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

17 May 2013

Lesley-Anne Wilkinson and Wilfred Ascott (IBM): talking about Globally Integrated Enterprises

“The journey that we have made as IBM to become a Globally Integrated Enterprise is something we like to talk about,” explained Lesley-Anne Wilkinson, who heads up the IBM Institute for Business Value in the Middle East and Africa. Together with her marketing colleague Wilfred Ascott, Wilkinson on Friday met with director Melle Eijckelhoff of CFO South Africa to discuss IBM’s Africa expansion, the role of CFOs and the Smarter Planet philosophy that is driving IBM.

16 May 2013

CFO Round Table: 'Transforming a day in the life of a CFO'

From left to right: Juan Mostert (Dell South and Central Africa), Grant Scrutton (Winhold), Ranga Mabgwe (Stewart Scott International Mafuri), Melle Eijckelhoff (CFO South Africa), Philip Nottingham (abe Construction Chemicals), Alain Ozan (Oracle), Craig Coltman (De Beers) and Sandeep Gandhi (Village Reef Gold Mining Company). Other participants were: Anbann Chetti (Nedbank Corporate Banking), Ian Graham (General Electric Oil & Gas & General Electric Southern Africa), Nichola Dewar (Postbank), Werner Barnard (Kraft Foods) and Pieter Bensch (Oracle).

15 May 2013

Top CFOs discuss challenges during Executive Dinner

From left to right in the picture: Steffie Bosman (CFO SA), Peter Walsh (Servest), Melle Eijckelhoff (CFO SA), Kudakwashe Chipanda (Johnson & Johnson Medical), Eric van Marle (Transparent), Morrison Smit (Ardor SA), Ranga Mabgwe (Stewart Scott International ), Jobo Moshesh (SITA), Errol Campbell (Edenred South Africa), Amanda Albäck (Tongaat Hulett Starch), Mariette Ebersohn (Mango Airlines) and Carolina van der Ark (Transparent).

15 May 2013

Victor Sekese, CEO SizweNtsalubaGobodo: CFOs struggle with sustainability

“I have pity for CFOs,” says Victor Sekese and for the first time in the interview his characteristic thundering laugh is lacking. The Chief Executive Officer of accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo has an intimate understanding of the tricky position many South African financial bosses find themselves in these days. “They are in a very difficult position, because the economy is down but they have to look at the long term business. If they don’t invest, they lose out.”

14 May 2013

Jonathan Lang, Head Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group: Expanding into Africa

“Our vision is to build a group network of offices in eight to twelve African countries,” said Jonathan Lang, head of the law firm Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group. On Tuesday Lang met with Melle Eijckelhoff of CFO South Africa, the fast growing CFO-platform for networking and knowledge sharing in the country. They discussed the legal and financial challenges of South African finance professionals especially those venturing further into Africa.

13 May 2013

Kent Karro, Senior Partner Horwath Zeller Karro: Keeping up with the taxes

“In my field we have to run faster and faster to stay in the same place,” says Kent Karro, partner and chairman of the Cape Town based consulting firm Horwath Zeller Karro. On Monday Karro met with Melle Eijckelhoff and Steffie Bosman of CFO South Africa, the leading networking platform for CFOs and finance professionals in South Africa. He provided a great number of fascinating and eloquent insights into the ever-changing tax landcape in South Africa.

13 May 2013

IMF Sees Positive Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa

The near-term outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains broadly positive, with growth projected to accelerate modestly to around 5½ percent in 2013–14, following a year of strong growth in 2012, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today. In its May 2013 Regional Economic Outlook, Building Momentum in a Multi-Speed World, the IMF said that these favourable prospects partly reflect the gradually improving outlook for the global economy, while locally, investment in export-oriented sectors is an important driver of growth going forward.

25 April 2013

Rolam Ait Si Birouk, CFO Ropetec: African challenges are cash, skills and tax

“NETWORKING is very, very important for finance professionals who are working in Africa,” says Rolam Ait Si Birouk. As CFO of Cape Town-based company Ropetec, which does maintenance and inspection work in the oil and gas industry, Rolam has a lot of experience working in countries like Angola, Ghana and Congo. “We are all facing the same challenges in these markets and it will be great to hear how other people find solutions to these challenges.”

