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26 January 2017

Africa has great potential: WATCH Eclectics consultant Sebi Salim at #afta16 #findaba16

"We believe there is a lot of potential in Africa and this is why we are investing heavily. Up to 60 percent of our solutions are USSD- and SMS-based, but as Internet access becomes cheaper and easier, we are increasing our investment in web and mobile banking apps. Through our partnership model, we sit down with banks and understand their requirements to produce customised solutions," said Sebi Salim, a consultant at Eclectics International, a Microsoft Africa Partner of the Year in 2016.

24 January 2017

Knowledge is power, says NCR CFO Ayanda Mafuleka

“Everything I do is informed by risk. At any given time, we try to manage risk – be it business, financial or other. The NCR’s approach is that it takes risk management very seriously,” says Ayanda Mafuleka, chief financial officer of the National Credit Regulator (NCR), which falls under the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). Ayanda’s role includes overseeing the financial health of the organisation and ensuring that it complies with all the financial management-related legislation, as well as overseeing supply chain management and information technology (IT). A firm believer in the value of education, Ayanda is currently doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Auditing and recently applied at Unisa for an LLB. “I’m passionate about legislation and compliance. I was made to be a lawyer.”

23 January 2017

Avoid market volatility pitfalls - use an FX expert

Unpredictable, wildly volatile foreign exchange market conditions seem to be established as the normal state of things in today’s economic and political turmoil. Many South African companies with significant import/export business are naturally exposed to FX market fluctuations, which frequently lead to unwelcome volatility in profits and earnings. With today’s emphasis on cost efficiency, companies are torn between budgeting the resources to put an effective FX exposure hedging programme into place or risking a substantial proportion of their revenue.

20 January 2017

5 corporate cybersecurity best practices

The cybersecurity horizon looks bleak and is turning darker still with criminals preparing an onslaught on emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and driverless vehicles. In 2016, companies and individuals experienced over 90 million cyber attacks – 400 attacks every minute – and this number is expected to double this year. Over two-thirds of these go under the radar, but still wreak havoc. With this in mind, companies around the world are ramping up their security measures and the resources allocated to defending data are increasing dramatically.

19 January 2017

Global cybercrime costs set to double by 2021

Damage and data destruction, stolen money, lost productivity, embezzlement, and fraud… the costs resulting from cybercriminal activity is set to grow from $3 trillion to $6 trillion by 2021, according to the Cybersecurity Market Report. In early 2015, the British insurer Lloyd's estimated that cybercrime was costing businesses globally $400 billion annually — which included direct damage plus post-attack disruption to the normal course of business.

13 January 2017

London and Brussels build FinTech bridge

While other major European capitals play to Brexit fears in a bid to steal the UK's leading FinTech hub status, Belgium is taking a different approach by seeking to build a mutually supportive bridge between startups across both jurisdictions. A delegation led by Belgian finance minister Johan van Overtveldt recently crossed the channel to initiate talks with UK FinTech agency Innovate Finance on the establishment of a collaboration between the two communities and to announce the launch of a new Brussels-based hub to support financial technology startups.

12 January 2017

Expanded CFO Summits meet demand for learning

The role of the CFO is shifting beyond the traditional set of responsibilities. More and more financial executives are talking about the growing pressure on them to have a handle on a range of issues, from technology to people and strategy. This accelerating demand on finance professionals of all levels to evolve and add more value to their organisations is coupled with a rapidly increasing demand for quality peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities. CFO South Africa is in intent on meeting this demand through events, dinners and print and online content. One of these events is the CFO Summit, which brings together leading minds to interrogate pertinent topics and has been expanded to encompass three learning tracks this year. We spoke to CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen to find out more about the Summits.

12 January 2017

Blockchain will surprise you: WATCH BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff at #afta16 #findaba16

"There is a lot of hyperbole about blockchain right now: blockchain will change everything and become the beating heart of finance. Finance is a big thing for blockchain. Banks have a lot of interest in the potential for cross-border remittances, for instance. There are many other applications. Blockchain can replace letters of credit and be used for smart contracts. I think it is going to create new business models and surprise us," says BankyMoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff.

11 January 2017

Predictions 2017: What will shake up the world this year?

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the financial crisis, the banking sector remains out of kilter,” writes Peter Thal Larsen (pictured), Global Economics Editor, Reuters Breakingviews, in the introduction of this year’s Predictions 2017 e-book. Every year, Reuters publishes a series of predictions through its Breakingviews team. This year’s book is out, and boy is it a captivating read. What follows is an excerpt from Peter’s Introduction to the book.

