The International Entrepreneur Podcast

#1 Part 1: Asia-Pacific with Paul Tan, Ganesh Ramaswamy and Mukesh Singh

October 05, 2022 Kreston Global Season 1 Episode 1
#1 Part 1: Asia-Pacific with Paul Tan, Ganesh Ramaswamy and Mukesh Singh
The International Entrepreneur Podcast
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The International Entrepreneur Podcast
#1 Part 1: Asia-Pacific with Paul Tan, Ganesh Ramaswamy and Mukesh Singh
Oct 05, 2022 Season 1 Episode 1
Kreston Global

In our debut episode we visit Kreston's Asia-Pacific business arm to swap inspirational role models, gender equality within a business environment, and why India is a great place for expanding your enterprise.  Part 2 coming out next week! 

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Show Notes Transcript

In our debut episode we visit Kreston's Asia-Pacific business arm to swap inspirational role models, gender equality within a business environment, and why India is a great place for expanding your enterprise.  Part 2 coming out next week! 

Link to the full Kreston Global report can be found here:

Written, hosted, edited & produced by Infinite Global:

Kreston Ep 1 Part 1 

Hannah Robinson: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to Kreston Global's, the International interpreneur Podcast.

I'm Hannah, your host, and today we have with us three incredible guests to kick off the series. But first, a little housekeeping so you know what to expect. Because we're anticipating that these conversations are going to be chock full of good stuff we won't want to edit out save on time, but we also don't want to assault our listeners with hugely long podcasts that last hours a piece, we're going to split these episodes up into two parts. So each set of guests - who will be dialing in from all over the globe, [00:01:00] by the way, so some great conversations to be had over this podcast series - will have a part one where we talk about them as people, what gets them up in the morning, their background and more personal experiences, and a part two where we dig into the findings of Kreston's recent research into global business culture and give out some valuable advice around what budding interpreneurs can do to make sure they're success. A subnote, if you will. While we're here, a big part of Kreston Global's research and subsequent report on global business culture has been around this idea of an interpreneur, our coined phrasing for international interpreneur, so you'll hear this phrase crop up quite a bit throughout these podcasts. Now that's all covered off, I'm thrilled to introduce our esteemed episode one interpreneurs representing Kreston Global's, Asia Pacific Business Arm. Today we'll be talking to Mukesh, partner at Kreston s gco and Co LLP in India, Ganesh Ramaswamy sw. [00:02:00] Associates at Kreston Rangamani also in India, and last, but certainly not least, Paul Tan, director and co-founder of Kreston ACA in Singapore. One last quick note before we get stuck in, I promise. Due to the international reach of these conversations, we weren't able to get everyone in a studio together as much as we would've, absolutely loved that, so subsequently audio quality dips in a couple of places. While that's to be expected, please bear with us as what our interpreneurs have to say is really, really worth listening to. So let's crack on. For a little bit of background, kreston Global is an international accountancy network that brings the best minds in business accountancy.

I think a great place to start would be to hear how you all got into accounting in the first place as a career, and what inspired you to become an accounting interpreneur in your own right. Shall we start with you Ganesh? 

Ganesh Ramaswamy: Quite interesting. I do not have a family history of accountants. [00:03:00] My parents and siblings are not accountants.

My dad was running a retail business and when I was a young boy, I used to go with him to the retail store for, uh, preparing bills for the steps. I used to also stand in the cash box to handle the cash that was coming in from the customers. Then I started helping him by engaging myself in doing a p and l and balance sheet from a statement called, actually a tried balance.

I am someone who enjoys numbers in order. I am someone who is logical and enjoys logic to a good accountant, I believe is one who has the persistence and will strict, uh, and, and will like, uh, actually strict accuracy even if it comes to hard work. I believe there is beauty in the patterns that are created by an order and then I decided to pursue a career in account. 

Paul Tan: Oh, um, mine's not as interestingas Ganesh's, uh, it was actually my grandfather [00:04:00] who used to work for the British when Singapore was still a British colony in the fifties. Uh, it was him, my granddad, my beloved late granddad who planted in ignorant, 15 year old me.