23 April 2013

Bright Amisi, Group Finance Manager at SABS: `Risk management is going to become a key part of the CFO portfolio`

Bright Amisi (37) has been the Group Finance Manager of the SABS, a leading conformity assessment industry player, since 2008. SABS is the largest conformity assessment body in Africa and is the official publisher of South African National Standards (SANS) used across all sectors of the economy. He thinks the most challenging about his position are that the non-finance issues demand a lot of his time. He doesn’t always sit in his office worrying about the numbers; He is frequently out there trying to enable the business to be successful. Everybody wants advice before making decisions. Before joining SABS Bright was employed by the Development Bank of South Africa as the GM: Finance and Administration - NEPAD for three years. Bright has also previously served as the Finance Director of Africare Zimbabwe, Head of Finance and Administration for the Red Cross in Zimbabwe and as an Auditor. He holds an MCom (Accounting), BSc (Hons) and is an Associate member of ACCA, CIMA and CIS. Bright is married to Diana with four kids and is a Formula One fanatic! Which skills do you think a finance professional should master to be successful in his/her work? A finance professional needs knowledge of accounting standards (IFRS), tax, ICT systems and systems integration, as well as risk management.

19 April 2013

Ian Graham, CFO of GE Oil & Gas Africa & GE Southern Africa: "South Africa can be a launch pad for the continent"

“South Africa has the unique opportunity to be a launch pad for the whole of Southern Africa and the rest of the continent,” says Ian Graham, CFO of GE Oil & Gas Africa & GE Southern Africa. As part of the huge American multinational company General Electric, GE is quickly growing its operations in Africa. There are huge opportunities in countries like Angola, Mozambique and Zambia,” says Ian. “If South Africa can leverage this, they can also minimize their exposure to slower economies like Europe.”

14 April 2013

Callen Hodgskiss, HPCA: opportunities for finance talents at NGOs

“FOLLOW what you value,” is the advice of Callen Hodgskiss. As CFO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) he knows what he is talking about. “I hope young financial professionals realize there are a lot of opportunities in the NGO sector. It is a dynamic environment and there is a lot that you can contribute. There is growing need for qualified people at NGOs and the salaries are becoming more and more market related.”

11 April 2013

Brett Tromp, CFO at Discovery Health: the softer side of a CFO

“FIRSTLY, always do more than your job description tells you to, so people will recognize your value.” The advice could sound gratuitous coming from anyone else, but if anybody can shed a light on a successful career for young finance professionals it must be Brett Tromp. “Secondly,” he says, “create a market for yourself in your organisation. Find executives to talk to and establish a brand of knowledge and trust. Those two things can be the big secret to a successful career and quickly moving up the ladder.”

09 April 2013

Grant Scrutton, Finance Director Winhold Limited; `It is never boring, never the same, never "done"`

Grant Scrutton is Finance director of Winhold Limited which is a JSE-listed holding company with its main investments being in its subsidiaries, Gundle Limited and Inmins Limited. Gundle manufactures polyethylene bags, construction sheeting, consumer and industrial packaging, agricultural film and dam linings and distributes to the agricultural, chemical, construction, food processing, industrial and consumer markets, as well as installing dam linings in sub-Sahara Africa. Inmins comprises 19 strategically located operations servicing the mining and industrial sectors with a wide range of consumable and maintenance products, and includes divisions specialising in hose, mining pipe systems, chain and sprocket systems and conveyor belting.

05 April 2013

Jonas Schöfer (The Hackett Group): Freeing up cash from working capital

(On the picture from left to right: Melle Eijckelhoff (CFO South Africa) & Jonas Schöfer (The Hackett Group) The Hackett Group is a stalwart name in the international business world and has now come to South Africa “to free up working capital”, says Jonas Schöfer. He believes that many large South African companies can free up between 10 and 30 percent of their working capital, just by improving the quality of their processes. “That is where The Hackett Group can help you,” says Schöfer, representing the firm together with Hackett's performance partner "IQBusiness Group", South Africa's largest independent consultancy and a Level 5 BBBEE accredited entity. In an interview with CFO South Africa Schöfer says he has met with “around 100 South African CFOs” so far to discuss the proven, hands-on approach of Hackett, a global working capital consulting firm dedicated to delivering sustainable cash flow improvement across business operations. The company, which is headquartered in Miami but operates and deploys globally out of 10 offices including Johannesburg, claims to have delivered more than $25 billion in cash to its clients in the last decade only, “creating the liquidity to fund acquisitions, product development, debt reduction and share buy-back programs.”. The South African client reference sheet already covers companies from Retail, Chemicals, FMCG, Construction and Packaging.

