Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti, one of the most renowned CA‘s in the current times emerged as a national scholar in 1971 after passing the Indian School Certificate exam with a top rank in the country.
He was offered a scholarship at Cambridge but he declined it. In 1950, Haribhakti & Co was founded by his father who himself is the most tenured living and practicing CA at the age of 91 and was a past President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
Being inspired by his father he had an inclination to become a CA as well. He did his undergraduation from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai where he not only excelled in his studies but also got elected as the General Secretary of the Student Union which helped him acquire the necessary leadership skills. He started his articleship at his father’s firm and also studied Cost Accountancy while pursuing CA.
In 1978, he got qualified as a Chartered Accountant and Cost Accountant by securing All India Rank. He then got selected by AF Ferguson Associates. Soon after, his father became the President of Indian Merchants Chamber and he had to fill in his dad’s place and started as a virtual CEO. It was unsettling for him as he had this huge responsibility to manage the firm at the age of 22. However, with his father’s guidance and the strict guidelines
laid by him, Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti was able to persevere. After his father’s term as the President came to an end, he took back the reigns of the firm and Shailesh went on to work with Arthur Young & Co in the USA
where in he learned about computer based auditing at industry giants like McDonald’s corporation.
Working in USA , widened his exposure and he found his passion in auditing. After coming back from the USA , he focused on auditing, consulting, valuation, investment banking, governance and digitalization in his firm while his dad focussed on tax.
With a lot of hardwork and perseverance the firm grew from a team of 50 to 150. He then wanted to take his company to the next level. He did that by delegating the leadership role of various services to competent individuals. Keeping this strategy in mind, he appointed CEOs for every service which paved the way for innovation and helped with expansion at a sustainable pace.
After delegating work, it would have been easy for him to enjoy the fruits of his hard work, but he never stopped learning and achieved Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Financial Planner degrees.
He worked really hard and had to undergo a bypass surgery at 49. This incident forced him to slow down his pace and he began to follow a disciplined routine to take care of his health which was not possible before due to his hectic schedule. Even though the pace of his work slowed , his zeal and passion to pursue innovation through various means did not stop him. With right strategic decisions his firm was able to partner with International firms like Moores Roland and later BDO. After partnering
with BDO the Haribhakti & Co grew from a team of 150 to 1000 people and 20 offices serving some exceptional clients.
Presently he is in engaged in governance, advisory and consulting roles and was also a visiting faculty at IIM Ahemdabad.
However, his journey has not been as smooth as one would picture it be.
• After losing a very important client his business suffered but they adopted a strategy of non dependency on a client by more than 5%.
• He faced criticism for the pace he was trying to establish and for the vast risks he took.
• He lost the election to the Central Council of ICAI and fell out of the political race in the profession.
Even though it was tough to accept the defeat, he moved forward and did not stop.
Today Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti leads some prominent Boards and Board Committees including esteemed organisations like Bajaj Electricals Ltd, Ambuja Cements Ltd etc. He also serves as a strategic advisor to FTI and the CT group and serves on Advisory Boards of Doha Bank, Gaja Advisors Pvt. Ltd and Excellence Enablers Pvt Ltd.
Mr Haribhakti has helped create GOVEVA, which provides digital Productivity enhancement, Governance & Compliance support using Frameworks and platforms to entities globally.
He is an exemplary professional and we can learn from his journey a few things as follows
1. Delegate when appropriate
2. Discipline is the most important thing to succeed
3. Slow down but do not stop
4. Seek out new opportunities and innovate frequently
Mr. Shailesh Haribhakti
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