Associate Spotlight: AKSHAT PATEL
Finance Applications Manager, Akshat Patel
When the keyword in a company’s name is finance, financial foundations are imperative. Establishing and growing core financial systems at Toyota Industries Commercial Finance, Inc. (TICF) has been an intriguing endeavor for Akshat Patel, Finance Applications Manager, who has helped established and develop several key divisions during his tenure.
Before joining Toyota, Akshat worked in Schneider Electric’s treasury department, where he oversaw cash management. In this role he handled a variety of duties such as cash forecasting and consolidating accounts as Schneider Electric acquired new companies. That experience made him an ideal candidate for a new position at Toyota: he was responsible for starting the treasury management function from scratch when TICF became its own company in 2015.
“Nothing was set up when TICF spun off from Toyota Financial Services, except for a couple of bank accounts and excel-based cash forecasting models,” explained Akshat. “Normally, you join a company with established practices that you adopt. This opportunity offered me a chance to leave my own mark by creating those practices. It was exciting to establish all our overarching protocols, build policies, procedures, and desk guides.”
This opportunity offered me a chance to leave my own mark.”
Akshat spent two years implementing the treasury management function and was then invited to move to the capital markets group, another new department. A stint as Treasury Operations Manager followed, where he had his initial foray into a manager role and building a team. He landed his current role, Finance Applications Manager, due to this deep knowledge of treasury systems, combined with his curiosity for IT.
“Implementing systems is far different from using them,” he notes. “The finance teams all use different systems, so in this new role I would be able to help integrate the systems and save users from the time-consuming burden of troubleshooting. Just as they are subject matter experts in their finance roles, we’re the same in the IT world. We leverage our expertise so the finance teams can do their best work.”
Akshat feels fulfilled in his position and stresses that his coworkers are another reason he stays at TICF. In fact, Toyota’s “respect for people” is something he sees put into practice every day. While his skills would be in high demand elsewhere, he appreciates the dedication of his fellow associates and their commitment to the team. “If you call on someone for help, they will jump on it and help. Once you start developing those connections, it’s hard to think about going anywhere else.”
If you call on someone for help, they will jump on it and help. Once you start developing those connections, it’s hard to think about going anywhere else.”
While Akshat has had several role models, he cites Mary K. Trostmann-Tully, Chief Information Officer, and Mario Delfin, Director of Treasury and Financial Planning & Analysis, as two individuals who have been particularly influential in his movement to Finance Application Manager within TICF. He also remains inspired by Schneider Electric leader, Jim Danley, who played a formative role to develop and foster his career coming out of college. Danley spent hours working with him on the programming language SQL, which gave him the knowledge to smoothly move into his roles within IT department at TICF.
Today Akshat reaffirms this professional support by actively participating in TICF’s mentorship program, in which he is frequently sought after for his insight on how to move around the organization.
“I get to wear multiple hats and am exposed to new opportunities constantly,” he says. “I’m a big proponent of people moving around within an organization—it brings a lot of value to the organization and the teams because you already have the knowledge and are aware of the struggles of your former department, which fosters empathy as you aim to better support colleagues as you all work together.”
After a day spent with IT and numbers, Akshat likes to relax by watching action shows, though he admits he will tune in to whatever show his wife chooses. And he prizes an annual September visit to New York City, which has special meaning for the couple. It’s where they experienced a lot of early relationship moments, including their engagement. “We love the hustle and bustle of the city. We revisit old favorites and try something new each time, and this year we will be sharing it with our daughter.” he says.