26 March 2013

DJ Kumbula, CEO InnoVent: "Better rates than the bank or own cash"

(On the right picture starting from the left Melle Eijckelhoff, Director CFO South Africa and DJ Kumbula, CEO InnoVent) “We can prove to any bank or corporation that InnoVent can give them a better rate than they can fund themselves at.” At the end of the remarkable story of InnoVent, DJ Kumbula does not hold back. He is convinced that his asset leasing and management company provides a service that beats purchasing equipment by borrowing money at the bank or any other form of funding including internal funding. Looking at InnoVent’s portfolio of blue chip and JSE listed clients, it appears there is something here. “Our philosophy is: deliver what you promise and you have got customers for life.” CFO South Africa recently met with InnoVent Group CEO DJ Kumbula and Business Development Manager Willem Venter to discuss InnoVent’s unique approach to asset finance and management which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The company employs about 50 people in the Johannesburg office and the Qrent division, and has recently opened offices in London and Scotland. “Our Qrent division is doing well in Zimbabwe and Zambia has opened its doors,” Venter announces. The story of InnoVent began when the Zimbabwean-born Kumbula and his South African friend Zakhe Khuzwayo, both Chartered Accountants started their small office with two telephones and a shared desk. “We worked in the industry prior to us going on our own” The duo was not impressed with the approach of lease providers towards customers and the negative connotations associated with the leasing industry due to the small print and onerous terms on clients especially at the end of the lease period.. “Leasing can be a nightmare for a client if it is provided by an unscrupulous lessor.. There are things lessors can do which may be legal, but totally unethical and immoral which costs the client more money in the long run than they had budgeted for. We saw that lessors were making massive short term profits at the expense of their clients, ultimately resulting in a short relationship with the clients. So we decided to start our own company focused on the long term – low profits throughout, but long term sustainable client relationships”. What InnoVent basically does is “subsidised asset finance, because we want your asset back when you no longer want to use it. We have created a massive and active secondary market for your otherwise redundant assets – we give you back some of the value we realise in the secondary market by subsidising your finance costs right at the beginning when you source the assets”, Kumbula explains. If those assets are laptops, for example, InnoVent takes them back after the lease period which the client determines and remarkets them through Qrent in a different secondary market. “Our mission is to keep finding secondary markets that yield good value for used assets so we can pass on higher subsidies to our primary clients when they finance through us . We never want to look at our primary clients for profits, but rather as a reliable source of high volumes of used assets.” “For our primary customers we look at all blue chip companies and organisations with sophisticated and astute CFOs that understand our product and are willing to engage with an open mind.” The move to London and Scotland also fits in that model: “In the UK there is no real second hand market for used assets. Now we offer companies in the UK the subsidised financing as well as help them with their CSI initiatives and Green disposal as we recondition their assets at end of lease and redeploy them on the African continent in small businesses, schools, government institutions and with teachers at highly affordable prices.” The list of raving testimonials about InnoVent is impressive and includes a recommendation by Discovery, South Africa’s largest health insurer. InnoVent Rental and Asset Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the full name of the company, does not only lease out ICT hardware, but also motor vehicles, yellow metal equipment, telecoms equipment, medical equipment and other moveable assets. “Leasing through us helps you manage your cash flow. We do asset management, you don’t have to worry about green disposal of redundant stuff, you keep up to date with the latest technologies and we offer you the best rate.! Our biggest challenge is not our business model, it’s traditional mind sets of decision makers and the negative connotations associated with the leasing industry especially with people that had a bad leasing experience in the past.” According to Kumbula some leasing companies have “traumatised” some South African finance professionals that have vowed to never lease equipment again. The main difference at InnoVent, Kumbula says, is the end of contract service and transparency. “We help you understand the contract up front, educate you during the process, assist with asset managements and give you notice about the end of the contract – instead of leaving you to manage on your own. We have a moral obligation beyond the contract to assist our clients in achieving the results they set out to achieve when leasing through us. In an effort to enhance this value for our clients and support a positive long term client relationship, we are the only leasing company in our segment who have a dedicated in-house remarketing division, Qrent. We are also the only ones with an in-house logistics team that helps clients return assets at the end of the lease period hassle free and avoiding any nasty so called damages bills ” About 30-40 percent of our clients have come to us from competitorsdue to our reputation as an ethical lease provider”. According to Kumbula, CFOs have a natural tendency to be conservative and he calls on them to keep an open mind for solutions like InnoVent which can improve their business. “As an individual I also like to own my assets. If I have an old phone, I keep it as a backup or give it to a family member,” Kumbula said. “But for a business that uses laptops or desktops it makes good financial sense to get a good leasing deal that enhances your financial and asset management. We now lease equipment to maybe 40 of the top 150 organisations in South Africa. We generally have a good success rate if we get in front of a CFO.”