11 January 2017

Thomson Reuters joins CFO Awards as sponsor

Multinational mass media and information firm Thomson Reuters is sponsoring the award for Finance Transformation at the CFO Awards 2017. In 2016, the accolade was scooped by ABI Finance Director Walter Leonhardt. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions, and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

10 January 2017

McDonald's sells controlling stake in China ops for $1.7 billion

McDonald’s has agreed to sell a controlling stake in its China and Hong Kong operations for a staggering $1.7 billion. According to a statement, the investors, Chinese state-backed conglomerate Citic, Citic Capital Holdings and US private-equity firm Carlyle Group LP will acquire an 80% holding in the deal. Under the agreement, Citic and Citic Capital Partners will jointly take a 52% stake, while Carlyle will hold 28%. Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s, will hold onto the remaining stake.

10 January 2017

OPIC pledges $5 million towards emerging market investments

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s Development Finance Institution has announced the financing of up to $5 million to support Unreasonable Capital Fund I. Unreasonable Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in scalable and profitable companies working to address social and environmental issues that improve the lives of people living in underserved communities across Latin America, India, Asia and Africa.

10 January 2017

Take the chances you are presented, says BAT CFO Wayne Beifus

When Wayne Beifus took up his current role as area head of finance at British American Tobacco (BAT) South Africa around nine months ago, it was the culmination of a two-decades-long journey that sent him around the world and had him working on four continents and in seven regional offices. Once again on home soil, Wayne brings all his cultural experience to bear on the local team, reconnecting with South Africa at the same time. In this exclusive interview, Wayne talks to us about navigating diverse workplace cultures and increased uncertainty in globalised business. “In general, South African employees want to be empowered to operate within their own space but they are sometimes apprehensive to take the space. When I started to give permission to the team to make the calls, we saw quick results.”

09 January 2017

Futurist Craig Wing: Forces to watch out for in 2017

With the festivities of the new year now passed, we tend to reflect on the madness that was 2016. Undoubtedly, globally we will remember BREXIT and the election of President Trump as arguably two of the most “shocking” global events; events which left many of the “experts” reeling after their failed predictions. Herein lies my predicament of writing this piece on the future of 2017: predictions, much like soothsaying, are never an accurate science. Rather, guesstimates of what will come by looking at the underlying cause versus – what has become – a very sexy view of trends. The future is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance. As such, what follows isn’t a set of predictions but what I expect will be three of the prevailing underlying forces; some may be seen and apparent, some will be unseen, with the “so what” repercussions felt way beyond 2017.

05 January 2017

Age of radical uncertainty: WATCH business expert Terry Moore at #findaba16

Business expert Terry Moore examined the historical basis for what he called "an age of radical uncertainty" and provided advice for attendees on surviving a rapidly changing environment and disruption during a presentation at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016. While bemoaning the fact that risk had been passed onto employees, he also presented opportunities for financial executives and businesses in the seeming chaos.

04 January 2017

How CIMA supports success

The world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a partner at the Finance Indaba 2017. CIMA's qualifications comprise a unique blend of management accounting, financial accounting and business-focused subjects to produce graduates capable of leading from the front. The local chapter is headed by Zahra Cassim (pictured). We asked the organisation about its alternative qualifications and undergraduate support initiatives.

29 December 2016

The future of banking is now: WATCH FNB CIO Peter Alkema at #afta16 #findaba16

FNB has long been lauded as the most progressive of South Africa's big four banks and it has received global recognition of its innovative and digitisation initiatives. The bank added another award to its bulging trophy cabinet at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, beating Absa and Standard Bank to the honours in the Incumbent Bank category. But while FNB may have enjoyed much success over the past few years, according to CIO Peter Alkema, it is certainly not resting on its laurels.

28 December 2016

Sarb imposes administrative sanctions on two banks

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) has imposed administrative sanctions on Société Générale Johannesburg Branch (Société Générale) and Absa Bank Limited (Absa), directing the two banks to take remedial action. This was after the SARB conducted inspections in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FIC Act) and found weaknesses in the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism control measures of both entities.

27 December 2016

You need to be a creative thinker, innovative and flexible, says Jabulani Dlamuka, uShaka CFO

In the two years since he has been at the helm of the finance department, uShaka Marine World chief financial officer Jabulani Dlamuka has increased revenue by 20% and cut costs by 5% overall. He has implemented various new strategies and systems, and changed governance structures to make the department more efficient. To do all of this and keep the tourism entity successful, he’s had to be on his toes. “You cannot be relaxed. You need to be a creative thinker, innovative and flexible. At the same time, you need to understand the market you’re operating in. The industry is quite flexible, so if you’re not increasing your pace you’ll get left behind.”

