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CA Sri Lanka inspires entrepreneurs and professionals in the south on how to navigate through challenges of the future

Amidst growing volatility and with the world transforming at a tremendous phase, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, the roles of professionals, entrepreneurs, and businesses have significantly evolved within a relatively short span.

While some businesses were quick to embrace agility and adapt to the new normal amidst other interconnected challenges, other businesses refused to change, which ultimately affected their bottom line despite enjoying decades of success.

To help professionals, entrepreneurs, and businesses survive and thrive during these unforeseeable times, and to help them understand how to navigate forward, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) organised its first-ever regional conference in Galle recently for the benefit of professionals, as well as business owners and entrepreneurs in the Southern region.

The thought provoking one day conference which concluded on a high note attracted a cross-section of participants ranging from small and medium business owners to entrepreneurs, as well as professionals from the accounting and non-accounting streams, who congregated at the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa for an eventful day of inspiration and motivation on "The Future" and how to navigate through the future.

The regional conference, which was the first of its kind in the Southern Province, was inaugurated by Mr. Sujeewa Rajapakse, Chairman of People’s Bank and People’s Leasing and Finance PLC and Mr. Dilith Jayaweera, Group Chairman of George Steuart & Co., Co-founder of Triad (Pvt) Ltd and Chairman of TV Derana, while Mr. Dulith Herath, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kapruka Holdings PLC delivered the keynote on "Vision - To Succeed in The Future."

Mr. Sanjaya Bandara, President of CA Sri Lanka, Mr. Saman Sri Lal, Chairman of the Inaugural Regional Conference Committee, Mr. Rajeev De Silva, Alternate Chairman of the Inaugural Regional Conference Committee, Ms. Jani Ganeshan, Chairperson of the Inaugural Galle Regional Conference Sub-Committee, Mr. Dhammika Lokuge, Alternate Chairman of the Inaugural Galle Regional Conference Sub-Committee, Ms. Nishani Perera, Chairperson of the Inaugural Galle Regional Conference Technical Committee and Ms. Dulani Fernando, Chief Executive Officer of CA Sri Lanka also graced the event with their presence.

Kicking off his speech with a quote from T.S. Eliot, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go," Mr. Sanjaya Bandara highlighted that it was immaterial whether a person was a corporate chairman, business owner, an entrepreneur, or a professional, but what matters is that they adapt and embrace agility if they are serious about moving forward and if they want to continue to be successful.

"Vision and leadership must go hand in hand if we are to move forward and the biggest mistake everyone does is being too comfortable as soon as they become successful,” Mr. Bandara said.

SMEs are considered the backbone of the economy, as it accounts for more than 75% of the total number of enterprises, providing 45% of the employment while contributing 52% to the GDP. Therefore, Mr. Bandara said that it is very accurate to identify SMEs as the driving force of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Mr. Saman Sri Lal highlighted that it was key for the business community to be firmly established in the present to be able to comprehend the future and be prepared for it. According to him, the decision to organise regional conferences can also contribute to shifting the concentrated economic growth of the country from the Western Province to other provinces and thereby promote equality in the economic body of the nation through SMEs.

Ms. Jani Ganeshan said that CA Sri Lanka has taken a new turn in its highly sought-after conference journey with the inauguration of its first-ever regional conference. "It has been an absolute honour to have been part of this major milestone in the history of CA Sri Lanka, where business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals in the southern region are given the opportunity to reach out to multiple business leaders within the comfort of their hometown," she said.

The highly interactive forum was further boosted with several technical sessions featuring some well-known experts in the field. The first session on "SME – Driver of The Future" featured Mr. Ranel T.