20 March 2013

It is time for CFO South Africa

Since its launch in September 2011 CFO South Africa has become the leading networking platform for CFOs and finance professionals. The fast-growing online and offline community is moulded on a successful formula in The Netherlands, where the platform has become as essential for finance professionals as adding and subtracting. We spoke to Alex van Groningen, founder of the Dutch CFO and South African platforms about the opportunities in South Africa, his business model and the ambitious plans of CFO SA.

15 March 2013

Delphine Maidou, Allianz: "There is no way back"

“We’re investing in Africa, because we believe in the continent.” CFO SA encountered a lot of positivity about the growth of the African economy in the last week, but no testimony has been as outspoken as that of Delphine Maidou, CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in South Africa. And no testimony has been so significant – who else but a professional risk insurer with a worldwide footprint is better qualified to judge the economic prospects of Africa?

15 March 2013

Jo-Ann Pohl, CFO Standard Chartered Bank: Creating a CFO buddy system

A buddy system in which young CFOs get paired with experienced counterparts could greatly benefit the South African financial world. It is one of the many ideas that occupy the mind of Jo-Ann Pohl, the energetic and enthusiastic CFO of Standard Chartered Bank. On Friday Pohl met with Alex van Groningen and Melle Eijckelhoff of networking platform CFO SA to discuss the need and opportunities for more interaction between top financial professionals.

14 March 2013

Jonas Schofer, The Hackett Group: assisting CFOs

Many large South African companies can free up between 10 and 20 percent of their working capital, just by improving the quality of their processes. That is what Jonas Schofer of The Hackett Group said on Thursday when he met with CFO SA’s Melle Eijckelhoff. Over the last months Schofer has met with around 100 South African CFOs to discuss the proven, hands-on approach of Hackett, a global working capital consulting firm dedicated to delivering sustainable working capital improvement across business operations.

13 March 2013

FD Centre meets CFO SA: how to escape the whirlwind

Companies and CFOs of big firms find themselves increasingly caught in a whirlwind, where urgent matters get priority and other important issues get shelved, Rowan de Klerk on Wednesday explained to the founders of the networking platform CFO South Africa. De Klerk is the CEO of FD Centre, an innovative company that places respected, experienced Finance Directors with smaller organisations and in the CFO offices of larger companies.

13 March 2013

Karen Elstob, IQ Business: "Learning from other industries"

“There is a lot of value in making connections cross-industry,” said Karen Elstob, who is responsible for Business Development at IQ Business. On Wednesday Elstob met with the founders of CFO South Africa, the leading networking platform for financial professionals in South Africa. They discussed the challenges and opportunities in the financial sector. “Professionals can learn a lot from colleagues in other industries,” Elstobs said, emphasizing the significance of the CFO SA initiative.

13 March 2013

DJ Kumbula of Innovent welcomes opportunities CFO SA

“Give us 15 minutes in front of a CFO of a big corporation and we will convince them of our rental and asset management solutions,” said DJ Kumbula, CEO of Innovent. The Johannesburg-based company offers innovative alternatives to company-purchased capital equipment, saving money for clients and keeping their equipment up to date. The list of raving testimonials is impressive and includes a recommendation by Discovery, South Africa’s largest health insurer.

12 March 2013

CFO SA announces CFO awards 2014

CFO South Africa on Tuesday announced the establishment of a new prestigious yearly award to honour the best performing CFOs in the country. The fast-growing networking platform for financial professionals is embarking on a process to elect the best Chief Financial Officer of South Africa, culminating in a festive award ceremony in March next year. One of the first influential people who has committed to be on the jury is Victor Sekese, CEO of accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo.

21 January 2013

Sizwe Nkosi, CFO, Metmar Limited: `CFOs will need to improve their leading from the front and tap into the entrepreneurial sphere of their brains to remain relevant.`

Sizwe Nkosi is CFO of Metmar Limited, which has two main divisions: trading in commodities and investing in resource projects and companies. The commodities trading division focusses on international trading of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic products and chemicals. The investment division invests in mining and minerals projects and companies with the main intention to secure long term cost effective off-take agreements to be traded by the trading division. The main office of the company is in Bryanston with satellite offices in Boksburg, Germiston, Durban and Zimbabwe. Metmar Limited is listed on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

26 November 2012

Alan Winde - Ministry of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism: "There is definitely room for more co-operation between government and companies"

Alan Winde has been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature since 1999. During his first term, he served as Western Cape Provincial Finance Chairman and Executive Committee Member with the Democratic Party. Prior to being re-elected in April 2009, he served as the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Western Cape, as DA Spokesperson on Environment and Planning and as Deputy DA Spokesperson on Economic Development and Tourism.

