Divya Bhaskaran ACMA, CGMA is the operations manager of Capgemini Business Services India Limited. Although she only qualified as a CIMA member in 2009, the qualification has already assisted her swift rise up the ranks at the company.
Beginning as a sox auditor and subsequently becoming manager of the sox audit team, Divya progressed to a transitions lead and was involved in the transition of order to cash operations.
After a period as an onshore manager for a client outside India, enhancing her international experience, she returned to serve at Capgemini Business Services India Limited as a project manager and now her current role. The skills acquired through CIMA have been vital to this smooth professional progression, as she outlines in this illuminating interview.
Why did you choose CIMA as your financial qualification, and how did you hear about it?
I started out as an industrial trainee with BHEL (Chennai, India). This was to enhance my qualification as a cost and works accountant (my professional qualification from the Cost and Works Accountants of India). On completion of my training, I decided to study and obtain my CIMA qualification.
I chose CIMA as it was a global extension to my cost and works accountant degree. I was looking online to see what would enhance my educational qualifications, and on the CWA website I found CIMA listed as the global qualification that would give me the edge that I was looking for.
What skills have you gained or developed through studying CIMA?
People management, risk analysis, and strategic and operational planning are just some of the skills that I use at work daily which CIMA has helped me develop.
In what ways have you helped add value to your company over the years?
I worked in the capacity of a consultant to set up a captive shared service for a client. Not only did I complete the project on time, we were able to get more similar project based on the success of the initial one.
I have also held the role of an onshore manager for a client. This was because we had issues with delivery and the client's confidence in our capacity to deliver was failing, potentially damaging our reputation. I worked from the customer’s location and ensured that the issues were resolved and the processes were stabilised.
My participation in the successful transitions and stabilisation of order to cash processes for the North American and part of the European arm of another client saw processes stabilised and agreed SLAs successfully delivered to the client.
I have also been able to take up multi dimensional roles, from an auditor to a transitions manager to handling an entire operation. This diversity has helped me in stabilising projects and securing confidence of the clients and thereby winning more contracts. I have been instrumental in improving productivity in my capacity as a team manager and also in implementing new workflow tools and SAP changes.
How has CIMA membership helped you professionally?
It was because of my qualification that I started my career as a manager. Firstly, I have worked in the capacity of a project manager where my knowledge and skills learnt as a CIMA student was put to good use. I was involved in setting up of a shared service centre for the finance arm of a client. I then moved in the operations area of the company. As a team manager, I handled the AR support process and a team of 30 members. I was also the transitions manager for the OTC process.
In 2010, I was promoted to the role of an operations manager and I handled a team of 62 members. My area of speciality was OTC (F&A) and I was responsible for disputes management, which involved portfolio analysis, risk management and weekly and monthly reporting. During this time, I put to use all that I learnt during the final stages of the CIMA qualification.
CIMA membership has helped me rise through the managerial ranks. It has enhanced both my technical and soft skills, and therefore made me a much more able and competent manager.
How did getting your CIMA qualification make you feel?
I felt more confident and was eager to take on more challenging, managerial roles. In fact, it was due to my qualification that I was placed on a fast track management programme with my company.
Do you actively support your staff to study the CIMA professional qualification?
I have encouraged and helped a couple of my colleagues in registering and studying for the CIMA qualification. I help with any questions or information requested whenever asked. Wherever possible I have provided information to my juniors with respect to the CIMA qualification and its benefits.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
I am in charge of a team of 62 members and one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being involved in the training and development of the team, identifying talent, and developing programmes and training schedules to enhance them. Applying my skills in the completion of a project and ensuring that the goal and objectives are delivered on time is also very rewarding.
I am involved in preparing weekly and monthly plans for the progress of the team, and implementing and achieving these strategies. Analysis of the risk pertaining to the customer portfolio, and providing remediation plans and forecasts and achieving them, are also rewarding aspects of my job.
In one sentence, please describe how CIMA members add value to your business.
CIMA members bring in professionalism, maturity and a practical viewpoint, which are crucial to a successful business.
How do you see CPD as being of value in keeping your qualification relevant to the constantly changing business environment?
As my role evolves in the business, the competency required to carry out the role gets more demanding. However, through CPD courses I am able to meet these requirements by constantly enhancing my skills.