How respectable, how prestigious accountants are, and the rest they say is history. 

Mukesh Singh: Yeah, I mean, uh, kind of a really seamless story, but you know, all Indians like, uh, like logical reasoning and, uh, in my schooling days, uh, we were working lot on mathematics solutions and things like that. So I initially thought to build up my career as something related to mathematics.

Where this logical reasoning required. Uh, there were like, uh, lot of, uh, references in our neighborhood. Actually, people were pursuing chartered accountancy [00:05:00] course. Um, one good advice actually from one of them, I received that I should. Start working to have some practical knowledge about accountancy. And I used to stay in Mumbai and uh, there were a lot of chartered accountant funds in our neighborhood also.

So the advice actually, uh, made my. Its a lifechanging. So I initially, after stayed away from my school. Um, I joined the firm just to understand, you know, things. This was a learning process as an assistant in a chartered account much before I could enroll. Uh, for this charter course, uh, gradually, yes, my actually liking tools, mathematics, uh, actually given me this career.

And I started liking accounting and learned trial balances and things like [00:06:00] that. And eventually, uh, joined this. And yes, as Paul said, this is history. You know, you're working at the chartered account in almost 30 years. 

Hannah Robinson: And to give listeners a little more of an idea about you as people and what makes you tick, we thought we'd ask an icebreaker question, a pretty generic one at that if you don't mind, humoring us. So if you could have dinner with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be and why? 

Ganesh Ramaswamy: I would certainly like to have actually dinner with someone who is alive because I'll have someone just on the opposite side. I mean, on the, on the opposite side of the table. I think there is one person who impresses me a lot, and that is actually Sunil Ker, who was a very noted, uh, Indian, uh, you know, cricketer and Sunil Kabaka was all about, you know, fearless backing and it's still one of the most celebr in a cricketer that India's ever produced.

Sunil GABA was one who taught India how to execute a pool or a hook plot against the fast border in cricket. [00:07:00] Sunil GABAs was the first cricket in the world to score more than 10,000 runs in test cricket, and uh, um, and also was the first one to score more than 30 centuries in test cricket. But, uh, all these are not the, uh, you know, facts, which I like.

Sun. I mean, I really like him because, When there was a discussion regarding his retirement from first class cricket, he said that it is always better to retire when people start asking why, or rather than why not. I still hope this is one of the greatest lessons that I have learned in my life, and that's one of the reasons I want to, uh, basically sit with him across a dinner table and spend more time with them.

And when interpreneurs think of retirement or selling their business, I have been advising a lot of interpreneurs based on what Kska had said, stating that they should exit at their peak and not when the down slide starts. This will be the highest, uh, they will be getting the highest value when they are exiting at the peak.[00:08:00] 

So this is the reason why I want to spend some more time with Serial and learn something more from you. 

Paul Tan: Um, again, I'll take a lead immediately from Ganesh's sharing. Uh, I like the fact that one should not over oversee one's welcome or put it another way. Uh, one should exit when one is at its peak.

Um, that relates to succession planning, uh, for me, who I would like to have dinner with. Uh, unfortunately. This person is now long gone. He is our lead. Mr. Lee , our former Prime Minister of Singapore, uh, without whom tiny Singapore and Singaporeans without any natural resources. Uh, being kicked out of the [00:09:00] Malaysia Federation back in 1965, uh, would not definitely be where we are today.

Uh, and it's all mainly due, not only due or not exclusively due, but definitely mainly may lead you to this man, Mr. Le. One of the longest servings prime minister in the world, certainly the longest serving Prime Minister in Singapore. Uh, I would really like to ask him how he developed his tenacity and his foresights.

He is now, uh, every big event that's happening in Singapore and in the world. Codeable codes, his, uh, YouTube videos gets circulated and he has since died, uh, in 2015, some seven years old. And yet his words and wisdom gifts on, Yeah, I mean, uh, [00:10:00] definitely, uh, the one who actually have learned a lot. From distance.

