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Your source for the latest news, expert insights and interviews.

06 April 2017

What are the implications of a `junk status` downgrade?

The downgrade of SA’s sovereign credit rating to junk status after the Zuma administration’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle on 31 March has plunged the country into anxiety and depression. The rand and government bonds fell sharply after the S&P and now Fitch agencies took the step in a reaction to what they see as risks to fiscal policy and political uncertainty. But what does the downgrade mean for financial executives and South Africans in general?

04 April 2017

Experience things outside your comfort zone, says Monash South Africa's Alvin Liew

Alvin Liew, Acting CFO of Monash South Africa, grew up and was educated in Malaysia, completing his articles in Australia. He came to South Africa on an assignment with Laureate Education, the largest private network of higher education providers in the world, which has a global network of more than 70 higher education institutions in 25 countries. Monash South Africa is the first partnership that Laureate Education has embarked on in Sub-Saharan Africa. “South Africa is a great country. It has its quirks and eccentricities, but I enjoy this,” he says. Alvin has worked for Monash South Africa for three years and says that when it comes to reaching economic transformation goals, nothing can have as big an impact as education: “I believe the greatest enabler of economic transformation is education – no other factors come close to the importance of education when it comes to radically transforming a country.”

31 March 2017

KPMG and MacRobert Attorneys form tax dispute resolution alliance

The state of South Africa’s economy and more ambitious tax revenue targets, together with uncertainty on various tax principles and policy matters, has led to an increase in tax dispute matters. Against this background, KPMG and MacRobert Attorneys have joined forces to create a Tax Dispute Resolution Alliance. There is a shared vision between the two firms on how to help clients on dispute resolution matters without adopting aggressive and expensive tax litigation practices.

30 March 2017

5 more Excel tips for accountants

As a tried and trusted resource for financial executives that can be seen on computer screens in virtually every corporate office, becoming an Excel super-user is a great career move for any accountant. The spreadsheet is always expanding and reams of text have been devoted to excelling with Excel. The number of shortcuts and ways to increase your savvy are expanding all the time and there is a big difference between intermediate and advanced knowledge of the program. Here are five more Excel tips for accountants.

29 March 2017

Gloomy Sun International scraps dividend

Gaming and hospitality behemoth Sun International’s headline earnings per share fell to 223 cents per share for the six months to December 2016, from 344 cents in the comparable year and a sluggish economy, foreign exchange hits and settlement charges saw a 35% drop in full-year-profit. The group grew revenue 31% to R7.7-billion, with the strong growth attributable to the inclusion of its Latin American Dreams SA and GPI Slots’ operations for the full period.

28 March 2017

Good CFOs know their strengths, says Damain Matroos, SacOil CFO

“We need to be careful that we don’t make the mistake when going into the rest of Africa of thinking that we have better skills and expertise than others on the continent. This superiority complex will set us up for failure. The fundamental thing is, if you try to exploit the other African jurisdictions to the benefit of South Africa, you’ll come unstuck,” says Damain Matroos, CFO of SacOil, a South African-based independent African oil and gas company. We chatted to Damain about the challenges he faces as a CFO in the oil and gas sector, what opportunities exist, and what it’s like to do business in Africa.

27 March 2017

Reduce people cost through crowdsourcing, says Google's Terrence Taylor

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of crowdsourcing is its potential to disrupt the current cost structure that supports talent management. Crowdsourcing makes sense when thinking about the perennial constraint that businesses face: costs. Cost containment remains a priority, and with people costs (including salary, training, perks, etc) accounting for close to or over 60 percent of the cost structure of most companies, crowdsourcing offers the potential to greatly reducing this expenditure.

23 March 2017

Why artificial intelligence won't spell the end for accountants

Accountants across the globe, like their colleagues in many other professions, may feel a tad insecure at the moment, as disruptive technologies and automation continue to make disciplines obsolete and shape the way we work. These technologies are no longer confined to manufacturing, but are beginning to redefine the knowledge economy as well. Machine learning, mobile and automated workflow solutions are having a huge transformative effect on the accounting landscape.

23 March 2017

The king of governance: WATCH Prof Mervyn King at #findaba16

Professor Mervyn King is recognised internationally as an expert on corporate governance and sustainability and is in great demand as an arbitrator and mediator. He is a founding member of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa and for some eight years was the South African judge at the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris. He has acted as an Inspector of Companies and a Commissioner of Inquiries into the affairs of companies. He has chaired many meetings for the compromise of creditors of companies and the rearrangement of shareholders’ interests and lectured on corporate issues in 38 countries.

