Noel Krisnandar Yahja
Finance is an integral part of any business and plays a crucial role in driving growth and profitability. However, finance also poses significant challenges for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and other finance professionals. Noel Krisnandar Yahja is a dedicated professional with over 25 years of experience in the finance industry. He has worked in varied industries vertical such as big four audit firms, multinational manufacturing industries, and financial services industries, in various capacities. Noel is currently the CFO and Chief Risk Officer (CRO) at SGMW Multifinance which is a multinational company in the multi finance business in Indonesia. He strives to mitigate financial risks by developing effective risk management strategies and regulating cash flow. Realizing the need to keep up to date with changing regulations, such as tax laws, accounting standards, and technological advancements, Noel invests time in learning and implementing the acquired knowledge to drive organizational growth. Engaging in an idiosyncratic interaction with CEO Insights magazine, Noel shares the imperious details of his journey as one of the influencing finance officers in Indonesia.
You possess over twenty-five years of experience working as a finance officer. What are the various challenges that you have faced and what is your success mantra?
As the Chief Financial Officer of an organization, there are many challenges that can be faced on a day-to-day basis and this requires that I be adaptable to change and learning. Some of the major challenges, that I have faced include managing cash flow, forecasting, and budgeting, mitigating financial risks, and complying with regulations and laws. To navigate these challenges successfully, my key success mantra is to constantly question why things are done the way they are and to embrace change. This means being willing to challenge the status quo, question assumptions, and look for new and innovative ways to improve financial performance apart from managing financial reporting and compliance, risk management, capital management, technology, and data management.
I believe that tough times are an opportunity in disguise because any sort of challenge can present an opportunity for growth and improvement even if they may initially seem difficult or unpleasant. We can approach challenges with a more positive and proactive mindset, which can help us mitigate them more effectively. Going through tough times can also help build resilience, both as an individual and organization. By learning to overcome adversity, we become better equipped to handle future challenges and setbacks. I am inspired by a Chinese proverb that says, ‘When there is danger, there is also opportunity.’
Tell us about SGMW Multifinance and how would you describe its current position in the market?
SGMW Multifinance is a joint venture between Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC), SAIC Motor, the largest carmaker in China, first ranking in China for 17 years in a row. It was also China’s first automobile enterprise to sell 1 million new energy vehicles (NEVs), as well as the first Chinese carmaker with more than 1 million overseas volume and General Motors, which has over 100 years of experience in the automotive industry operated around the world. SGMW Multifinance is a new Captive Finance for new automotive brands in Indonesia and we seek to leverage the experience and global presence of both SAIC and General Motors Financials. I am the first employee who has served as a board member since the establishment of SGMW Multifinance in 2018. Our market share in Indonesia is currently more than 50 percent as Captive Finance within four years of presence in the industry. We only seek to grow exponentially in the future.
As the CFO of SGMW, how do you determine the profitability of the company?
Determining profitability as a CFO and keeping the shareholders happy is critical to the success of any organization. I believe the formula is the same around the globe which is, perception minus expectation. The first step in determining profitability is to understand the financial statements and the information it contains. The next step is to calculate the financial ratios such as gross profit margin operating profit margin, net profit margin, return on Assets (ROA) and return on Equity (ROE). It is also crucial as the CFO to be able to forecast future performance based on historical data and industry trends.
So, by analyzing financial statements, calculating key financial ratios, monitoring cash flow, developing a financial strategy, and communicating effectively with shareholders, profitability can be achieved to satisfy the shareholders. It is extremely essential to develop a financial strategy, based on finance and risks, that aligns with the company’s goals and objectives.
Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the methodologies that you implement to lead your team?
Effective leadership is essential for achieving success in any field. I practice being a people person and strive to build strong relationships with them. I believe that my success and the organization’s success are tied to the success of the team and therefore, I work to create a positive and collaborative environment that fosters growth and development. This approach helps to create a sense of community and belonging among team members, which can boost morale and lead to increased productivity and better outcomes. Another approach is to grow together with my team because I believe that investing in their growth and development will benefit the organization as a whole. I strive to create opportunities or my team to learn, grow, and take on new challenges. This approach helps to build a sense of loyalty and commitment among team members, which can improve retention rates and reduce turn over.
How do you foresee the finance industry evolving in the future and what is the future destination you are heading towards?
One of the key trends shaping the future of the finance industry and for CFOs is the increasing importance of digital transformation. CFOs around the world are increasingly responsible for leveraging technology to improve financial performance and enable business growth. This includes implementing new systems and processes, using data analytics to inform decision-making, and leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate routine tasks.
As a result, the role of CFOs has also evolved, requiring CFOs to develop new skills and strategies to succeed in a rapidly changing landscape. I have a strong experience of almost 25 years in finance and risk, and my aim is to reach the top of finance management in the future by embracing technology, data, analytics, risk management, strategic planning, and soft skills. To ensure the success of the organization in the years to come.
Noel Krisnandar Yahja, CFO, SGMW Multifinance
Noel Krisnandar Yahja Acquired A Bachelor of Accountant from the Top Tier Private University of Trisakti, an MBA degree in Strategic Management from Top Tier Government University Gadjah Mada, a Certified Management Accountant from Australia, and a fully certified Director and Risk License from the Indonesian Authority of OJK related to the financial services industries. He is currently the CFO and CRO at SGMW Multifinance and wants to grow constantly through academics, courses, collaborations, and partnerships to achieve his dreams.
Favorite Hobbies: Reading and studying professionals educations strengthen my personal capacities
Favorite Cuisine: Multicultural food all around my existence
Favorite Book: Autobiography of inspiring people
Favorite Travel Destination: Places with natural sceneries