22 October 2012

Bonface Ndawala - Group Financial Control Executive Globacom: `Key issues in the industry of finance at the moment would be the impact of the debt crisis in Europe and America`

The fastest growing telecommunication company in sub-Saharan Africa, Globacom provides world class cutting edge technology and designs telecom solutions to suit the needs of various publics, irrespective of size. As a company, Globacom recently made history as the first single company to build an $800 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable, known as Glo-1. It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; and it will decrease telecom costs and provide very reliable bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable.

12 October 2012

André Dippenaar - CFO BioTherm Energy: "It's adapt or die"

Founded in 2003, BioTherm Energy Proprietary Limited (BTE) is one of South Africa’s first independent power producers (IPP). In October 2007, BTE commissioned its 4.2 MW Biogas Project at the PetroSA refinery in Mosselbay in the Eastern Cape Province. This project was the first non-recourse project financed IPP deal to be concluded in South Africa. This project was also the first project to successfully register and monetise carbon credits in South Africa.

20 September 2012

Anoj Singh - CFO Transnet: "The CFO is playing the role of Chief Strategy Officer"

Transnet is the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods to each and every South African. The company is fully owned by the South African government but operates as a corporate entity aimed at both supporting and contributing to the country’s freight logistics network. It aims at developing South African industry, reducing the cost of doing business, while at the same time operating efficiently and profitably. Transnet employs 60,000 people and had a yearly turnover (for the financial year to March 31 2012) of R45 billion.

02 September 2012

Bikash Prasad - CFO Olam International (East & South Africa): "Forecasting and budgeting are more crucial than ever"

Bikash is qualified member and rank holder of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India, a member of Institute of Management Accountants, USA, MBA in Finance and DBF from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI). He has been awarded by the Finance Minister in India for top rank in the examination of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India. He is a recipient of government scholarship for the highest marks in board exams. He has also received scholarship from ICFAI for academic excellence.

27 August 2012

Frikkie Kotzee - CFO Kumba Iron Ore: "CFOs have had to switch their focus more to efficiency and cost control"

Kumba Iron Ore Limited is a leading value-adding supplier of high quality iron ore to the global steel industry. Kumba is a member of the Anglo American plc group, of which three of its mining businesses are based in South Africa: Platinum, Kumba Iron Ore and Thermal Coal. Kumba Iron Ore employs over 6300 people, of which nearly 75 work at the financial department of the company. The company was listed on JSE in November 2006.

06 August 2012

Ted Baxter - CFO Norton Rose: "Not forecasting and budgeting is simply burying your head in the sand like an ostrich"

Ted Baxter, CFO of Norton Rose South Africa, was educated in Harare, Zimbabwe and came to South Africa in 1982. After a short period in the banking industry with Nedcor, he joined a manufacturing company in the accounts dept and within 2 years became financial accountant. It was at this time that he embarked on his studies to become a Chartered Secretary and Administrator (A.C.I.S.) and qualified in 1988, being registered in United Kingdom and South Africa. He is also registered as a public practitioner with the Institute. Ted joined the Boart Longyear International Group, head office, and became the group's assistant company secretary, before being appointed as Admin Manager & a divisional director at Boart Longyear Research Centre, responsible for their financial and administrative affairs. The work was extremely varied exposing Ted to the world of technology and its application in business, the setting up of time and billing, special projects, costing systems and converting research from a cost centre to a profit centre, obtaining joint funding from the CSIR and the establishment of a research centre in Ireland through obtaining financing from the Irish government and the negotiation of tax incentives. Ted sat on a number of committees in the worldwide group including finance & internal audits and IT.

01 August 2012

Chantelle Ah Sing - CFO Sekunjalo: "The CFO has to find new methods to expand business in smarter ways to add to its growth and profitability"

Chantelle Ah Sing is CFO of Sekunjalo Investment Group. The Sekunjalo Group is a collation of companies and investments and funds. In 1997, Dr Iqbal Survé, a self-described medical doctor, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, and three of his comrades founded Sekunjalo, an investment holding company that sought to offer "a gentler capitalism" that stressed putting people before profits, and talent development as a means of raising the lives of previously disadvantaged South Africans. By 1999, the company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, making 36-year-old Survé the youngest CEO of a listed diversified conglomerate. From its inception, Sekunjalo only purchased controlling stakes in companies, hoping to empower black workers. Sekunjalo staffs nearly 600 employees, of which approximately 50 at the financial department of the company. The company has a yearly turnover of R440 million.