22 March 2017

South African businesses are not agile, say executives

“In an age where digitisation, robotics and AI are wreaking havoc with traditional business models, it is easy for executives to focus on superior technology as the solution to ensuring the competitiveness of their organisations and to overlook the human element,” said Ilya Bonic (pictured), President of Mercer’s Career business. Growth rests on engaging and empowering today’s workforce in ways that we are just beginning to uncover, Bonic added. “It takes employees armed with the right skills and opportunities to develop innovative solutions to advance the business and themselves.”

22 March 2017

Nkonki to sponsor 2017 Young CFO of the Year

“We are delighted to be associated with CFO SA. This forum provides a critical support mechanism for South African CFOs, where they can access best practice, share information with their peers and be showcased for their contributions,” says Mitesh Patel, Managing Director of Nkonki, a 100-percent black-owned audit and advisory firm and the sponsors of this year’s ‘Young CFO of the Year’ Award. We caught up with Mitesh for a quick chat.

22 March 2017

Finance can be funny - comic Nik Rabinowitz to emcee CFO Awards

Capetonian Nik Rabinowitz is one of the country’s most well-known stand-up comedians and is renowned for his cutting wit. International appearances include Australia, Canada, Holland, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Zimbabwe. He’s been a guest on BBC 2’s Mock the Week, performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and intentionally driven on the wrong side of the road in Nigeria. We spoke to him about finance, comedy and his appearance as emcee at the CFO Awards 2017.

21 March 2017

Mena region set for FinTech boom

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) is set to experience a boom in fintech innovation over the next three years, propelled by a large unbanked population, VC inflows and the rapid emergence of a host of new startups, according to a state of the nation report prepared by local payment services outfit Payfort and entrepreneurial platform Wamda. According to the report, the number of startups in Mena’s FinTech ecosystem doubled from 46 to 105 over the three years 2013 to 2015 and the region could see a total of 250 FinTech startups launch by the year 2020.

17 March 2017

Remgro suffers faltering Mediclinic investment

Investment holding group Remgro reported a 15% decline in intrinsic net asset value per share to R257.79 for the six months to December 2016 on the back of a 38,7% drop in the market value of its Mediclinic stake. The London-listed business represents its single biggest investment. The underperforming Middle East division was impacted by a number of operational and regulatory factors, including the new insurance co-payment requirements, doctor vacancies and delayed facility openings.

16 March 2017

SA's first online credit facility: WATCH Mobicred CEO Geraldine Anderson at #afta16 #findaba16

Mobicred is a simple and convenient credit facility that allows you to safely shop online with participating retailers. It charges interest rates comparable to those of credit card providers and only levies monthly fees while the account is used. When a buyer – who first undergoes a simple online registration process with Mobicred – pays using the facility, the seller will immediately receive the full amount, without the risk of payment reversals.

15 March 2017

Real empowerment remains elusive, says IRBA's top brass

“More focus should be given to long-term career prospects, including equity partnerships and senior management and executive responsibility. Transformation is not about the de-racialisation of the overall profession; it is about financial inclusion, ownership and access to markets and opportunity,” says Bernard Agulhas (pictured), CEO of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA). In Agulhas’s opinion, transformation must move beyond numbers and begin to truly empower black accountants and black-owned auditing firms. This includes providing equal opportunities to access the audit market, he says.

14 March 2017

The CFO must be a voice of reason in the boardroom, says Frencel Gillion, CFO of KTH

“What makes me able to do this job is a strong understanding of the business, its operations and risk, as well as fundamentally accepting the need to grow the business,” says Frencel Gillion, CFO of Kagiso Tiso Holdings (KTH). “I think a CFO should have a strong grasp of the numbers but also be able to intuit what is happening within the business and be able to communicate this to the stakeholders through the financials. It’s not just about regurgitating numbers.”

13 March 2017

Will crowdsourcing make talent management obsolete, asks Google's Terrence Taylor?

Crowdsourcing promises to make scarce and critical skills available cost effectively, perhaps close to 90 percent cheaper, and disruptively. Yet most companies currently rely on talent management – a human resource function that has been around for over half a century but whose tools and techniques has changed little during its existence – to identify, attract, develop and keep talented people who have these sought after scarce and critical skills. The question is: will crowdsourcing make talent management obsolete?

09 March 2017

BREAKING NEWS! Deloitte supports South African CFO community

Great news for CFOs that want to boost their knowledge, network and career in 2017: professional services firm Deloitte will be the principal partner at the 2017 CFO Awards and will also be throwing its weight behind a number of learning sessions during CFO Summits for both the private as the public sector. Their experts and specialists will also be on hand to provide insight and challenge assumptions through publications in CFO Magazine and on this website.

