In the business world, small and micro-sized businesses face significant challenges. With limited resources and often little knowledge of available services, these enterprises struggle with accounting, taxation, and advisory needs. Essential services include payroll and account management, bookkeeping, budgeting, and VAT. Additionally, software solutions have emerged as game-changers, streamlining processes and efficient management. However, a common pitfall for small businesses is paying for unnecessary features or discovering that desired capabilities exceed their budget. Moreover, analytics, often seen as a service for large corporations with dedicated teams, poses another obstacle.
Dr. Anjulika Salhan, a distinguished fintech entrepreneur and a two-time recipient of the English Women’s Award, tackles these challenges directly. She serves as the Founder, CEO, Managing Director, and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of System Holdings, a prominent financial technology (Fintech) company. Her company leverages cutting-edge technologies, including AI and NLP, to develop solutions that empower businesses of all sizes, making their operations more efficient and cost-effective. Her primary focus is simplifying people’s lives by enhancing functionality, ease of implementation, and affordability. In addition to her role at System Holdings, she is the founder and CEO of Xpert Technologies, a software development company, and the CEO of Salhan Accountants.
As a trained mathematician, Dr. Anjulika Salhan holds impressive credentials, including titles like Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), Chartered Mathematician, Chartered Scientist, and memberships in the European Mathematical Society and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
This narrative presents a detailed conversation with Dr. Anjulika Salhan to explore the various aspects of her exceptional leadership. She is a results-driven corporate leader who is reshaping the landscape for SMEs and making essential services accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes.
A Journey through the World of Mathematics and Technology
Dr. Anjulika reflects on her love for mathematics, stating, “Mathematics came naturally to me.” In a personal revelation, she mentions the profound influence of French mathematician Sophie Germain, who left a lasting legacy with her work, particularly in solving Fermat’s last theorem.
Dr. Anjulika earned her MSc in Mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) between 1989 and 1991. She secured the first position through a nationwide competitive entrance examination, receiving the National Board of Higher Mathematics Award for her performance. IIT-Delhi, India’s top technology institution provided a competitive environment that instilled in her the value of striving for excellence.
Before pursuing her master’s, she completed a BA Hons in Mathematics from the University of Delhi from 1986 to 1989. Her college, Miranda House, ranks among the top colleges of the University of Delhi. Upon completing her degree, Dr. Anjulika Salhan received the Silver Jubilee award (now known as the Golden Jubilee award), recognizing her as the best student across all subjects during her three-year program. She also earned the Thiagarajan award for exceptional performance in the first- and second-year examinations of the Mathematics Hons. Degree. In her third year, she organized an inter-college mathematics quiz competition at the university, an event still hosted by Miranda House, continuing a tradition.
Dr. Anjulika continued her academic journey by earning a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, her Ph.D. thesis being on the modeling and simulation of underwater explosions and their interaction with structures at the University of Brighton. She pursued two post-doctoral research projects from September 1996 to November 2000. Her first project focused on “A Numerical Method for flows with a Moving Contact Line,” while the second explored “The effect of a retarder on the early stages of hydration of tricalcium silicate.”
She also had the privilege of working on a groundbreaking mathematical project, an experimental approach to teaching mathematics. Collaborating with esteemed mathematicians like the late Prof. J.N. Kapur and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Dr. Anjulika authored a series of five mathematics books for primary school, which are still available on Flipkart. She also worked as a consultant for a software company, providing mathematics education in the Far East.
From December 1999 to 2009, Dr. Anjulika held the role of Senior Mathematician at Malvern Instruments, contributing her expertise to nearly all departments for almost a decade. During her tenure, she focused on developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies for high-precision instruments used in particle sizing. She also spearheaded the development and implementation of algorithms for automated imaging in advanced particle characterization, resulting in an automated static image analysis system that provides detailed descriptions of particulate materials’ morphological properties. This period saw Dr. Anjulika employing advanced mathematics to develop and implement state-of-the-art technology.
Driving Change in Accounting and Technology
Dr. Anjulika Salhan has been instrumental in advancing Salhan Accountants on the national stage. Her contributions include introducing new services and strategically using technology in service delivery and marketing.
In 2010, as part of an ambitious service expansion, she took on a unique challenge by providing specialized calculations for law firms in commercial law, especially in banking and lending. This required blending mathematics with complex commercial law. Dr. Anjulika created computer codes in MATLAB, drawing from the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Credit Law, to calculate the total cost of credit. These codes proved invaluable to many law firms. She also applied her mathematical skills to Tax Law, using these principles in various VAT cases, some of which went to the Tax Tribunal.
Reflecting on her achievements, Dr. Anjulika says, “I have been very fortunate to be able to save an innocent from being criminally convicted using my mathematical calculations where I worked with leading criminal barristers to assist them in their case.”
With a strong educational background and professional experience in the technology and finance sectors, Dr. Anjulika was determined to make technology accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. This drive led System Holdings to pioneer technology solutions for SMEs in the UK, offering affordability and competitive financial services. In her journey, she continues to bridge the gap between cutting-edge technology and accessible financial support for businesses of all sizes.
