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December - 2008 - issue > Editor's Desk
Being Cost Prudent Helps
Pradeep Shankar
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Whenever we have senior executives from the U.S. visiting us, it seems to have become an accepted norm that as a welcome gesture hoardings are put up across the city. This perhaps is something we have learnt well from our politicians. The reality is that all the expenditure incurred in the welcome exercise is billed back to the company. If you were a CEO at helm, it is like eating one’s own dog food. One should note when our Indian CEOs visit other countries, it is rare that such a hoarding-welcome takes place.

Recently, the CEO of a leading technology company in the U.S. visited India. His Bangalore office caught the pulse and several small hoardings came up along the road overnight—perhaps heralding his visit. It is very much understandable that a company has to spend on building its brand. But what evades our powers of comprehension is why it has to be done overnight on the eve of the visit of their own CEO? Is there any logic behind it? Added to this is the economic downturn in the U.S., the ripples of which we all see unfolding with the passage of every day. While their CEO is busy talking to investors about the cost cutting measures they have in place as one of the steps to counteract the slowdown, their India office is making sure there is no stone unturned to make his visit a pleasant experience for him. Only the CEO and the investors should know that the spend will reflect in the company’s P&L, however small the money spent may be, in comparison to its revenues.

Several years back, when my boss was visiting India for the first time, I remember, we had gone to receive him at the airport. The lovely flower bouquet did surprise him; this wasn’t a welcome he would get back in the U.S! When he went back and was checking the P&L of the India firm, he noticed the entry made for the purchase of the bouquet. Not only did we face the tune but he also made sure that during his future visits we never bought a bouquet for him ever again.

The message my boss was trying to convey back then—to be cost prudent—is more meaningful now than in times like the ones then. It is time that we as individuals become more sensitive to the expenditure that our companies make and cut the corners wherever possible. It helps in the long run to be austere and survive than to be opulent and sink.

Let us know what you think,

Pradeep Shankar Managing Editor editor@thesmarttechie.com
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