Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Exclusive Interview with Mr. Surendra Jain, Group Finance Director of A.A. Al Moosa Enterprises, Dubai, UAE.

In our first issue, we are extremely happy to feature the exclusive interview of Mr. Surendra Jain, who is our CashPundit for this issue.

Mr.Surendra Jain is a fellow member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and Post Graduate in Management. He has over 35 years of post-qualification experience in Industry in India, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Since past 20 years he is associated with a UAE Local Conglomerate – A A Al Moosa Enterprises, The ARENCO Group, Dubai and presently working as Group Finance Director. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Group. In addition, he is on the Board of various entities of the Group.

Mr.Jain is Past Chairman of Dubai Chapter of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India which has over 2000 members. He has been the President of ICAT (Institute of Chartered Accountants Toastmasters) Club, a forum involved for the development of soft skills (Communication and Leadership skills) of Indian Chartered Accountants.

CashPundit Inc: It is a great pleasure to interact with you and publish your thoughts in this interview.
Mr. Surendra Jain

Thank you.

CashPundit IncA.A. Al Moosa group is one of the oldest and the reputed groups in UAE. Can you please brief our readers about the various industries A. A. Al Moosa Group is into?
Mr. Surendra Jain

The flagship entity of A A Al Moosa (ARENCO Group) is Arenco Real Estate – leasing of office space, residential villas & apartments, warehouses and staff accommodations and hotel apartments. The Group has seven international chain of hotels which are managed by Hilton, Four Points by Sheraton and Ramada. Three upcoming hotels on Palm Jumeirah will be managed by Hilton, Marriott and Taj respectively. Arenco has oldest and largest Architect practice in UAE. In addition, ARENCO has fleet of over 25,000 vehicles which are leased under the brand name of Thirfty and Dollar. The Group has manufacturing entity – Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Co. LLC which produces King Koil and Serta Spring mattresses in UAE, India and Saudi Arabia. The Group has Furniture trading business – Marlin Furniture. In addition, the Group has high end Italian furniture trading business – Western Furniture (Nattuzi). The Group has joinery and laundry as well which mainly caters in house business.
CashPundit Inc: How has your finance department contributed to the growth of A.A. Al Moosa Group?
Mr. Surendra Jain

Organizing adequate bank facilities at the best possible terms & conditions without excessive leveraging for various development of properties. In addition regular monitoring of cash flow to ensure that bank commitments are met without fail. This resulted in to having positive reputation with financial institutions. We remain in driver’s seat. No sooner we conceive a project, we decide which financial institution we should opt for who fulfils our wish list.

CashPundit Inc:  Your group probably is the number 1 real estate company in UAE. What is your USP and how do you manage to be number one?
Mr. Surendra Jain

Arenco Real Estate is primarily in leasing business and not in freehold business. We therefore do not get affected with ups & down in the market. We provide a full range of real estate leasing to new entrants in Dubai – from office space to ware houses to staff accommodation to residential apartments and villas. In addition, we provide complete satisfaction to the tenants which includes all required amenities, 24 hours free maintenance and security to our properties.

Our ARENCO Architects provides full range of service – from design of a property to supervise construction and handover of the property. Allied businesses such as joinery, laundry furniture trading and manufacturing and car rental also add value to overall savings on cash outflow from the Group.

More importantly, key personnel have been with the Group for over 20 – 30 years. Complete independence and reliance from the Owners to these key personnel is the key to success for the Group.

CashPundit Inc: You were Chairman of the Dubai Chapter of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.  Can you please share with our readers some of the initiatives undertaken by the Institute to promote the CA profession in the region?
Mr. Surendra Jain: 

A student can undertake article ship in UAE under a practicing Chartered Accountant. Student can undergo Industrial training in the third year of article ship in UAE. Moreover a student can write exams from Dubai. Indian Chartered Accountants are well respected in Middle East in general and UAE in particular. Many local conglomerates, Real Estate giants such as Emaar, Nakheel and financial institutions are managed by Indian Chartered Accountants. We made an attempt to improve the visibility of Indian CA profession in UAE through various seminars and conferences.
CashPundit Inc:  In your opinion, how critical is cash flow management for the survival of business? And what is your advice to the fellow finance professionals on how to manage it?

Mr. Surendra Jain

Absolutely. Cash is king and managing cash flow successfully is key for every organization. Now technology is at our footsteps and we should take advantage of available software to closely monitor and forecast our cash & bank position to meet all the commitments on time.
CashPundit Inc: We would like to understand your point of view on how VAT may impact Cash Flow of UAE companies post implementation of VAT?

Mr. Surendra Jain: 

VAT will definitely impact the cost and cash flow of various entities in UAE. For example, hotels and hotel apartments, VAT will be on the top of Municipality fee and service charges. Hospitality Industry being very competitive, I doubt it could be passed on to the end user. 

Since fuel prices have been low for few years it is imperative for the Govt. to find alternate sources of raising funds for continuous infrastructure development in the Country. 

VAT can be very simple to monitor and comply with if all the systems are in right place but it can be equally highly complex, costly, and time consuming if systems and people are not fully prepared. Monitoring cash flow closely is the need of hour and UAE business houses should prepare well in advance to meet the challenges.

CashPundit Inc: Thank you so much for your valuable inputs and time spared for CashPundit Inc. I am sure our readers will thoroughly enjoy it. Wish you all the best for all your future endeavours.
Mr. Surendra Jain

Thank you and wish you good luck for providing better financial discipline.