26 December 2016

The Coca-Cola Company and AB InBev reach $3.15 billion deal

The Coca-Cola Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) have reached an agreement regarding the transition of AB InBev’s 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) for $3.15 billion, after customary adjustments. In addition, the companies have reached an agreement in principle for The Coca-Cola Company to acquire AB InBev’s interest in bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount.

22 December 2016

Be a productivity ninja: join Think Productive's two-day course

Increasing productivity and dealing with stress and procrastination to work smarter and faster is the first port of call when it comes to transforming lagging enterprises. At the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Think Productive director of Western Europe and leading productivity trainer, Marcel van den Berg presented a host of tips and tricks that will turn anyone from mild-mannered office worker a into a productivity ninja.

21 December 2016

SNG joins 2017 CFO awards as sponsor

Accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) has once again thrown its weight behind the CFO Awards by once again sponsoring the award for Compliance and Governance, which was won by ABI Finance Director Walter Leonhardt in 2016. The annual 'Oscars for South African CFOs', to be held on 11 May, recognises CFOs of listed companies, large corporations, state-owned entities and government institutions and awards them for outstanding performance and leadership.

20 December 2016

Uber's Ebi Atawodi: "Collaboration in the African tech space is practically impossible`

Africa is a continent of over one billion people, 54 countries, vast land mass and a multitude of languages, customs and cultures. Panelists at the Africa Technology Summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology earlier this month agreed that Africa's diverse markets and the need to adapt to individual circumstances remain a stern challenge for tech startups looking to expand across the continent.

20 December 2016

Don't think risk, think business, says Ryan McDougall, Group FD Trustco Group Holdings

Ryan McDougall, Group financial director of Trustco Group Holdings, was almost lost to the financial world as he came close to pursuing a career in paleontology. Having recently announced he will be leaving Trustco and Namibia to return home to South Africa and take up a position as CFO of MyBucks from January 2017, we caught up with Ryan to chat about his time at Trustco. “I will really miss Trustco. The people create a unique atmosphere of energy and confidence, which other mid-sized companies seem to lack. There is something intangible and exciting about an organisation of this size which can respond rapidly and dynamically to shifting strategies and market trends.”

19 December 2016

There's still room for improvement in transformation, says CFO of Chancellor House Holdings (CHH), Seithati Bolipombo

The matter of diversity and transformation in the workplace is topical and can, at times, be somewhat controversial. Roy Clark penned a broad and insightful guest article about transformation in CFO Magazine. As part of this, we asked Seithati Bolipombo, an inspiring young CFO, to share her thoughts on the topic. “Transformation won’t happen by osmosis or natural selection because at its core, it is a people thing. It comes down to people and behaviour and the decisions that people make,” she said.

15 December 2016

Towards global wealth creation: WATCH Wealth Migrate's Scott Picken at #afta16 #findaba16

While many startups have the long-term aim of going global, real estate investment firm Wealth Migrate already boasts a presence on five continents with investors in 84 cities on its globally compliant platform. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Wealth Migrate CEO Scott Picken explained how his company aimed to solve one of the world's most pressing challenges: bridging the global wealth gap. While 49% of the world's wealth is held in real estate, only 12,9% actually have access to property and less than 1% retire wealthy, according to Scott.

14 December 2016

Crazy! FOUR different owners for award-winning finance boss

It has been a tumultuous year for Walter Leonhardt, the award-winning finance director of the company that bottles and distributes Coca-Cola and many other popular drinks. When he won two of the most coveted prizes at the 2016 CFO Awards he worked for Coca-Cola bottler ABI. Since then, ownership has changed from SABMiller to AB Inbev, with The Coca-Cola Company itself soon becoming the third majority owner – with a sale to a fourth party on the cards.

13 December 2016

EPPF CFO Nopasika Lila's road to success - in her own words

“Growing up, I remember being told that accounting was a difficult field and that those who were studying to become CAs were considered to be part of the elite,” writes Nopasika Lila, CFO of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF), in this self-penned piece. “I was initially overwhelmed by the task at hand, but over time I elegantly succeeded. My confidence grew and I’ve learned to be a lot more decisive, deliberate and immediate in my actions.” In this guest article, Nopasika reveals how she charted her path to success, talks about her love for the piano, and shares some crucial lessons about mentoring and people management.

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