20 July 2012

Ronel van Dijk - CFO Spur Group: "Shortly after I took over I changed the way we report on our international businesses. That benefited us"

Ronel van Dijk, CFO of Spur Group, has a B.Rek (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch. She qualified as a CA(SA) in December 1997 and thereafter spent a year working in the London office of Arthur Andersen & Co. She returned to Cape Town as audit manager with the firm. Ronel joined Spur head office as group financial manager in January 2003. In January 2005, Ronel was appointed as chief financial officer and company secretary, and she was appointed to the board in September 2006.

16 July 2012

Zunaid Bulbulia - CFO MTN South Africa: `It has become a lot more stressful`

"I see the CFO becoming more strategic and crucial to overall business success than ever before; I already find myself playing a constructive role in parts of the business that were the exclusive domains of the functional executives concerned only a few short years ago." Zunaid Bulbilia, CFO of MTN South Africa, a company he joined prior to its commercial launch in January 1994 definitely feels it has become 'a lot more stressful'.

03 July 2012

Mariette Ebersohn - CFO Mango Airlines: `Goodbye bean-counter, hello unpredictability`

"The CFO position was traditionally a “bean-counting” job primarily responsible for various accounting, reporting and budgeting exercises. Nowadays, the role is much more unpredictable with a number of additional expectations raised beyond traditional technical accounting and regulatory field of expertise." After having interviewed a great number of male CFOs, we are proud to introduce to you the first female CFO in our series. We wonder - would she have a different view on the industry, her role, the world? We'll find out. Please meet Mariette Ebersohn, CFO of Mango Airlines - South Africa’s leading low-cost airline. The airline was launched on 30 October 2006 with bookings going on sale at midnight on the same date; its first flight took place only two weeks later. Mariette joined Mango’s team in August 2008.

28 June 2012

Richard Farber, CFO Discovery: "They don't teach you how to deal with people at university"

“I make a special effort to meet all new staff, within Discovery’s Finance division, before they are hired. Partly because I want to personally feel if they are ‘good’ new employees, but also because I find it very important that they feel welcome in the company. The fact that the CFO has taken out the time especially to meet them, contributes greatly to that sense of ‘feeling at home’.” Richard Farber, CFO of Discovery, is a firm believer of the open-door culture that is very vivid in Discovery. “If people have a problem, I want them to know my door is always open – and that my being the CFO does not form a barrier for stepping into my room and talking to me.”

25 June 2012

Craig Tingle - CFO Mediclinic: "I trust you. Don't drop me"

“Giving people and managers more power has proved very beneficial to the company.” Craig Tingle has a firm belief in giving people more accountability and responsibility, for them and the company to grow simultaneously. Craig (53) currently holds the position of Chief Financial Officer of Mediclinic International, the sixth largest listed private hospital group in the world with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It is supported by 21,000 staff members internationally.

20 June 2012

Pieter de Jager - CFO Andulela Investment Holdings: "I don't count my chickens before they hatch"

“Financial management in the manufacturing space is the most technically challenging arena for finance professionals,” says Pieter de Jager, Chief Financial Officer of Andulela Investment Holdings. He joined the board of Andulela Investment Holdings as CFO in 2008. Andulela is an investment holding company listed on the Equity Investment Instruments sector of the main board of the JSE Limited. The company employs over 550 people and seeks to hold primarily South African strategic investments in mining and metals companies.

15 June 2012

Henk Engelbrecht - CFO StratCorp: "The CFO needs to be a strategic thinker who understands the relationship between all the components of a business, its environment and the broader economy"

Henk Engelbrecht has only been acting as Group Financial Director of StratCorp since March 2011. It has been an interesting time so far. “I am a firm believer in not accepting the status quo and to always look at every aspect of the business critically to establish if there are better and more efficient ways of doing business.”

06 June 2012

Ian Blackie - CFO Wesgro: "Advances in technology will put even more pressure on the CFO"

“I would expect people to be able to tell me why they are doing something in a certain way. If the answer is “because we’ve always done it that way”, it really tells me a lot about that person and their attitude towards the company and their work.” Ian Blackie, CFO of Wesgro, was initially placed at Wesgro in November 2010 by Deloitte one a short term contract. He calls himself ‘very fortunate’ to have been offered the position of CFO of the company, as he had been looking for an opportunity to move to the Western Cape for some time already. When he was officially appointed CFO, he withheld from making any drastic changes thus far.

