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08 December 2016

Postgraduate planning: WATCH Monash SA's Alvin Liew at #findaba16

With more than 120 000 South Africans planning to embark on a course of postgraduate study over the next 12 months, education remains a key driver of a successful career. At the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, Monash SA acting CFO Alvin Liew examined how to maximise the ROI on postgraduate study and use it to launch an international career, when to embark on a programme of study and how to invest in oneself, drawing on his own experiences.

07 December 2016

Finance Indaba 2017: Purple Group eager to build on success

“We have a completely different approach to financial services. We take what we do seriously, but not ourselves, so we have a lot of fun with our customers. Despite the fact that investment is a very serious discussion, it doesn’t need to be a boring and staid experience," says Charles Savage, CEO of Purple Group, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 on 12 and 13 October 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

02 December 2016

Christiaan Engelbrecht joins Ster-Kinekor as CFO

Christiaan Engelbrecht (pictured), who has worked previously for Vodacom, Deloitte UK and Deloitte, took on the role of CFO for Ster-Kinekor from 1 November. We caught up with him to find out how things are going. "If you ask how I feel about my appointment it is difficult to put into words how humbled I am to be considered for this role and how excited I am to co-create with and learn from everyone in Ster-Kinekor and Primedia.”

29 November 2016

Finance teams are a sounding board for decision-makers, says Philip Timberlake, CFO of Liberty Health

When he’s not hard at work heading up the finance team at Liberty Health, CFO Philip Timberlake can be found running along his favourite trails on Table Mountain, developing his “mental fortitude”. The key to being a successful CFO lies in communication, he says: “Within our economy of knowledge, ideas are currency. Of course, to understand, we need to listen, engage and be prepared to let go of our own ideas.”

24 November 2016

Solar for a new Africa: WATCH The Sun Exchange's Morwesi Ramonyai at #afta16 #findaba16

Africa has a huge untapped potential for solar power generation and initiatives that electrify businesses and impoverished communities could help the continent meet its economic development goals. At the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, The Sun Exchange CCO Morwesi Ramonyai talked about the revolutionary bitcoin-based investment scheme that is filling the gap between large-scale solar farms and solar-powered lamps and other items.

23 November 2016

Clean audit for Department of Social Development

The Department of Social Development, whose finance division is headed up by 2016 CFO Awards nominee Clifford Appel, has received a clean audit for the year 2015/2016. It was one of nine other national departments to achieve this hard-won feat. According to the auditor-general (AG), the number of auditees that received financially unqualified opinions with no findings (clean audits) increased overall from 122 in 2013-14 to 152 in 2015-16.

22 November 2016

Evan Tsatsarolakis, Taste Holdings' CFO, talks about the Starbucks and Domino's acquisitions

“We started a new business in Domino’s – our stores had only been open for a year before we started another new business with Starbucks. The food business was like a startup within a startup. At this point in time there are a lot of moving pieces,” says Evan Tsatsarolakis, Group CFO of Taste Holdings, and a CFO Awards 2016 nominee. He adds that while this brings its own complications and challenges, he is confident that future growth opportunities will be plentiful. We sat down with Evan to talk about the two acquisitions, his role as CFO and what it is about Taste Holdings – which began as a family-owned business but which is now a JSE-listed group operating eight brands within its Food and Luxury Goods divisions – that makes the company so successful.

21 November 2016

Ramaphosa believes NMW will help prevent ratings downgrade

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking yesterday at a press briefing at the National Economic and Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) offices, said that, in a bid to avoid a credit downgrade, he intends to highlight the findings of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) report when he meets with ratings agencies later this week, informing them of the “tremendous progress” made on labour stability issues. Ratings agencies Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch will make their announcements on the country’s credit rating in the next few weeks.

21 November 2016

Like giving birth! MiX Telematics CFO Megan Pydigadu about the NYSE listing

Three years ago, MiX Telematics decided their JSE listing was nice but that what would really boost the fleet and mobile asset management solutions firm was a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) listing. CFO Megan Pydigadu, nominated for the CFO Awards in both 2014 and 2015, describes the listing process as a roller coaster ride. In this exclusive article, Megan shares a number of important lessons for companies that are considering going to New York.