Nurturing Small Businesses with System Holdings
System Holdings Limited, led by Dr. Anjulika, was established in May 2015 with a clear mission: “To make it easy for SMEs to leverage the best fintech, cost-effectively – so their businesses become more efficient and sustainable.” In a crowded financial technology market, System Holdings (SH) stands out with its focus on people.
As experts in innovation and financial technology, SH concentrates on creating technology and providing financial services that meet the specific needs of SMEs. Their mission statement emphasizes their dedication to helping SMEs efficiently and affordably utilize top-notch fintech solutions, ultimately improving their operational efficiency and long-term viability.
What distinguishes System Holdings is its strong commitment to inclusivity. They believe that outstanding fintech should be accessible to everyone, not just in terms of functionality and support but also in pricing. This commitment drives their efforts to ensure that their offerings meet the needs of a wide range of businesses, regardless of their size.
System Holdings’ associated companies play crucial roles in fulfilling their mission:
Salhan Accountants: This branch of the System Holdings family specializes in offering a range of services, including payroll, account management, bookkeeping, budgeting, and VAT expertise. Their team understands the unique needs of businesses and provides support to ensure compliance with legal requirements, financial tracking, informed decision-making, and early tax planning opportunities.
Xpert Technologies: As a growing software suite, Xpert Technologies covers various essential functions such as invoicing, reporting, analytics, leave management, and more. Its seamless integration provides clients with a comprehensive set of tools, all at no cost to them.
In this way, Dr. Anjulika and her team at System Holdings are committed to helping small businesses thrive in a dynamic business landscape, ensuring they have the financial technology and support needed to build efficient and sustainable enterprises.
Dr. Anjulika’s Quest to Democratize Technology for Businesses
When asked about her prominent roles at her organization, Dr. Anjulika highlights the transformative potential of mathematics in solving real-world problems. She states, “Role of a Mathematician is not only limited to solving abstract problems or modeling real life solutions but to solve real life problems.” This approach has been central to her business journey, where problem-solving and careful thinking are essential. Dr. Anjulika has used her mathematical and algorithmic expertise to structure her business in a unique way, resulting in significant financial success, as evidenced by a high EBITA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Her achievements have earned her personal recognition and accolades for her business.
At the helm of System Holdings, Dr. Anjulika plays a crucial role, closely collaborating with Xpert Technologies and Salhan Accountants. Their shared focus is on seamlessly integrating technology into their services, with the core goal of ensuring affordability and accessibility. Their mission is to provide businesses with the best advice and software without imposing financial burdens.
Over the years, Dr. Anjulika has invested significant time and effort in creating efficient systems and innovative software solutions. This commitment has brought System Holdings into the spotlight, particularly for their ability to offer software licenses to SMEs alongside their accountancy services.
An illustrative success story in this endeavor involves a market trader they supported from the start. Through their guidance and services, this trader expanded their business, now selling 60,000 product lines worldwide on platforms like eBay and Amazon.
In the realm of analytics, typically reserved for large enterprises with dedicated teams, Dr. Anjulika has challenged the norm. She introduced a system that automates analytics using APIs and cloud-based technology, allowing her organization to offer this service at no cost to thousands of clients regularly. This innovation further demonstrates her commitment to making technology accessible and empowering businesses of all sizes.
Approach to Building a Dynamic Team
When asked about her approach to building an exceptional team and keeping her employees motivated, Dr. Anjulika offers a fresh perspective that distinguishes her from traditional management practices often found in MBA literature.
Dr. Anjulika believes that the foundation of a great team begins with attracting the right employees. Finding individuals who not only share your values but also understand the fundamental principles of your business is the first step in assembling a team of true collaborators.
In her vision, the differentiation is vital. Dr. Anjulika wants her team to recognize that their mission goes beyond conventional practices; they aim to bring change to their industry. With this shared vision, she finds that motivation goes beyond financial incentives. Employees become part of a team of “Changers,” united by a common purpose to disrupt the status quo and make a meaningful impact in their field.
Breaking Barriers for Women in Business
Dr. Anjulika believes that women naturally possess leadership abilities and can successfully establish and manage businesses. The focus, therefore, should not be on addressing gender disparities but on recognizing and unlocking their potential.
In her perspective, empowering women is not the solution. It is about encouraging them to realize their innate potential. Fostering gender equality begins by removing barriers, nurturing a can-do mindset, and providing the necessary support for women to cultivate their inner beliefs and thrive. Most importantly, it involves being a guiding presence whenever necessary. Dr. Anjulika Salhan strongly rejects the idea that any sector should be considered off-limits to women. Drawing from her background as a mathematician, she emphasizes that no woman will ever face obstacles in any organization under her leadership.
Balancing Health and High Performance
When asked about her secrets to maintaining peak performance while ensuring a harmonious work-life balance, Dr. Dr. Anjulika Salhan shares, “I maintain a healthy lifestyle. I make sure to exercise every day. I am a vegetarian and do not consume alcoholic drinks. I follow a strict routine, with consistent waking and sleeping times. I also prioritize spending time with my family, even though I have a busy work schedule.”