spend at least 8 hours doing it every day."

Chetti has a good grasp of what a successful culture can mean for a bank, having worked for four different employers in the banking sector so far in his career. He is a networker in the true sense of the word and is looking forward to the opportunities that the CFO SA-organized round tables will offer. "It is a great way for me to get a better understanding of what other CFOs are thinking and what their concerns are. Important too, is how we as Nedbank, can equip them. Often colleagues at other companies are facing issues around cash flow or operational expenses. Generally, we will be able to come up with a solution."

Listening to South African businesses to find out how they can best be helped, is one of the biggest challenges corporate banks face at the moment, according to Chetti's analysis. "These days, we have to understand our clients better. In the past, the South African banks were focussed on creating products they thought would please the market. Now our companies are expecting industry and client specific innovation from banks - tailor-made solutions have to be part of your offering."

Chetti describes himself as "driven to succeed while at the same time maintaining my work/life balance". He lauds the corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives of his new employer and also "gives back" in his own personal life, as he calls it. He is on the finance board of the Liberty Church in Randburg, where he has also helped start up a feeding scheme for the hungry. I have been fortunate enough to be successful in corporate work, so it is great to be able to help people."

If you also would like to share your ideas with the CFO community, please get in touch with us to arrange an interview with you. Please contact Jurriën Morsch on [email protected]