20 November 2016

ArcelorMittal South Africa, Barloworld and Nampak tops in integrated reporting

Leading black-owned assurance and advisory firm, Nkonki, on Friday announced the results of its sixth annual review of integrated reporting among the Top 100 JSE Listed Companies. The report, ‘Integrated Reporting – Raising the Bar’, assesses how the companies measure up in terms of applying the International Integrated Reporting Council’s (IIRC) Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework. ArcelorMittal South Africa, Barloworld and Nampak came out tops.

15 November 2016

The Woolworths watershed: Reeza Isaacs, CFO of the Year 2016

“Setting a target, being clear about it and measuring it are some of the key ingredients for my success,” says Reeza Isaacs, group finance director at Woolworths, who was elected CFO of the Year 2016 at the CFO Awards on 12 May. Reeza talks to us about his adventures in Australia, acquiring a new brand, his passion for transformation, and changing the mindset of the business to focus on balance sheet and return on capital.

14 November 2016

Invest in staff well-being for better business success - CFOs weigh in

Healthier companies outperform the market by as much as 50 percent, recent studies indicate. If health is an important measure of a country’s developmental status and needs, the same goes for a business. In this regard, companies are becoming more attuned to the need to both measure and report on their staff’s health and well-being. We spoke to two top CFOs and two corporate wellness experts to find out what companies can do to invest in the well-being of their staff – and what ROI they can expect.

11 November 2016

Brian Molefe, Eskom CEO, quits

"I have, in the interests of good corporate governance, decided to leave my employ at Eskom from 1 January 2017," wrote Brian Molefe (pictured), CEO of Eskom, in a statement released today regarding his decision to leave the company. "I do so voluntarily: indeed, I wish to pay tribute to the unfailing support I have had since I took up office from the chairman, the Board and with those with whom it has been my privilege to work. Together we brought Eskom back from the brink. I will take time off to reflect before I decide on my next career move."

10 November 2016

Banks must reconsider core competency: WATCH Standard Bank's Danielle Laity at #afta16 #findaba16

As the oldest bank in the country, Standard Bank has a lot of challenges to overcome in terms of legacy systems. During her pitch at the African FinTech Awards at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 in October, the bank’s manager of innovation capability Danielle Laity explained what her organisation was doing to better serve its customers in an era marked by fear in the banking sector amid the threat of being unbundled and attacked.

09 November 2016

Donald Trump becomes US president: six lessons for CFOs

The historical victory of Donald Trump in the US elections has taken the world by surprise. In the next few days, weeks, months and years there will be countless analysis, debates and studies to explain why hardly anyone saw it coming. CFO South Africa Editor in Chief Joël Roerig doesn't want to wait that long and has listed six important lessons South African CFOs should learn from the property baron, tv-star and president-elect.

08 November 2016

Anthony Leeming, Sun International CFO, becomes CEO

Graeme Stephens (pictured), the CEO of South African hotels and casinos operator Sun International, will be stepping down from his role at the end of April 2017 to take up the role of CEO at SkyCity Entertainment Group. He will be replaced by Anthony Leeming, the company’s current CFO. Leeming has been with the group for 17 years, having joined as group financial manager in 1999. He held various group finance roles prior to his appointment as CFO in March 2013. He will take over the CEO role effective 1 May 2017. Stephens has been with the group for more than five years. As yet, no announcement has been made regarding the replacement CFO.

07 November 2016

Executives should be ready for multiple possible futures, says Dr Morne Mostert

“It seems that many executives continue to make decisions not only based on the past but even in the interest of the past or in its defence,” writes Dr Morne Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research at Stellenbosch University. According to him, “the intellectual agility to engage simultaneously with multiple possible futures is highly likely to increase as a prerequisite for a chair in the boardroom of the future”.

