Mumbai, Oct 25th, 2013. The Y.B. Chavan Auditorium is packed much before the scheduled start of the day’s proceedings. Practicing Cost Accountants, some of them stalwarts of the industry in their own right and students alike are awaiting the beginning of the days Symposium – “Cost Audit for Inclusive Growth”, Organized by the Western India Regional Council of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI).
CMA Madhuvanti Sathe, the Chairperson of the Pune Chapter of the Institute and the MC for the event put things in perspective way before the dignitaries had even arrived, echoing the sentiments of those gathered. “The speakers today – Mr. Pawan Ruia, an acknowledged expert in reviving comatose cases by the dint of his cost wizardry and Mr Venkaiah Naidu, ace Parliamentarian and BJP leader – are both known for their mastery over their respective fields and their brazen dislike for mincing of words. Naturally, all are keen to hear their take on Inclusiveness, which though a term that is being widely used, seldom understood and rarely put into practice. As Cost and Management Accountants, we are all keen to listen to them spell out the bass tracks.”
She couldn’t have been more bang on. Venkaiah Naidu, with his heavy political rhetoric and predictable posturing regaled the audience, after first admitting his ignorance about the subject. It was a political speech to beat all such political speeches that drew the maximum applause when he explained, why electoral agenda’s of all political parties, their manifestos, must mandatorily be made to bear the seal of approval of Cost Accountants. Assembled Cost Accountants however, did not miss the lack of technical substance, relevant to the context as the earlier speaker, the irreplaceable Pawan Kumar Ruia, Chairman of the Ruia Group, had, while delivering the Inaugural Address, said all that needed to be said.
“The 21st Century” he had began famously, attracting the rapt attention of all assembled “will belong to the Cost Accountants” – attention, that he did not allow to weaver for even a second as he went on to make his case, in what old timers in the audience said, “in his own, inimitable way.”
From explaining in layman’s terms what an esoteric, rarely understood, often abused “Inclusive Growth” meant and how Cost Accountants, awaiting their date with destiny, could, by excelling in their professional domains, turn it into a reality for the “greatest common good”, he traversed the entire gamut, often forcing the audience to break out in spontaneous applause. He cited examples of the Fortune 500 entities, of Google, Facebook, low cost airlines apart from sharing stories from his own illustrious career – how knowledge of costing (and its application) has repeatedly helped him reach his goals, even in foreign shores where not only had it helped him plug a life threatening hemorrhage, but had made him proud as an Indian, teaching a people that had not only ruled over us, but had also introduced us to the subject.
“We have to stop viewing ourselves as mere men and women armed with calculators doing our jobs” he declared, urging “we have to reinvent ourselves as the Agents of Change in the process of wealth creation, adding value to life itself”. Ruia then went on to lead the audience to a pledge for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive world order “Join me, my friends as I say:
We have not inherited the Earth from our forefathers, we are the custodians of the Earth and all its resources for our children. We are the center of the creative force of the universe and on us is the onerous task of ensuring that we leave behind for the children of tomorrow a cleaner, greener and more prosperous world order.”
“Friends, it is easier said than done” explained Ruia. “And, the key to this tectonic shift is in our mind. We have to tell ourselves that we are not mere cogs in the wheel doing our bit, but are the life force that drives the wheel forward”.
However, the Coup de Grace was when Pawan Ruia invoked the Mother – the Goddess of every home’s hearth and explained how her every action is moored in a keen understanding of the principles of coasting and how she goes about running the family, within the limited means at her disposal for the greatest common good, as opposed to running after some chimera of profitability. His question was pointed: if what the Mother does is not inclusive, what is? His answer too was profound in its simplicity: instead of paying platitudes to the term, Cost Accountants must embrace Inclusiveness in their daily chores, so that it becomes a part of their value creation, as opposed to being just another term in the Corporate Lexicon.
As a parting shot, he also used the platform to raise two issues that were close to the common heart – that of making Cost Audit mandatory by statute so that it may become a part of the Annual Report presented before the shareholders and that of standardizing across boundaries so that the faculty may be the true global agent of the change that it is capable and destined to usher in.
Earlier,CMA Ashish Thatte, Chairman, WIRC of the Institute had delivered the Welcome Address while the Theme of the Seminar was eloquently explained by CMA Neeraj Joshi, the Vice Chairman of ICAI (WIRC). CMA Suresh Mohanty, President of ICAI had shared his vision about Inclusive Growth and the unique role that Cost Accountants will be increasingly called upon for its achievement. CMA Dhananjay Joshi, former President ICAI had explained the efficacy of such seminars in the honing of costing skills and their proper implementation by members while the Vote of Thanks was given by CMA Vijay Joshi, Secretary WIRC of ICAI.
You can follow Mr Pawan Ruia in Twitter: @PawanRuia