Mukesh Singh: Uh, I was, uh, not that fortunate enough cause I was trying to meet him also one time in the US but I could not succeed. Uh, the one and only one is Warren Buffet. Um, of course, I mean, uh, not only the investment lessons, you know, the life lessons. You know, I tired hard. Actually, I could not beat him. But then I remember actually his strategies.

You know, advising clients working for Investments. This was like very downward person. That is something which, you know, struck me hard and I adopted many things from his life, how is actually living styles, you know, working styles and eating habits and things like that. I remember his actually model, which I would like to share, his six methods of investment in brief.

Um, like, you know how you, he [00:11:00] used to compound, you know, compounding method, which means to have a patience and wait for investment to multiply on its own, um, secret but approach. That's the fantastic actually approach of investment. Which is benefiting from the timber business. I mean, great potentials. So this gives you like some understanding about your life.

Also, circle of competence. I mean, you should work with people who actually really have those, uh, competence within. Uh, moods approach. I mean, that's classic to maintain competitive age over this competitors, and you should be focused, right? Your jobs, you know? And lastly, the flow making your funds work for new until it's, it is paid.

So it's not about like how is dealing with the investments per se, but you know, it's like you can adopt these principles in your. All your life, you know, they talking to your clients, talking infant to your families. [00:12:00] So this shapes up your career. So definitely I'm really a big fan of Warren Burford and one, I'm sure he going live for a longer couple of years.

I would definitely going to meet him, actually. That's my goal, actually, my ambition. 

Hannah Robinson: So onto a meatier topic now, which is that of the report Kreston Global has very recently released and the findings of their global business culture research it contains, are there any stats or results in there that surprised you at all or stood out against your own personal experience as an interpreneur?

Paul Tan: Okay. Um, one of the things that, uh, stood out very. Surprising for me, I would say. Ok, it's the findings. China and India. My colleagues from India here, uh, ish, as well as Mukesh, which have the largest, literally the largest home markets by far. The third largest [00:13:00] home market, or at least by population, is, is, is America.

And they, they are, uh, still by far in, in terms of population. Uh, China and and India are the largest, uh, more than a billion. With the most interpreneurial, I find that little bit surprising because I would've guessed as a businessman personally, I would be looking, uh, one of my main objective or the top par in going, uh, global and international would be the sick, bigger markets that.

Yet the findings is that China and India, we have the highest and largest, uh, home markets were the most interpreneurial. However, uh, upon further reading, uh, and understandably this time, the Chinese were not as excited about expanding their [00:14:00] market size, but rather expanding their options in manufacturing and supply chain opportunities.

Uh, and, and they are particularly the Chinese, are particularly interested, uh, and, and positioning themselves in, uh, other countries and countries with strong government incentives. Uh, that's, that's what I wanted to share. Uh, so actually Helen, I agree with what, with what, uh, was said by Paul that basically China and India, the most happening places, not only in Asia, but all over the world.

Now, if you look at what's really happening globally is that, uh, there are, there are four countries basically China, India, Canada, as well as in Japan, whose economies that among the world stop. China is ranked number second, uh, in Japan is third. India is fifth, as well as Canada is 10th respectively in the world order.

Which reflects the fact that the majority [00:15:00] of the GDP is now generated outside the USA and Europe. So this is actually the global trend that is, uh, that has started now and the trend is set to continue. If you look at what the economist are saying on the world, it says that most of the businesses would now move out of Europe as well as, you know, the us.

and, uh, there are so many other countries who are also waiting to grab their, you know, high share on the gdp, uh, the, you know, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, or all countries with implicit performance or the GDP fund. Now in interpreneurs, uh, you know, get an understanding of, uh, the medias business management practices that have been followed around the world because they're connected with, uh, buyers supply chain around the world to, uh, enlarge their business.

And they're also ready to take their businesses on a global scale. Now, the white paper, which, uh, you have brought out, uh, has, uh, has been prepared well, and I feel that [00:16:00] it'll be of in tremendous help and assistance to interpreneurs and also to other stakeholders like basically service providers, uh, who are also being part of the sign.

International businesses deals with multinational enterprises, their governance strategies and management. Then their relationships with governments and their role in globalization and localization of the economic activities. So with more and more interpreneurs getting involved in some sort of international activity or other business deals, uh, are happening, uh, you know, basically with certain complex issues which are related to global business.