04 November 2016

Women and success: Roy Clark chats to top CFOs Mary Vilakazi and Jo Pohl - #findaba16

Two vibrant women, Jo Pohl and Mary Vilakazi, whose dynamism and energy radiates throughout the room, sat down with Roy Clark from Clarkhouse Human Capital and discussed their views on women and success. To say it was inspiring is an understatement – these two women shared such powerful messages that even the most astute and experienced business person would walk away with a burning passion to succeed.

02 November 2016

Four top finance bosses reveal the reasons for their success on the continent

What does it take to be successful in the rest of Africa? We asked four CFOs who were nominated for the 2016 CFO Awards to share some tips. Here’s what Bikash Prasad from Olam International, Johan Geel from Afgri, Mohammed Abdool-Samad from Illovo, and Osman Arbee from Imperial Group had to say on the matter. Bikash Prasad (right): look at the long term Bikash Prasad has quickly moved through the ranks and last year became CFO for Africa and the Middle-East at Olam International, a global agri-business operating from seed to shelf. Bikash has been a long-standing supporter of CFO South Africa and the panel of judges voted him as winner or the 2016 Moving into Africa Award, which he received out of the hands of Standard Bank’s CIB CFO Luvuyo Masinda on 12 May 2016. We asked him what it takes to be successful in Africa. “Look at the long term. You might have challenges in the short term, with the global economic slowdown and the slowdown in China impacting the continent, but the long term is looking very bullish and positive.” “To operate in Africa, you have to be a noble corporate citizen. You cannot be non-compliant. You need to really believe in sustainability and get a license from the community you want to work in, not just an official license from the government you are dealing with. We hardly ever run into any trouble because of that approach. Recruiting and developing talent is also crucial.”

01 November 2016

AB InBev reports drop in earnings

AB InBev has reported a drop in third-quarter profit. According to the Belgian brewer, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell 2%. The shares fell by close on 6% in Brussels. The company has also cut its revenue forecast due to Brazil, its second-largest market, having a difficult year. It previously cut its forecast for Brazilian revenue in July, predicting unchanged sales. Furthermore, it said sales growth is unlikely to beat inflation this year because of declining volumes in the South American country. In numbers, its Ebitda in Brazil declined by 33%. Moreover, the company announced a decrease in SABMiller's beer volume as a result of weakness in Africa. SABMiller’s lager volume dropped 2% in the three months through September. A transport strike in Colombia, which became Europe’s largest company by market value after the acquisition, contributed to this decrease. Interestingly, the SABMiller results were not consolidated in AB InBev’s figures, and excluded joint ventures as well as assets that were sold or which are up for sale.

01 November 2016

Osman Arbee, double winner at CFO Awards 2016, ready for new challenge at Imperial

Far from slowing down now that retirement age is looming, Osman Arbee is about to enjoy a serious promotion. The CFO of Imperial Holdings will become CEO of Imperial Motors in January, and will hold both posts simultaneously for three months while he grooms the next CFO to replace him. “It’s not a bad way to finish off your career, running a big business for three to four years then retiring,” he says. “It’s a nice change at the right time of my life, working with people I enjoy working with in a business I know and enjoy. It’s an opportunity to use my brain in another way.”

31 October 2016

ABSA Capital, RMB and Nedbank big winners at JSE Spire awards

ABSA Capital, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and Nedbank took home big awards at the 15th annual Spire awards, hosted by the JSE. ABSA Capital, RMB and Nedbank were crowned winners of the Best Bonds House, Best Fixed Income and Currencies House, Best FX House and Best Research House and Best Interest Derivative House respectively. RMB alone took home a total of 11 awards on the evening. Bernard Claassens (pictured), Manager: Fixed Income at the JSE, said:

30 October 2016

2016 Global Innovation 1000 Study reveals shift in R&D spend to software and services

By 2020, companies will have shifted the majority of their research and development (R&D) spend away from product-based offerings to software and service offerings, according to the 2016 Global Innovation 1000 Study from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business. The need to stay competitive is the top reason why companies cited this shift in their R&D budgets. Liesbeth Botha (pictured), Strategic Digital Transformation Leader, PwC Africa, said:

