For so many women, real socio-economic independence can only be obtained when financial freedom is achieved. But that freedom is only gained through knowing how to manage finances and make them work for you, in life and particularly in business. That’s where entrepreneur and finance expert Varsha Parbhoo, founder of Finance 360, comes in. She teaches women entrepreneurs to know their numbers and to use that critical financial information to ensure business sustainability.
LoA chatted to Varsha this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
At Finance 360, our vision is to assist you in the Art of finding true and lasting Authentic Financial and Personal Power: Balancing: Purpose + Passion + Plan + Principles + People + Profit + Planet.
What inspired you to start your company?
I am the first born girl child in a home where my parents were not highly educated, they were born entrepreneurs; they taught us the value of education, money, and most especially the importance of balancing materiality with spirituality. My father’s message growing up was BE INDEPENDENT, so you can have choices, hopes, dreams, and get to experience the world. As such all three of my sisters and I are qualified Chartered Accountants; all living a fulfilling life. My passion and determination is to empower women in South Africa to become economically self-sufficient, emancipated, through financial literacy, so that they can live their dreams. You need money to put food on the table, for clothes, shelter, then only education. You cannot learn on an empty stomach.
“In our economic climate, it is a difficult agenda but I remain committed to my goal: lets balance our books; but also focus on finding a balance between people, profit and the planet.”
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Successful, Stable, Sustainable businesses is what South Africa needs for the economy to grow, create decent jobs and make our country even more amazing. Big companies and start-up businesses alike have to constantly take the time to re-evaluate their strategies and goals to manage these often severe economic fluctuations and re-plan where necessary. During such times, a creative approach to business is needed, particularly when banks and other financial institutions become much more conservative around access to finance, just when you need it most.
Just because your business is making money doesn’t mean it’s stable. Stability is the ability to withstand a temporary problem, such as a decrease in sales and profitability, lack of capital or loss of a key employee or customer. The language of business is understanding the numbers. The financial heartbeat of your business is encoded in the numbers. Numbers tell a story and are a health check.
Know Your Game - Know Your Numbers - Know The Story Behind Your Numbers.
Understanding The Story for Financial Success = Getting Back to the Basics:
Strategy + Structure + Skills + Standards + Systems + Synergy + Streamline = Save = Success = Sustainability
Tell us a little about your team
My name is Varsha Parbhoo, CA CIA ACIS, and I am the Founder and CEO of Finance 360. I am a Chartered Accountant (with a Master’s Degree in Accountancy), a Certified Internal Auditor, a Chartered Secretary, and a Commissioner of Oaths. Business is in my DNA. I have a passion for numbers and the story behind the numbers. For me, Numbers + Balance = Truth. Transparency. Trust = my core values. I am performance driven, business-minded, results-orientated, and I am passionate about putting the FUN back into Finance. I believe in creating calm from chaos. Increased complexity, curve-balls, constant changes and challenges can create crisis and chaos. My approach is to Stabilise, Strategise, Standardise, Simplify your Finances for Financial Security, Stability, Sustainability & Success. I believe in focusing on finance process excellence, strong internal controls and corporate governance.
I have unique experience and expertise in senior finance, audit and risk management spanning over 25 years, working in private equity, SMEs and multinational listed companies across Europe, USA and South Africa. I have fulfilled various roles, i.e. Business Owner-Operator, Accountant, Internal Auditor, Consultant & CFO, allowing for a holistic understanding of the business, the ability to identify areas of improvement and growth, provide pragmatic advice, work with diverse range of people and ultimately drive the business forward. As an individual I have absolute focus on continuous improvement of the business, I am never content with the status quo, and I have a relentless and resilient approach to service improvement facilitated by strong finance business partnering. I have a great attitude, a winning spirit, strong values, and a very positive disposition.
Finding a balance not only in the numbers; but striving and aspiring for Authentic Value: Financial Power & Worth = Self Power & Worth.
Constant pursuit of Awareness and Alignment of Purpose + Passion + Plan + Principles + People = Personal Power = Profit = Planet.
Committed to Finance Entrepreneurship, Education, Engagement & Empowerment.
“If every woman is economically emancipated, she has the freedom of choice, of movement, to think, to feel, to live with hope and dignity, to dream.”