And the white paper is certainly a, you know, a very good document, which will help a lot of stakeholders, as I said earlier, especially the interpreneurs, to look into certain aspects as to how they will have to adjust themselves to the global world order, which is changing drastically. 

Ganesh Ramaswamy: Um, I agree. Uh, with Paul and , uh, overall the [00:17:00] findings referred in the white paper all are good and actually gives a lot of actually guiding factors to newly interpreneurs who wish to become the interpreneurs.

So the highlights are some eyeing facts about holding the inter interpreneur back on Accounted Limited Capital and Lake of Family with the local issues. That is something which, uh, from the point of view has to be looked into because, you know, because so many things have changed recently, which helped, uh, interpreneur to actually seek some capital.

Mukesh Singh: Um, The, uh, finding that India and Chinese interpreneurs are leading the international expansion for us is no surprise because as, uh, we understand that, you know, we have majority of interpreneurs locally, which has actually expanded globally, uh, based [00:18:00] on. Capacity, their knowledge, and they have great credentials and capability, uh, which can be established in overseas market.

And of course that's not a surprise for us. Um, also the ratio of young and women. interpreneur is highest compared with the men and the older generation collaborates with the current changing environment. Uh, of course we have lot of working, uh, first, which are young. I would think that, and womens are also being given a lot of priorities.

You know, they're leading at the firm, so that also not a surprise. We feel that the I mindsets is also being to identify new markets for exploring business opportunities, developing capabilities, adopting new technology for scaling the business. Taking a calculated risk and being mindful of the fact that exploring [00:19:00] the new markets in different areas would be challenging.

So there are certain things which is being brought out very good in the findings, which definitely collaborates with our thoughts. 

Hannah Robinson: Following on nicely from that, was there anything about your own region in particular that you found surprising in the findings? 

Ganesh Ramaswamy: Um, for us actually from the Indian region, the most surprising for Indian enterprises, limited capital with local issues holding all the back.

I'll tell you why, because this is what our thoughts are. And basically when we discuss with interpreneurs of India, uh, the ability of capital is not a challenge for good business. Since many startup companies are being funded for ex expansion internationally, all Indian interpreneurs are being funded.

Startups are the key. The matter of rating any business in [00:20:00] India is similar to the business rated internationally. The how We have credit scoring, credit rating, I mean, we follow the same methods in India. So interpreneurs are used to maintaining their capability. As for that, you know, and more. For a good business concept with acceptable credit scores, the challenge would be limited to getting far.

So this, this finding was kinda most surprising for us. You know, I would add few things into it. Like, you know, we do speak good English. We adopt the diverse culture and customer behavior. The tax laws in India have also evolved and now comparable with the Indian International Tax laws. Indian interpreneurs are also able to understand and comprehend the international tax laws.

So I think where we say that for specifically India and China, I would think, uh, the limitation of, uh, getting funded internationally, [00:21:00] I would think that was little surprise for us. Well, uh, I also agree with location on the India part because, uh, India is blessed with several comparative, uh, you know, advantages.

It's got a huge middle class population, very low labor rates in the world, which ranges from actually one US dollar to 1.5 US dollar per a range, which you can find nowhere else in the world today around, uh, nearly 315 million people with basic, uh, English speaking ability makes it, uh, the largest English speaking in a population in the world.

Uh, it's got a very, uh, long history of, uh, you know, international commerce. I mean, it's got, uh, you know, fantastic climate abandon sunshine, abandon rain, uh, and uh, it's got basically millions of people who facilitate the flow of ideas, you know, technology, then business opportunities, and as que said, investment capital and, [00:22:00] uh, has created a huge reputation for India with the rest of the world.

Now, if you look at the world order as to what's currently happening or the GDP front, there are three countries basically, you know, the us, China, and India, who basically account for 40% of the world's, uh, you know, GDP as well as the population. So when we use the world banks in purchasing power, ity theory, ppp, exchange rate theory, India has the third largest G GDP in the.