23 May 2012

Warren Prinsloo - CFO Jasco: "Either step up and play your part or step down"

"We have to ask ourselves how we as a country can compete with countries like South Korea and other Asian Tigers. Frankly, I don’t think we can," says Warren Prinsloo (39), CFO of Jasco Group. Warren is a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and has been a registered member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1999. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors South Africa and has more than twelve years of experience in finance and commerce. He completed his B.Com at Wits University in 2004 followed by his B.Acc in 2005. He passed the Board exam in 2006 and then completed his articles before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1998.

18 May 2012

Jannie Serfontein - CFO Eqstra: "A good CFO is able to see in the figures that which is not immediately obvious to others`

"Don't change something when it's working." That is exactly why Jannie Serfontein did not make any radical changes once he was appointed as CFO of Eqstra Holdings in January 2011. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria, he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1998. He started his career at Deloitte & Touche in 1999 and spent two years in the United States of America in Deloitte & Touche’s Washington DC practice as part of their global development programme.

14 May 2012

Top JSE performer's secret to success

Calgro M3, a relatively low-key residential development company listed on the JSE, has again come under the spotlight prompting interest over its meteoric rise on the local bourse in comparison to competitors like RBA and Sea Kay Holdings. CEO Ben Pierre Malherbe has attributed the company’s success partly to its fully integrated model in the property sector. Commenting specifically on Calgro’s results, he said, “We are converting our pipeline into construction and that is what you are seeing coming through. We bought our own agricultural land and we’ve got our own town planning company. We go through a process where we get the land zoned and these properties are now ready to go to market.”

10 May 2012

The impact of global economic trends on entrepreneurial activity in South Africa

As South Africa’s economy is susceptible to global trends, it is imperative that entrepreneurs are cognisant of both local and international economic trends, as they are undeniably going to play a role in the success of their company. This is according to economist Ulrich Joubert, speaking at the recent series of Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition workshops. According to Joubert, any economy operates within the framework of Government policies, be it fiscal or voluntary. “Every year when the time for the Budget speech arrives, businesses wait with abated breathe to absorb how the imminent rise in costs will impact them financially.”

19 April 2012

Will European banks destroy the world?

According to the IMF’s latest Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), one of the most pressing threats facing the global economy and the international financial system is the possibility of massive, synchronised deleveraging at European banks. Such deleveraging, which could, in the worst case scenario, run to the tune of $3.8tn (about 10% of European banking assets) if policymakers mess things up, could shave around 1.4% off GDP growth in the euro-zone by the end of next year, which would have terrible consequences for global growth, and for South African growth in particular, as SA’s economic fate is strongly tied to what happens in Europe. Given SA’s tepid growth, this is an ominous prospect. Let’s take a look at the problem, and what the IMF says policymakers should do about it.

18 April 2012

Philippe Georges - CFO Procter & Gamble: `Relationships with distributors not the smoothest`

It was only a few months ago when French Philippe Georges moved to Cape Town. After having lived and worked in several European countries for the past years, this was quite a change of scenery. Philippe was appointed Finance Director for Procter & Gamble in South and East Africa as of January 2012. Although he has only been installed in the position for three months, he already noticed differences between South Africa and Europe. “I find that the relationship between trade and manufacture that’s linked to our industry is less smooth in South Africa; issues regarding payments seem to be somewhat more conflictual and difficult here.”

17 April 2012

5 things managers need to know

By now, we know pretty well what works in business and what doesn’t. So why do managers waste so much time and money looking for new answers? Why do they ignore the tools that work, and mess with stuff that won’t make any difference to their results? Whatever business you run, there’s a handful of things you just have to get right in order to deliver growth and profits – and to stay in business. Everything else is a distraction. Here’s the critical few:

13 April 2012

David Ngobeni - CFO Shanduka: `Pulling in a Chinese shareholder`

“South Africa would be better off facing the challenges of the current economic situation with greater productivity and lesser restrictions.” David Ngobeni, CFO of an investment holding company, Shanduka Group, has a very clear vision on how laws in South Africa limit the country in its development. Supported by his great negotiation skills he hopes to bring his company to the top. After just (1,5) years as CFO, he seems to be heading that way steadily.

08 April 2012

Tjaart Kruger - CFO African Dawn Capital: `The sky is the limit`

“When you are working in limited resource environment as transpires in a turnaround situation it becomes counterproductive. The CFO will in future have to force himself to strategically focus on business,” says Tjaart Kruger, CFO of African Dawn Capital. “It has become a very complex and highly regulated environment in the listed environment.” Skills herein are vital, yet not always present. “A major weakness that I have encountered in education is that no amount of theory prepares the finance professional for the realities of business itself. Business acumen is that ingredient that makes a good finance professional great.”

