With over 26 years of experience as a professional Accountant in several industries including the Manufacturing and Service sectors, Chaminda Prabhath, the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of HNB Finance Ltd, began his illustrious career as an Audit Junior at KPMG. He said his career journey is a typical example for the CIMA C-suite Programme which is dedicated to guiding executive calibre professionals on the path to become CEOs.
“I had a chance to change my career to a different level in the field of strategic planning and joined Prime Lands as the Assistant General Manager – Strategic Business Units. During that time, I had the opportunity of serving as a Non-Executive Director for Ceylease Financial Services, which was a subsidiary of the Bank of Ceylon. After the acquisition of HNB Finance PLC, formerly known as Ceylinco Grameen by Prime Lands, I joined HNB Finance as the Director Finance in June 2011, and currently I’m serving as the Managing Director/ CEO.”
How has your experience been with the CIMA C-Suite Business and Finance programme?
My experience with the programme is that this is a structured and highly personalised, guided programme, and a very supportive environment was created for the professionals who were from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Due to the supportive approach from the Institute and the assistance from the resource personnel, even those executives from non–financial backgrounds found it easier to adapt to the programme fast. This programme is tailored to suit the schedule of a C-suite professional who has limited time for regular classroom sessions as it allows participants to explore the readily available online study materials and self-study. It certainly requires commitment from the C-suite professional.
Through this programme, I had a chance to improve the application of knowledge and experience gathered during my career and, most importantly, I learnt how to quickly convert that experience to a decision making process, enabling me to make fast and relevant solutions. My view is that more than paving the way for a CFO role, this programme guides professionals on the path to become a CEO. I strongly believe that this is a very useful course, and I still apply the valuable practical lessons I gathered from this course.
Why would you recommend the CIMA C-Suite Business and Finance programme?
First and foremost, this course provides you the opportunity to obtain a well recognised professional qualification, which is the highest standard for Finance and Accounting professionals worldwide. CIMA C-Suite is not merely a theoretical programme where C-level executives need to follow a course from the beginning. Instead, CIMA has thoughtfully designed a well-structured approach to develop the C-Suite personnel possessing different academic qualifications in diverse fields, to gain this coveted accounting qualification to become a well-recognised, qualified Management Accountant and become well balanced C-level leaders.
However, more than the qualification, this programme is very important as it grooms the C-suite calibre individuals to approach business problems ethically and transparently. The real time practical information about business issues taking place around the world and different management techniques applied to resolve them is very useful for C-suite professionals. I’m impressed with the learning outcome and I highly recommend this programme as this programme produces an accomplished, complete C-Suite professional.
How does this programme improve skills and create value for C-level executives?
Rather than learning the theory, in this programme one learns the practical applications of businesses in different industries, which is very interesting. It allows the executives to gather in-depth understanding about real business scenarios and come up with suitable solutions. It provides a platform to improve the skills through the Continuous Professional Development events, online seminars and interviews with industry leaders. Also, the opportunity for networking with other professionals as well as to look at problems differently, is very important. The value creation of this programme is how it fills the knowledge gap while driving the thinking forward to the strategic level expected from a well-balanced, complete C – level corporate leader.
Explain your experience being a member of CIMA.
It is a great experience becoming a member of CIMA, which is one of the most recognised designations for finance professionals worldwide. I’m proud to have become a Fellow member of the organisation and the qualification shows you have mastered the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a rapidly disruptive world. This elite membership provides a good networking opportunity for career enhancement. It provides frequent online opportunities to update your knowledge through CPD events, webinars, and interviews and trains you to adapt to real time challenges such as how other companies across the world perform in the post pandemic environment. To me, the most important experience apart from achieving this valuable qualification is the constant knowledge improvement.
What’s the most challenging task as a senior leader of a leading Finance company in SL?
In my opinion, the most challenging task for a finance company at present is maintaining a sustainable business growth in the highly competitive environment of the regulated financial market, as there are many players competing for a small share of the market. On the other hand, there are unregulated competitors operating in the market, which makes the situation even harder.
As the CEO of HNB Finance, what opportunities do you perceive for the organisation in 2021?
I see a number of opportunities for HNB Finance Plc in 2021, the main area being Digital Transformation, as the entire world is now moving towards the digital space as a result of the pandemic. Still there is a vast opportunity for Finance companies in Sri Lanka to fulfil that gap.
Also, after the pandemic, people are seeing a silver lining with the introduction of COVID-combat vaccines in 2021, which will lead to business generation in many areas in this new normal, providing opportunities for finance companies. Therefore, we need to be vigilant in the frontline to provide solutions to the needy customers first, so that we can grab the First Mover Advantage.
Apply for your Exclusive Invitation to CIMA/CGMA C-Suite Business & Finance Programme: https://bit.ly/3s9ZGAq