09 March 2017

Women get the best out of staff: CHRO SA meets Servest's Noma Nyembo

Nomakuze Mguqulwa-Nyembo, group HR director at Servest South Africa, is passionate about issues concerning women in leadership, especially with regard to creating a culture that allows women rise to senior positions within their organisations, and stay there, without having to emulate the leadership styles or characteristics of their male counterparts. In fact, the natural traits of women, such as their propensity to empathise and nurture, gives them an upper hand in being able to grow people, motivate them and, therefore get the best out of employees.

09 March 2017

Shaping the culture: CHRO SA meets Openserve HR managing exec Kgomotso Molobye

Before coming to Openserve to become the managing executive of HR, Kgomotso Molobye (pictured on the right) worked predominantly in the mining and oil & gas industries, having been at AngloGold Ashanti and within the mining division at Sasol. Her current role appealed to her because of the opportunity to create a HR legacy in what was a new and free-standing entity within Telkom. Among other things, Openserve builds the infrastructure required to deliver quality broadband and fibre services, and has been key to the Telkom journey of growth and connecting South Africans by delivering access to broadband and connectivity services to service providers.

09 March 2017

Simplifying online payments: WATCH Cubebucks CEO Jan MacKay at #afta16 #findaba16

Cubebucks is a virtual currency developed on blockchain technology that fixes the value of the qb digital currency to value in your local market against the price fix of gold on the London Metal Exchange against the dollar. The FinTech firm seeks to balance accounts in a combination of bank currencies, Bitcoin and gold reserves, that will secure the exchange ability of Cubebucks for Bitcoin or Vanilla currency value.

08 March 2017

Catch up with the cloud - CFO Summit

Like the advent of the personal computer and the world wide web before it, cloud computing – Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand – holds the power to have far-reaching effects on companies and employee productivity. In a world in which disruption seems to be a constant and change occurs at breakneck pace, can organisations ignore the business benefits of the cloud, which include increased productivity, IT flexibility, and performance improvement?

03 March 2017

Vodacom's Matimba Mbungela invites all HR directors to exclusive CHRO SA launch

Unlike most human resource practitioners who unexpectedly stumble into their careers, Vodacom's Chief Human Resources Officer Matimba Mbungela has had his heart set on HR since the beginning of his working life. As soon as he graduated with a Bachelor of Administration degree in 1990, he began his HR career at the department of Department of Agriculture & Forestry. From then on he moved to Mondi, Unilever, BMW SA and, in 2004 he joined Vodacom as the Group Executive for Talent, Learning and Development.

01 March 2017

Nkonki trainees achieve 92% pass rate on APC exam

Leading black-owned assurance and advisory services firm Nkonki has confirmed that it achieved a national pass rate of 92% for its candidates writing the second part of the Assessment Professional Competence (APC) exam, with its Sunninghill office achieving a pass rate of 100%. Both are considerably higher than the average national pass rate of 89% supplied by SAICA, according to whom 2,529 aspiring CAs sat for the APC in November 2016, of which 89% (2,247) passed. The firm attributes this success to the robust support it offers its trainees.

28 February 2017

Mauritius is an ideal FinTech location - Inter Pay Tech's Mark O' Sullivan

Mauritius-based payment solutions provider Inter Payments Tech will be one of the FinTechs pitching at the FinTech Africa Future of Payments event in Sandton, Johannesburg, on 14 March. Topics of discussion relevant to the exciting and expanding space on the evening will include the the death of credit cards and systems enabling digital currencies. We spoke to founder and CEO Mark O’ Sullivan to find out more about the company’s activities and involvement in the event.

28 February 2017

A balancing act: Shafeeq Abrahams, CFO of the NHBRC

As CFO for the National Homebuilders Registration Council (NHBRC), Shafeeq Abrahams has to juggle a lot of balls, and appease various stakeholders. Complicating matters, he says, is the fact that the entity has a public sector mandate: “The public sector mandate is about spending a budget against stated objectives. I think the psychology around budget allocation and spending is quite different where you’re a self-generating revenue entity and have to manage your sustainability and profits. And therefore, what you need to deliver has to happen in the confines of financial sustainability and efficiency. Being able to speak to these two sets of terminologies is a challenge because some of your stakeholders say, ‘You’ve got a budget, spend it’. But on the other end you have to look at operating profits, costs, operating effectiveness, and sustainability in the long run. In my role, I’ve had to shift thinking around these concepts.”

26 February 2017

Mind the ransomware disguised as spam

Last year, a huge amount of malicious spam was recorded. Of this, some 20% distributed ransomware Trojans – nasty little viruses which infect your computer and essentially hold it hostage until you pay a “ransom” to have everything released. According to Kaspersky, the most popular were mass spam mailings sent out to infect user computers using misleading headlines leveraging off popular global events, such as the Olympics, terrorism and lottery notifications.

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