Attention to detail is critical in a large business, says Aneal Maharaj FCCA, Group finance director (FD) of ANSA McAL, one of the largest conglomerates in the English-speaking Caribbean
Everything about Aneal Maharaj smacks of the immaculate. From his finely tailored business suit to his toastmaster-style enunciation, to his belief that ‘sweating the small stuff’ is an indispensable attribute of any successful business executive, there is an obvious attention to precision which betrays a professional outlook staked on getting the equations right.
In his case, there is a lot on the line. At 45, Maharaj is group finance director at the ANSA McAL Group of Companies – one of the largest conglomerates in the English-speaking Caribbean. With an asset base of close to US$2bn, revenues nearing US$1bn annually and 60 companies in eight sectors, the company has the economic capacity of several small Caribbean states. Maharaj has a leadership role in helping devise and implement strategy, plus a functional responsibility for financial performance management and governance.
Although he occupied top positions everywhere he has worked, Maharaj treasures the work at ANSA McAL. ‘Here we have a performance culture of entrepreneurship and execution, with 6,000 staff across eight sectors, 13 key business lines and 60 companies all connected together through our business model to deliver our targets. It really is an amazing place to work,’ says Maharaj.
His advice to would-be accountants is to acquire the right qualifications. He considers ACCA to be the most prestigious qualification: ‘It is often misunderstood to be an accounting qualification,’ he says. ‘It is far from that. It is a business qualification. The rigour and the discipline that are instilled pays you back both financially and in terms of your career for years to come,’ he insists.
The ANSA McAL Group has been an ACCA-approved employer since 2012, an achievement he values since
taking on his post. ‘This means that the level of in-house training and development for finance professionals is up to international standards,’ he says.
And when Maharaj says ‘always pay attention to the details’, he is not just talking about accounting. ‘I believe you do have to sweat the small stuff in business. The details matter at every step of the value chain.
‘Once you do that, as well as apply an inquiring mind and the ACCA Qualification, it will position you for any role you want,’ he adds. He considers such qualities to have served him well.
This is an extract from an article first published in Accounting and Business magazine, first published in March 2014. Read the full article