29 October 2016

Kaspersky Lab: Only 50% of mobile devices are protected from cybercrime

The latest research from Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company, shows that half of the mobile devices around the globe are at risk from cybercrime and malicious threats, due to inadequate protection. The research suggests that users are unaware of the need to protect their mobile devices with a security solution – while 69% think that their desktops and laptops definitely need IT security software, only 56% think the same about smartphones and tablets. Victor Yablokov (pictured) Head of Mobile Product Line at Kaspersky Lab, said:

27 October 2016

Local currency and DFIs: an opportunity for African financing - Standard Bank at #findaba16

Standard Bank treasurer Paul Burgoyne brought together a strong panel at the Finance Indaba Africa on 13 October 2016, to discuss accessing liquidity in Africa. The speakers included CFO and VP of Olam International, Bikash Prasad, as well as three Standard Bank team members: head of institutional sales Africa, Mark Kalil, VP for power and infrastructure finance, George Kotsovos, and global head: client solutions & distribution, global markets Steve Barnes.

25 October 2016

White privilege and white guilt: Servest CFO Peter Walsh talks tough on transformation - #findaba16

Servest Group CFO Peter Walsh earned as many laughs as he landed “blows” in a challenging talk on transformation presented at the Finance Indaba Africa in Johannesburg on 13 October 2016. Walsh’s talk was called “Embracing transformation: Head, heart and hands”, and he kicked off by “owning that white male problem” – being a white man talking about transformation in South Africa. Still, he persevered, winning over his audience with his frank and self-deprecating address, and posing some extremely tough questions to his audience.

25 October 2016

People, not technology, give data meaning, says CGMA study

In a Volatile Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, management accountants are expected to provide better support for decision-making, performance management and ongoing ‘insight’, in the form of financial and non-financial data. According to a latest CGMA research, ‘Business analytics and decision making – The human dimension’, analytics has little to do with technology. It is people, not technology, who give data meaning. While there may be technical issues to address, such as getting access to data, combining data sets or integrating financial data with data generated from social media or ‘connected things’, no analytical tool can do more than augment or complement what is a cognitive and sometimes social process. Generating insight is an inherently human trait. Thus, business intelligence resides not in the data warehouse but in the minds of people.

25 October 2016

Public sector CFOs must adapt quickly to change, says Irene Mathatho, CFO of the Companies Tribunal

Growing up in a rural village in Mokopane, Limpopo, Irene Mathatho, current CFO of the Companies Tribunal, didn’t have a role model. But she liked to read and loved to learn. “I even found it interesting going to the bank, watching the tellers. I used to think, one day I want to be somewhere in these offices,” she recalls. Discovering she had a natural aptitude for accounting, Irene chose to embrace this, though she laughs when she says she wasn’t aware of all the hard work a career in finance would entail. The Companies Tribunal is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). It was established in terms of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 to adjudicate applications made in terms of Section 195 of the Act and resolve disputes through mediation, conciliation and arbitration. As CFO, Irene oversees the full finance function. Given the relative newness of the entity – it was established in 2012 – her job is not without plentiful challenges. We chatted to Irene about what she’s achieved since taking up the position and how she’s finding life in the public sector. Tell us about your current role and your team. “I am the first CFO at the Companies Tribunal. When it was established, many of the functions were outsourced to KPMG, including some of the CFO functions. I had to begin by reviewing some policies that KPMG developed and devise my own. I also had to align policies to processes. I’m responsible for the overall management of the finances and the preparation of financial reports, supply chain management, risk management, payroll management, asset management and strategic planning. I also need to ensure compliance with the Public Finance Management Act, as well as that everything complies with generally recognised accounting practices.”

24 October 2016

FSB imposes R2.5 million fine on Discovery

Discovery Life has been issued with a R2.5 million administrative penalty by the Financial Services Board (FSB) for contravening section 3A of the General Code of Conduct for Financial Service Providers. The contravention pertains to Discovery’s recruitment of several financial advisers and the inclusion of sign-on bonuses. According to reports, the group finalised employment offers one day after amendments to section 3A of the code came into effect. According to the amendment, a Category I financial services provider authorised or appointed to give advice may not receive a sign-on bonus, and no person may offer or provide a sign-on bonus to any person as an incentive to becoming a Category I provider. A Discovery spokesperson has been quoted in the media as saying that while the paperwork in respect of the appointments was concluded post the publication of the regulations, the negotiations and process were done ahead of the deadline. Discovery has, however, reversed the payments made to the advisers as per the agreement with the FSB.

24 October 2016

CFOs, take note: integrated reporting improves value, cash and forecasts - #science

Integrated reporting improves firm value, cash flows, and analyst forecast accuracy. It also leads to more dedicated long-term investors. That is the conclusion of four academics in this guest article written exclusively for CFO South Africa, based on research they conducted with financial support of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Using mostly South African data, they argue that CFOs should care deeply about integrated reporting. By Mary E. Barth, Steven F. Cahan, Li Chen, and Elmar R. Venter* Since the financial crisis, several questions have been raised about the appropriateness of the traditional corporate reporting model. Key statistics highlight some of these concerns about corporate reporting. In 1975, around 83 percent of the market value of S&P 500 firms could be explained by physical and financial assets; by 2009, that number dropped to 19 percent. The remaining 81 percent consist of intangibles; most of which are currently not communicated to investors. Bob Laux, senior director financial accounting and reporting at Microsoft, argues that “the value-drivers of a company are increasingly intangible and include items such as intellectual and human capital as well as environmental, social and governance issues”. In his view, such changes in the ways in which company value is created are not matched by developments in corporate reporting. In line with this concern about unreported value drivers, EY points out that, on average, the number of pages devoted to noting disclosure in financial statements and in management discussion and analysis quadrupled from 1972 to 2012. Former United States vice president, Al Gore, and David Blood warn that “despite the volume and frequency of information made available by companies, access to more data for public equity investors has not necessarily translated into more comprehensive insight on companies”. Adding to the disclosure burden may therefore not necessarily be the solution to the unreported value drivers. The proponents of integrated reporting see it as the solution to this vexatious issue. In this article, we briefly discuss what integrated reporting is (and what it is not), together with some of the academic evidence emerging on the benefits of integrated reporting. What is integrated reporting?

23 October 2016

Welcome to the new accounting - Blackline at #findaba16

With the introduction of the new accounting software, Blackline, organisations can manage the entire accounting and finance lifecycle and gain a global view into tasks and processes, all in one centralised, secure and reliable system. These were the words of Josh May, the Senior Solutions Consultant and Product Manager at Blackline, who gave a presentation on how the software works during Finance Indaba Africa held at Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. By Tiisetso Tlelima

21 October 2016

Global investment firm buys KWV for R1.15 billion

UK-based investment group Vasari has finalised its acquisition of the operational assets of KWV for a sum of R1.15 billion. Vasari sees the South African wine and spirits producer as a “strategic asset” that will enable it to capitalise on growth opportunities in the wine and brandy sector. KWV was sold to Vasari by Niveus Holdings, the listed investment holding company majority controlled by HCI. John Copelyn, HCI CEO, writing in the company’s latest annual report, said that the exit from KWV was “very lucrative”, and that “the price achieved effectively doubled the value of Niveus’s investment over five years”. Boyce Lloyd (pictured), an SABMiller executive with more than 20 years of experience in the beverage industry, will become the new KWV CEO from November. Until recently Lloyd was the integration director for the AB InBev-SABMiller merger. Vasari has investments in various areas, such as alcoholic beverages, confectionary, soft drinks, and foods, across various markets, including Europe, Africa and Asia. Among its brands are independent Scotch whisky producer Whyte & Mackay, and Ethiopian brewer, Dashen Brewery.

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