Woman on Board: CA Prajakta Sangoram

Born and brought up in a middle class family in Pune, she had many aspirations as a kid. Right from being a school teacher to being an actress, from being a doctor to promoting a multi national company, she wanted to do it all.

Once during her teenage years, her father took her to his CA’s office. She was new to this word CA, she asked her father what exactly a CA is ? She learnt that a Chartered Accountant can do it all – he works in a bank, he can run a company, he teaches in college, be a consultant. That was the time she decided that she wanted to be one too. Unlike all other things she wanted to do, this thought stayed with her for long. Today, CA Prajakta Sangoram is Independent Director on Eaton,multinational power management corporation, she runs her own CA Firm and is also associated with the art circle.

Vedant Sangit, Co Founder of Regtechtimes spoke to Prajakta Sangoram on the occasion of the Women’s Day to figure out her aspirations and challenges while on the board of such a large multinational corporation.

Please let us know about your background, your educational qualification, your experience, your CA Practice

Truth be told, though I always wanted to become a CA, I was aware that by no means would this journey be a straight or easy one. But, I could recognise the value in committing myself to get to the end.

Keeping the end goal in sight, I started my journey by clearing all my exams in the very first attempt in 2009. While studying for my CA course I developed a liking for Indian Laws and decided to pursue the professional course of Company Secretary which I cleared in the same year as well. Looking at the changing accounting scenarios around the globe, I did a diploma in International Financial Reporting from ACCA, UK.

My qualifications opened the door to a vast range of career opportunities. I started my professional career with Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mumbai and then went on to work in a Pune based start up. I worked in a wide gamut of roles during my five years of working with these companies. I accidentally fell into this Tax Consultancy Practice, after I took over the 24 year old firm from my father in law. In this firm, we specialise in Tax and Regulatory Consultancy.

How did you find yourself on the board of Eaton

In the midst of all this, I was informed that I was being evaluated for the position of Woman Independent Director in Eaton Fluid Power Limited. One of the senior management personnel recommended me to the board. Post the revamp of the erstwhile Company Law in India, the public companies fulfilling certain conditions were mandated to appoint a Woman Director on the board. And EFPL, meeting these conditions, welcomed me on their board.

What is the biggest challenge before the woman on board?

Directorship for a woman is usually perceived as just a compliance, on male centric boards. Fortunately, I have received good support and response from others on the board of EFPL, where I can voice my opinion freely, and at the same time rest assured of its being given due consideration. This has given me immense confidence and exposure.

I really hope every organisation sees the value of this position not only on paper, but also in spirit. I believe a Woman Director can certainly bring in a different perspective to the table.

As woman on board of listed companies, how do you measure success

Success is a relative term. To be a part of EFPL’s board is a matter of pride. Being a member of the board of Directors, or reaching a certain height or earning a certain figure does not feel like success to me. For me success is about deriving happiness from my work and watching other people benefit from my professional expertise. It is a day to day feeling of achievement, where you go out of your comfort zone to do something which you thought was not achievable.

What are your immediate future goals?

With the changing global scenarios of accounting and taxation, I have dived into a specialised BPO services where we have recently started catering to clients over the global. Having been referred by an ex-colleague to an accounting firm based in USA, I now work for their clients and intend to grow this business.

Furthermore, with the various OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) guidelines coming in, and with Indian Tax Regulators adopting this, I now work on international tax consultation as well.

Having always had a deep interest in teaching, I got associated with various institutions as a guest lecturer as well.