26 March 2012

Sean Capazorio - CFO Aspen: `Plan your work and work your plan`

“Plan your work and work your plan.” That is one of the things Sean Capazorio needs to do every day to feel fulfilled in his work. In 2009 Sean was appointed Group CFO of Aspen, the leading pharmaceuticals manufacturer in the Southern hemisphere as well as Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. The company was listed on the JSE Ltd in 1998 and is included in its Top 40 Index. The Aspen Group has almost 6500 employees, of which nearly 3000 are based in South Africa. The Aspen Group has a presence in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Ireland, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Dubai, Germany and Hong Kong.

20 March 2012

Tryphosa Ramano - CFO PPC: `Always be up to date on risk management`

“In the past companies never forecasted on corporate governance – now with the financial crisis people realize that forecasting is key.” A lot has changed for the modern CFO, according to Tryphosa Ramano, CFO of PPC; leading supplier of cement in southern Africa. Tryphosa qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1994 and since then has gained experience working in a number of organisations including: Price Waterhouse Coopers, JCI, RMB Asset Managers, National Treasury, SAA and WIPHOLD.

08 March 2012

Christine Ramon - CFO Sasol: `Becoming a skeptic but value-adding agent of change`

“An orderly outcome to the European problems is likely to see the slow and unbalanced economic recovery continue, while a disorderly outcome could easily result in the world slipping back into recession. This uncertainty complicates any company’s business planning and Sasol is no exception.” Says Christine Ramon, CFO of Sasol Limited, one of South Africa's largest companies involved in mining, energy, chemicals and synfuels.

05 March 2012

SAICA drives transformation in Accountancy

Many current captains of industry almost invariably launched their business careers by qualifying as Chartered Accountants CA(SA). Open up any company annual report and many often than not the CEO and much of the board will have SAICA’s coveted CA (SA) designation behind their names. The classic route to the top of the corporate ladder is to qualify; gain hands-on experience with auditing firms or accountancy practices, and then enter the executive management ranks of JSE listed companies. While black chartered accountants remain so much scarcer than their white counterparts, the upper echelons of big business will continue being dominated by white faces.

30 January 2012

Jo Pohl - CFO Ubank: `CFO needs to adapt a far more pro-active and predictive approach`

Ubank (previously Teba Bank) appointed Jo-Ann Pohl to its Board as Chief Financial Officer in June 2007. Prior to her appointment, Jo – as she prefers to be called – who is a qualified chartered accountant was at Barclays Africa where she began as a Corporate Merchant Banking and Treasury Performance Consultant for Africa and the Middle East and then moved back into finance as a Regional Financial Controller before being promoted to Head of Finance for the Pan-African business. Ubank is the 9th largest Bank by assets with deposits of over R3bn and has become a well-recognised banking brand in the country.

23 January 2012

Wayne van Houten - CFO Esorfranki: `Work hard, believe in yourself and be patient`

Information technology will form an important part of the future role of the CFO in South Africa. That is what Wayne van Houten, CFO of Esorfranki, replies when asked how the role of the CFO of the future will change over the next decade. “Use of information technology for financial reporting, compliance and market intelligence will also play a greater role and will bring enhanced efficiency into our business environment.”

18 January 2012

Vodacom appoints chief financial officer

In accordance with paragraph 3.59 of the JSE Listings Requirements, shareholders are advised that Mr Ivan Dittrich (BComm Accting Honours, CTA, CA(SA)) has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer and executive director of Vodacom Group. He is expected to join the Group on or about 1 July 2012. Ivan joins the Group from Datatec where he has been the chief financial officer since May 2008 and executive director on the board of Datatec since March 2008. Prior to that Ivan held a number of senior executive positions for the past 12 years at Datatec including that of group corporate director, corporate finance manager and company secretary. He successfully managed Datatec`s dual listing in London in 2006. Prior to joining Datatec, Ivan worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and Deloitte in South Africa. Mr Peter Moyo, Chairman of Vodacom Group, stated that he welcomed the appointment and was looking forward to Ivan`s contribution on the Board.

18 January 2012

Global CFOs face tough balancing act investing across both developed and rapid-growth markets

Few CFOs think their company is effective at managing investments across markets with significantly different growth rates according to a new Ernst & Young report launched this week. Most also lack confidence in communicating this investment balance across divergent markets to the investor community. In a survey of over 750 CFOs world-wide, two thirds replied that they do not believe their organization is good at balancing resource allocation between developed and rapid-growth markets. A similar number find it difficult to convey an over-arching narrative to investors when balancing investments across these markets.

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