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Both my parents are born entrepreneurs, so business is in my DNA. They owned over 10 different successful businesses; I grew up in this environment, and loved the dynamic when I accompanied my Dad to his various operations. I was extremely good at maths and accounting, so I studied towards my BCom. I then furthered my studies towards a Chartered Accountant in The Netherlands. I worked, studied part-time, and did my articles in The Netherlands. I spent 7 years in Europe; my job in auditing involved over 90 percent travel. I learnt the value of balancing not only numbers, but ensuring you have happy, motivated, production people, who have fantastic attitude to life. And understanding the importance of honoring the planet; making a profit, but doing this in a responsible, ethical, transparent and sustainable manner. I was truly blessed to work for businesses who lived my values. It’s the message I have tried to bring to the attention of South African small and large listed businesses in my role as Financial Director over the last 15 years. In our economic climate, it is a difficult agenda but I remain committed to my goal: lets balance our books; but also focus on finding a balance between people, profit and the planet. After spending over 25 years in the corporate world, I have set up my own advisory and consulting practice called Finance360 to focus on and drive this message. My vision and mission is: Financial Education for Woman for Economic Empowerment and Emancipation.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I am partnering with corporate businesses internationally and locally, as well as the 30% Club (a global initiative to put at least 30 percent to woman on boards of directors), who are all interested in focusing on education for woman. I noticed that all the education programmes are missing one fundamental part, i.e. financial literacy. This is what I am bringing to the table; a very pragmatic and holistic approach to woman empowerment and entrepreneurship, for economic emancipation. Given women’s lack of collateral and resulting lack of access to capital, and the fact that many South African families go to bed hungry, many are homeless, and are struggling with basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, what are we doing about this? Then only comes education - you cannot learn on an empty stomach. And then comes financial education - after all - without money - you cannot afford anything: food, home, education, healthcare, savings, i.e. the ability to live a happy and healthy balanced life...the ability to dream.
Once we work on these basic human rights, one person at a time making a difference, then we will see a fundamental shift in the consciousness of our country. An awakening of the self, mindfulness, emotional awareness, a sense of purpose not only about making profit, but about truly and genuinely showing compassion for people and creating a planet where there is mutual understanding, acceptance, connection to everything and everyone. I belong to you; you belong to me.
Mother Theresa said: A woman's love is in action. She looks with her heart and feels with her eyes. A woman is the bank where her family deposits all anger, worries and hurt. A woman is the cement that keeps her family together and her love lasts a lifetime.
So, let us deposit our time, money, efforts in empowering and educating woman; using a holistic approach, giving them human dignity, hope, a life with purpose, passion.
Let us start by making a change in one woman at a time, one home, one family, one business, one community, and our country.
“This is what I am bringing to the table; a very pragmatic and holistic approach to woman empowerment and entrepreneurship, for economic emancipation.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I get to really use my creative talents and abilities and all my life experiences; and do something with a purpose, something I am truly passionate about, that makes me so very happy. If every woman is economically emancipated, she has the freedom of choice, of movement, to think, to feel, to live with hope and dignity, to dream. The fact that I make a difference to women and children everywhere, even if its just a call to say hi, are you ok? I know that every day I use my time to make a difference in small ways.
I reach out to all the woman in my life, i.e. my mother, my sisters, my sister-in-law, my niece, my aunts, my girl-friends, my colleagues, other woman entrepreneurs, connect with them, listen with compassion, just be there for them unconditionally.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Find your truth. Get to know yourself really well. Work on your emotional and spiritual awareness. Then no matter what challenges, curve-balls and changes come your way, you can handle it; learn, and push on. When your head and heart are aligned, you are on the path to true personal and professional success. You will find your higher purpose.
Love, respect and honour yourself always. Be yourself. Personify integrity - your words, thoughts and actions must be aligned. Laugh…often. Live with passion, with balance, with purpose, with love.
Find out more about Finance360
Why LoA loves it….
Women entrepreneurs will often say that one of the biggest challenges in business is successfully managing finances to ensure growth and sustainability. For all those women business builders who struggle to make their finances work for them, financial management expert, Varsha Parbhoo, has the framework for action to make the difference. Her strategic approach to knowing your numbers is insightful, ensuring that women entrepreneurs understand how at a practical level to achieve lasting, authentic financial power. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa