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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.

20 October 2016

Bruno Bayet new CFO for Lafarge Africa

Lafarge Africa has announced the appointment of a new CFO, Bruno Bayet (pictured), effective 1 October 2016. Prior to becoming CFO of Lafarge Africa Bayet was the Strategy Director; a position he held since April this year. Bayet, a Belgian, was Manager, Corporate Finance, with PwC from 1998 to 2005, and Senior Analyst in the Investments team of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert from 2005 to 2011. Before joining Lafarge, Bayet was an executive committee member of Enterprise Generale Malta Forrest (RDC) from 2011 to 2013, having gained over 15 years of experience in the construction and materials industry. He was appointed Director of Ashakacem Plc in later 2013, combining the role of CFO in September 2014. Bayet holds a Business Engineering degree from Universite Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, and completed his Master’s in Business Administration at Georgetown University, specialising in Financial Risks Management.

19 October 2016

Newest Thomson Reuters Data and Innovation Lab Launches in CT

Thomson Reuters has launched its newest Data and Innovation Lab, located in Cape Town. The lab will see Thomson Reuters engage with the region’s vibrant innovation ecosystem and dynamic start-up community. The Labs have two primary objectives: innovation and partnership. Innovation will come through driving creative conversations with customers and partners through open events and rapid prototyping, while partnership involves collaboration and co-creation with startups and other partners to put new technology and business models into practice. Mona Vernon (pictured), vice president of Thomson Reuters Labs, said:

17 October 2016

MTN invests millions in Iran's taxi-hailing app, 'Snapp'

MTN has agreed to make a €20-million investment in support of Iran’s first taxi-hailing smartphone application, Snapp. This as the telecoms company tries to repatriate R15.4 billion from the country, following the lifting of US-led economic sanctions, and strengthen its ties with the Middle Eastern nation. According to Shahram Shahkar, Snapp founder and CEO (pictured), the money will be used by the app’s owner, Iran Internet Group, which operates and invests in start-up and e-commerce companies, to expand the company’s service offering to other cities.

15 October 2016

Riding the tides of African volatility: Standard Bank discusses the continent - #findaba16

The “Africa rising” narrative that dominated headlines ten years ago has taken an anecdotal beating, affected by the downturn in commodities, and several of the continent’s biggest economies being plagued with poor growth, both private and public corruption, and political bad news. But, investment wise, does that mean Africa is no longer a strong growth space? Do investors consider this bubble burst?

14 October 2016

Let's get personal: Graeme Codrington on the renaissance of business in a digital age - #findaba16

“Students of the future are often students of history,” Futurist Graeme Codrington told attendants of the inaugural Finance Indaba Africa 2016, during his presentation on 14 October 2016. They study moments of change and disruption in history to understand what underlies huge disruption in our present age. Graeme – an international speaker, consultant, and best-selling author who has built a career out of preparing companies for change – believes that the echoes of the past, the ones that were present at the last major social renaissance, are present in the world today, and companies fail to heed them at their peril.

14 October 2016

Cocktail function: KPMG chairman Ahmed Jaffer talks change and business - #findaba16

How should smart leaders position their organisations for change? That was the central question in a through-provoking keynote from KPMG chairman Ahmed Jaffer at the firm's cocktail function on 13 October 2016 at the Finance Indaba Africa. The event was one of the highlights of #findaba16, with the who's who of CFOs and corporate South Africa enjoying the entertainment, food & drinks and networking.

14 October 2016

Take lessons and inspiration #findaba16 back to work: SAICA CEO Terence Nombembe

"Let's take the lessons and the inspiration from the Finance Indaba Africa with us and use it in our daily jobs," said SAICA CEO Terence Nombembe at the opening of day 2 of #findaba16. In an impassioned plea, he called on finance professionals to start contributing more to the future of South Africa, listing several practical steps for CA(SA)s and other finance professionals. "All of us need to be courageous enough."

14 October 2016

Finance Indaba Africa 2016 - Day 1 Roundup - #findaba16

Well over 3000 finance professionals came to the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 October for the first day of the very first Finance Indaba Africa, an expo and conference that has announced itself as the annual highlight on the calendar of South Africa's finance professionals. With 75 exhibitors, 120 speakers and incredible energy levels, the success of the event was firmly established - attendees and partner organisations alike enjoying massive value from the interactions, learning and sharing of knowledge.

13 October 2016

2016 African FinTech Awards: Towards a financially inclusive continent - #afta16 #findaba16

Servicing the millions of unbanked citizens of Africa and bringing them into the mainstream economy through FinTech innovations – the mission of many startups – can thwart poverty and other social ills, as well as enable the continent to compete on a level footing with the rest of the world. This was the core message coming out of the opening discussion of the African FinTech Awards at the 2016 Finance Indaba Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 13 October 2016.

13 October 2016

It's time! Finance professionals flock to Finance Indaba Africa - #findaba16

The day that finance professionals have been looking forward to for many months has finally arrived - it is time for Finance Indaba Africa! With two days of learning, inspiration and unparalleled networking, the inaugural event has already established itself as the biggest conference and expo for African finance teams in the world. The numbers are impressive: 13 & 14 October 2016, Sandton Convention Centre, 5000 attendees, 120 sessions with speakers and discussions and 75 exhibitors.

12 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Cellulant is all about transforming Africa

"FinTech is completely revolutionising the speed, the scale and the cost of getting services to the people. This is transformational for Africa – and it is this transformation that drives Cellulant to continue realising this for millions of consumers and thousands of businesses," says Ken Njoroge, Group CEO of Cellulant, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

11 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Meniga brings banks and clients closer together

"A single platform can become the main source of information for all digital channels, not only enabling banks and other financial institutions to offer their clients an engaging experience, but also solving simple problems related to the integration of data and reducing infrastructure costs," says Jakub Piotrowski, CRO and Head of Customer Engagement at Meniga, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

11 October 2016

CFO cocktail event closes Finance Indaba - exclusive insights from Euler Hermes

To close the Finance Indaba Africa in style, CFOs and FDs are invited to an exclusive CFO South Africa cocktail function, in collaboration with global credit insurance company Euler Hermes. One of Europe's most revered analysts, chief economist Ludovic Subran, will give a insightful talk about the biggest risks that (South) African CFOs are facing and the best ways to deal with it. To warm up for the main event, we asked Ludovic a few questions.

10 October 2016

Entertainment galore at Finance Indaba Africa, thanks to National Arts Council

The Finance Indaba Africa is the annual one-stop-shop for everything finance professionals need to know to grow their careers and help the country and continent prosper. It is only fitting that some of South Africa's most exciting home-grown artists will be on stage to provide the entertainment during the event Their performances are kindly sponsored by the National Arts Council of South Africa, with Young CFO of the Year Dumisani Dlamini as its driving forces.

10 October 2016

Accenture at the Finance Indaba: crucial insights into Zero-Based budgeting

"Zero-Based Budgeting is a new way of budgeting annually to allow business to prioritise and investing in activities that will drive competitive advantage and revenue growth," says Dr Madeleine Joubert, Finance and Enterprise Performance Lead at Accenture. "Companies should consider removing waste and freeing up capital that can then be turned to more lucrative activities. At the Indaba, we’ll provide them with the insights and expertise on how to achieve exactly that."

07 October 2016

SAP Business One invaluable, says CallForce's Annemarie Haywood

“Not only is SAP Business One key to the smooth running of daily operations and the business at large, but I personally have found it invaluable in the execution of my role as finance manager,” says Annemarie Haywood, finance manager at staffing solutions company CallForce. Annemarie will be part of a panel, hosted by 4most, at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016 (see details below). We spoke to her ahead of the landmark event.

07 October 2016

AAT (SA): The professional home for accounting technicians

“The Association of Accounting Technicians South Africa [AAT (SA)] adds value where CFOs and strategic people need to make decisions. If you get the work right at support staff level there are less errors, the quality of financial statements should be better, you should see shorter month-end periods and cleaner audits,” says Nadine Kater, General Manager of the organisation. We had a chat to Nadine about the organisation and where it fits into the industry, as well as what value it adds to finance professionals.

06 October 2016

IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury criticises mandatory audit firm rotation

Mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) is often a "solution looking for a problem", says Fayez Choudhury, CEO of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the global organisation for the accountancy profession. "This is all the more critical in light of the costs of regulation to businesses trying to operate in a global environment, and possible unforeseen consequences," he writes in this opinion piece, in which he is critical about the South African Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and its timeline to introduce MAFR.

05 October 2016

How transformation can help your business: a chat with SAIPA CEO Bongani Coka

You already know that your business can help move transformation forward through job creation and human capacity development. But do you realise that transformation can also help your business move forward? We talk to Bongani Coka, CEO of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), who will be presenting the amazing results of Project Achiever at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016 at 14h30.

05 October 2016

Longer tenure mulled for joint-audits: IRBA CEO Bernard Agulhas

The mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) that will be introduced in South Africa next year might include incentives for Big 4 firms to partner with smaller, black-owned competitors. The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) is considering to allow auditors to stay with the same client for a longer period, provided they enter into joint audits when their mandatory tenure comes to an end, says IRBACEO Bernard Agulhas. In this exclusive interview with CFO South Africa he also notes his disappointment about the negative response from CFOs to mandatory firm rotation.

04 October 2016

5 questions for Russell Glover about Finance Indaba partner Linxus

"The Finance Indaba is an ideal platform for Linxus to engage with key decision makers by demonstrating the value we can add to any business through our software products," says Russell Glover, managing director at Linxus, a a gold partner at the Finance Indaba next week. We spoke to him exclusively. Why is Linxus present at the Indaba? "Linxus is a Software Solutions business that specialises in the building and implementing solutions that drive operational efficiencies, reduce cost and mitigate risk. Our focus is on delivering appropriate and responsible solutions that are developed and implemented rapidly thereby addressing current business needs in a time frame that enables businesses to grow and or reduce cost, ultimately driving profitability in your business."

04 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: ACTSA champions treasury management

"Key to the CFO’s success is having a reliable “wingman” in the form of the Corporate Treasurer, who provides support in not only managing financial variable risks, ensuring access to and supplying liquidity to business operations, but also in identifying, assessing and preparing for potential threats to business liquidity which may not be patently obvious and are difficult to identify when part of the myriad of issues the CFO is contending with," says Nigel Grey, chairman of the Association of Corporate Treasurers of Southern Africa (ACTSA), a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

03 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Clean up your audits with the Auditor-General of SA

“We’ve always defined our service offering as audit and state of the nation type reports, but over the past five years, we’ve engaged with CFOs and accounting officers very proactively, especially around the basics of internal control that we believe can move them in the right direction," says Jan van Schalkwyk, corporate executive at the Auditor-General of SA, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

03 October 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: W.Consulting is your CPD partner

"Accounting professionals specifically, and finance professionals more generally, are faced with ever-evolving challenges arising from the expectation to remain abreast of standards and global best practices. Our role is to provide training opportunities that are flexible, affordable, relevant and of high quality," says Raymond Chamboko, director at W.Consulting, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

01 October 2016

SA retains top position for auditing and reporting standards for seventh year

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has welcomed the news that South Africa has been ranked yet again as the world’s number one for auditing and reporting standards, making it the seventh consecutive year that the country holds this position. As the audit regulator, the IRBA is the statutory body falling within the National Treasury mandated with the protection of the investing public through effective regulation of auditors to ensure high quality independent audits in which investors can place their trust.

30 September 2016

KPMG's Shirley Ivason-Wagener cautions against technology-enabled fraud

More sophisticated and data-driven processes within business operations come with increased online activity and agility on the part of employees, though consideration must be given to the fact that with this increased online activity is increased potential risk to the business –particularly the growing occurrence of technology-enabled fraud, cautions KPMG’s Shirley Ivason-Wagener, Partner and Country Leader, Fraud Risk Management and Ethics Advisory. There’s no denying that we live in a fast-paced digital era that is underpinned by this consumerism sense of instant gratification. As a result, companies are continually transforming their technology-driven business processes to maximise on efficiencies, as well as integrating different processes and systems and even enabling inter-company and global connectivity – aimed at remaining competitive. Today, technology is a significant enabler for fraudsters, where tech-savvy swindlers are using it in a variety of ways to perpetrate frauds. Cyber fraud continues to be identified as a growing threat to business.

29 September 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Bytes gets you ahead of the game

"Kronos WM applications are crucial in enabling greater visibility into labour activities for the purposes of effectively managing and maximizing worker productivity, controlling labour costs, tracking operational tasks and minimizing compliance risks," says Yolanda Krajnc, Sales Manager of Bytes Systems Integration, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

27 September 2016

Sibanye Gold CFO Charl Keyter talks risks and results

Charl Keyter was first introduced to mining as a child, when he used to visit the Gold Fields operations with his dad’s cousin. He was fascinated. “The atmosphere on the mines in those days was almost holiday-like,” he recalls. “Maybe because we only ever spent a day or a week there, every so often, but the facilities and the people living in the community, the activities they did with the kids, there was always this great atmosphere.”

25 September 2016

Edcon loses the battle; gets taken over

Struggling South African clothes retailer Edcon has been taken over by banks and bondholders, including Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group and FirstRand. Furthermore, creditors in Edcon have agreed to substitute R21 billion in debt for equity control of the retailer. The retailer has been struggling with an over-leveraged capital structure for years. Having been taken private in a R25-billion buyout by Bain almost a decade ago, Edcon has been unable to to grow at a fast enough rate to pay down debt.

24 September 2016

Sasfin profits rise

Sasfin has successfully circumvented the effects of the currently tough economic environment to grow shareholder value by 29%. Operating profit improved 31% (from R232 million in 2015 to R304 million), while profit was up 23.7%, to R238.7m. In addition, total income growth was up 25.1%. Tyrone Soondarjee (pictured), Sasfin group financial director, speaking at the recent financial results presentation, said the group reported growth across all its divisions, bar Treasury and Transactional banking, which collectively declined in profitability from R10.39 million to R6.559 million. Soondarjee noted, however, that the Treasury division did show strong performance, with a stable deposit base of R3.32 billion. According to the FD, group costs increased 19.8% to R828.3 million, largely as a result of increased investment in risk, compliance and IT, along with the inclusion of FinTech in its cost base. The cost-to-income ratio improved from 71.07% in the previous year to 68.89%, thanks to its cost containment strategy, which Soondarjee said has been “key to manage and showed notable improvement”.

23 September 2016

Ramaphosa sells McDonald's SA franchises to Middle Eastern company

Shanduka Group, founded Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured) in 2001, has sold the local operations of McDonald’s Corp. to a Middle Eastern company, the Emirates-based MSA Holdings, for an undisclosed amount. In March 2011, Ramaphosa secured a 20-year agreement to run 145 McDonald’s restaurants in South Africa. Under the agreement, he owned all McDonald's assets in South Africa, including property. His sale of the franchise is in line with a previous statement he made saying that he would undertake a review of his business interests, in light of his position as deputy president of SA. The Competition Commission has approved the transaction for MSA to acquire the fast-food restaurants, as this would not present undue competition to local companies. The value of the deal has not yet been disclosed.

21 September 2016

Vitol, Burgh to buy stake in SA's largest coal terminal

Rotterdam-based Vitol SA and Johannesburg-based Burgh Group Holdings have agreed to buy a stake in Africa’s largest coal terminal, Optimum Coal Terminal (OCT), from a mining company owned in part by the Gupta family. According to reports, Vitol and Burgh will acquire the terminal, which has a 7.6% stake in Richards Bay Coal Terminal, SA’s leading coal terminal with an annual capacity of 91 million tonnes, from Tegeta Exploration and Resources. Quinton van der Burgh (pictured), CEO of Burgh Group, said:

20 September 2016

Talent and diversity make finance strong: Dineo Molefe, CFO T-Systems

Dineo Molefe took on the role of chief financial officer of T-Systems at the beginning of May. She oversees both the Johannesburg and Cape Town teams, with 47 people and six direct reports looking to her for guidance. She strongly believes the secret to a solid and successful team is having exceptional and talented people. In her words, a varied skills base is also very important: “You have to have a diversity of skills and backgrounds. When you have people who all think the same that doesn’t help the team. Diversity of mindset is also important. And you need people who are self-starters.” CFO South Africa caught up with Dineo to find out how the first few months have been. How are you enjoying your new role? Have you encountered any challenges since you took office? What changes have you made, if any? “It was a bit of a hit and run to start! Within finance we have Controlling, Corporate Finance, Commercial, Procurement, and Legal. The role provides a good balance between being strategically focused and being involved in operations. Our finance team is embarking on a journey to transform itself and to be more of a business partner, so that we play our role in being an enabler to business and not a stumbling block.”

19 September 2016

European firms benefit from audit rotation, says former Heineken CFO

The introduction of mandatory audit firm rotation has worked out advantageously for European companies, says René Hooft Graafland, who recently stepped down as global CFO at the Dutch brewing giant Heineken. He says that benefits include lower audit fees, a more efficient audit plan and new insights, as the new audit team approaches the company with fresh eyes. “But I do believe the rotation period should be at least twelve years.”

17 September 2016

KPMG Africa Banking survey shows customers want more from their banks

KPMG has released its latest Africa Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey, which has revealed that customers are still unsatisfied about financial stability, and are seeking more from their banks than what they’re currently getting, especially as far as service, innovation and convenience are concerned. Pierre Fourie (pictured), KPMG Partner in Financial Services, says it is imperative to appreciate the individual customer. He said:

16 September 2016

Grandeur and great conversations during CFO Awards judges dinner

Conversation flowed and sumptuous food was enjoyed during a inspirational get-together of the panel of judges for the 2017 CFO Awards. One of the highlights of the evening was the judging panel welcoming Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, in their midst. Wiseman is South Africa's first black Chartered Accountant and an incredibly experienced boardroom expert. CFO SA Graham Fehrsen thanked him for adding even more gravitas and quality to the - already impressive - judging panel.

16 September 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Deloitte is your full-suite partner

"CFOs tend to think of the Deloitte business as providing audit, assurance and tax services, but we also have a strong human capital consulting business and a risk advisory business with a strong capacity around cyber, general risk management and forensics," says Kevin Black, Executive Partner for Clients & Industries at Deloitte South Africa, a platinum partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

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