So interpreneurship in India looks, uh, you know, really lucrative with every passing day. It is coming up with more and more possibilities. The growth in the international business sector is more than 7% annually in India. And the, you know, the good performance of the stock market in India has gathered all the more attention in the world.

India definitely stands as an opportunity, uh, in place to explore business possibilities with its, uh, high skill, [00:23:00] demand power and budding middle classic, which, 

Paul Tan: Um, the biggest surprise, I'm quite hesitant in one thing to vocalize my, uh, opinion or view on this, uh, because no matter how am I'm gonna put it, it's gonna sound probably politically incorrect.

So let me go a little bit round the bush. By saying, uh, I'm quite into sustainability, uh, especially the s rather than the E, which is, uh, the economy, the economy climate, the climate change, uh, which I think is very important, but may have been overplayed. Uh, the s the social, and in terms of social, uh, I'm very into.

Uh, the dei, which is the diversity, the equity, as well as the inclusion. [00:24:00] Um, and in, and in this aspect, this very specific aspect, the world over in particular, again, Singapore, we have been promoting and encouraging, uh, gender diversity, gender inclusion, especially at the board of directors. Uh, why? Well, again, it's my own opinion.

Uh, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Uh, and, and because of that, uh, whenever the men were to be a bit too aggressive in their business strategy, the women who are a little bit more conservative might, uh, pull the men back and say, What? Uh, in that context, I wanna say that the white people, one of the [00:25:00] biggest surprises that I, that stood for me was I'm pleasantly surprised that women are to expand their business globally.

Women are equally very interpreneurial, albeit. For, uh, slightly different reasons actually. And, and rightly so. The reasons being, uh, they would only be very comfortable in, uh, going overseas, expanding their market overseas and business overseas if they have quite personal overseas network, uh, and friends who have done so.

That that's, that's one of the biggest surprises. That came to me. 

Mukesh Singh: Uh, this is, uh, I would not, uh, completely surprise because, you know, in India now things have [00:26:00] changed drastically. And, uh, woman empowerment is something which is being talked about, respected. And you know, I see a lot of actually women interpreneurs, uh, actually eyeing.

Uh, to become, uh, international interveners. So, Yes, women are actually highly educated now. I mean, there are some pockets in India where, you know, you may find some women are not that educated, but their skills are very high. I mean, they would actually take a leap, you know, and uh, and try to dare to do some businesses locally and the appreciate are quite high.

Let me tell you my experience working internationally, uh, specifically in Europe and us. I mean, I see a lot of power. I mean, across, across the globe, coming and doing some business. Um, they've been recognized [00:27:00] very highly actually, and we have good names sitting in the board and your structure of highly competi.

Industry and companies. So I mean, yes, I would think that womens are given some priorities and they're taking need. Well, I agree with what Ish was saying is that, Actually women power, even in certain Indian, uh, you know, company law legislations, it has become mandatory that, uh, we need to have, you know, fulltime women directors on the boards of the company.

This has become a mandatory requirement and there is so many sos which are given from the given for women interpreneurs in terms of soft loans, uh, subsidies from the government for starting businesses. So basically the government and, uh, I mean the whole world in general. Uh, have become to recognize the importance of having women in their, uh, you know, organizations.

And, uh, I would not be boasting. But at the same time, it's a fact that in our own firm we have more number of women rather than men [00:28:00] working. So I think women , so women out, number men, I mean, women are around, uh, I think almost 65 to 70% in our firm. And, uh, so that itself is a proof that, you know, women are basically becoming top performers globally, including.

Hannah Robinson: And I think that's a great place to close for today. But part two will be released next Wednesday where we discuss with Mukesh, Ganesh, and Paul, their personal business experiences in more depth, as well as share some invaluable wisdom on how to make a success of going it alone in the accountancy world and what the interpreneurial mindset really means in practice.

If you'd like to read the report we've been discussing, then you'll find the link in this podcast description. We really do think it's an invaluable resource for those looking to expand or move their business overseas. So well worth read and join us all again next week to continue the conversation see you soon.

You won't want to miss it.[00:29:00] [00:30:00]