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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.

20 December 2011

Bennie van Rooy - CFO JD Group: `Strategic targets will be broken down into components`

JD Group wants to “to be world-class in our fields of expertise”. It is strategically positioned in Southern Africa as a leading diversified mass consumer financier and a differentiated furniture, appliance, electronic goods, home entertainment and office automation retailer. The Group primarily targets the mass middle market with a secondary focus on the top and bottom end market segments. The Group operates 1138 stores across Southern Africa and Poland. JD Group was listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1986 and has a yearly turnover of R15.7bn, made possible by over 25.000 staff members.

19 December 2011

Tyrone Soondarjee - CFO Sasfin Bank: `Use your position to improve quality decision matters in defining the future of a company`

Supplement your qualifications with solid practical experience and ensure continuous professional development to stay relevant in a fast changing global economy. That is the vital advice given to you by Tyrone Soondarjee, CFO of Sasfin Bank, when asked what vital piece of advice he would give ambitious finance professionals who 'want to make it big' in the industry. Like himself, in a way.

15 December 2011

Peter Duffy - CFO 1time: `Budgeting and forecasting are still key aspects of the financial role`

1time Holdings - a diversified aviation group - was listed on the Johannesburg Altex Stock Exchange on the 14th of August 2007. The company has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2004 and is the 100% shareholder in 1time Airline, 1time Charters, Aeronexus Technical and Aeronexus Corporate. Many people wonder what the name of the company reflects – well, here it is. The name 1time, is a reflection of the South African soul of the company. In South Africa, the phrase "one time!" is a colloquialism meaning "for real!" Within six years of existence, 1time grew from a 4-man company to a JSE-listed one, staffing over 600 employees and a yearly turnover of R1,2 billion.

13 December 2011

Bafokeng reaps rewards of persistence in R5.4bn deal

One of the measures of a good business book is how much you remember years after reading it. By that measure, Mark McCormack book on Negotiating rates highly. The founder of the world’s dominant sports agency IMG shared many of his experiences, all of which led to the conclusion that the best deal was one where everyone walks away with a smile on their faces. Never screw over the other side, he advised. It will always come back to bite you. The best deals are those when everyone feels they have given up a little more than they were able to take.

09 December 2011

Garth Saunders - CFO SAB Miller: `As a modern leader you need to lead by example`

CFO South Africa had the pleasure of interviewing a large number of CFOs of leading South African companies. Today we meet Garth Saunders, CFO of SAB Miller, South Africa’s premier brewer and leading distributor of beer and soft drinks. The company operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion liters. The company has a yearly turnover of R40bn, including a R7bn profit.

06 December 2011

Vodacom recognised as Best Performer on JSE SRI Index

Vodacom was today recognised as a Best Performer company on the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index. This accolade was achieved in the low environmental impact category, and Vodacom was the only ICT company to be awarded this status. Best Performers are companies that meet their relevant environmental threshold, their core indicators for societal, governance and related sustainability concerns as well all climate change indicators. The Index philosophy is founded on the principals of the triple bottom line, namely environmental, social and economic sustainability, underpinned by robust corporate governance.

06 December 2011

Paul Prinsloo - CFO PwC South Africa: `Keeping financial operations at the highest standard is vital`

The role of the CFO has changed from scorekeeper, care talker and treasurer to strategic business partner, communicator, financier, finance operator, compliance steward, run rate monitor, talent manager, financial envoy. These are the words of wisdome spoken by Paul Prinsloo, CFO of PwC South Africa, South Africa’s office of the world's largest professional services firm. PwC South Africa staffs over 4,200 people nationwide, of which 100 employees in the financial department. The firm locally has a turnover of more than R3 billion per annum.

02 December 2011

Break up the big-four auditors?

The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) has decided not to comment on European moves to curb the dominance of the big-four auditing firms but standards boss Ewald Muller says EU commissioner Michel Barnier is “smoking his socks”. Spokesperson Bontle Sikwe said Saica has nothing to say. The accounting institute is in the invidious position of having the Big Four and thousands of smaller members. The Big Four pay by far the biggest subscriptions and contribute the lion’s share of Saica’s vital Thuthuka educational project. But while Saica won’t comment Ewald Müller, senior executive, standards, told me Barnier was on “a one-man crusade” and “over the top”.

01 December 2011

Lawrence Weitzman - CFO Business Connexion: `Today's CFO is much more of a business partner than the gate keeper`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. This time we get to talk to Lawrence Weitzman, CFO of Business Connexion, Africa’s leading ICT Solutions provider. Business Connexion is a JSE-listed company employing about 6500 people. Lawrence is responsible for the finance and commercial departments, staffing about 200 people. BCX will have revenue of R6bn in 2012 at a 6% operating margin.

30 November 2011

Iain Bennie - CFO Stanlib: `Cash is King!`

Stanlib is the largest unit trust manager in the country and one of the leading asset and wealth managers in South Africa and emerging markets. The company is based in Johannesburg and has a footprint in seven African countries. The company was formed in 2002 when Liberty and Standard Bank’s asset management and wealth businesses merged. It is the biggest unit trust company in South Africa, managing assets for over 350,000 clients and employing almost 550 employees directly. We had the honor of enjoying a one-on-one with Iain Bennie, CFO of Stanlib.

30 November 2011

SA's signals on Walmart 'puzzle investors'

Foreign investors are confused by conflicting messages from the government on the Walmart deal, says Gauteng economic development MEC Qedani Mahlangu. In May, the Competition Tribunal authorised Walmart to buy a 51% holding in Massmart , subject to the companies setting up a fund to assist local suppliers and manufacturers. Three Cabinet ministers are appealing against the approval, while Ms Mahlangu is in talks to access the companies’ enterprise fund. "We are saying different things at different times. We are not clear about what we want to do," Ms Mahlangu said yesterday. She was in talks with Walmart about how the Gauteng government would use some of the R100m enterprise development fund to boost young entrepreneurs and small business. Walmart spokesman Brian Leroni yesterday confirmed discussions with "MECs and government officials. I cannot say I know the details of the talks." Ms Mahlangu said it was "extremely unfortunate" that Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson were challenging the Walmart deal, because "we are sending confusing messages to investors". "In talking to investors, the interests of SA should not be compromised because as much as we seek to see the country growing, we should not compromise issues of jobs and economic growth." President Jacob Zuma this year announced that almost R20bn had been allocated for job creation, matched by a similar amount in tax breaks for new business projects and the expansion of the manufacturing sector. Ms Mahlangu said government departments should make those incentives "practical" and ensure that they benefited investors. They could not be referee and player at the same time. "SA needs the world to believe that the country is open for business." Neren Rau, CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday the chamber was pleased with the acknowledgement of messages being mixed — a concern for local investors too. This article was previously published on BusinessDay and written by Setumo Stone Category: guest article

23 November 2011

7 Tips to discover the true candidate

"I see right through you." If only we could... Today’s financial world is – to say the least – a tumultuous place. Can we still trust it, really? If we are to believe critics, all is to blame on finance professionals lacking integrity. Clearly, we would never claim that finance professionals in fact lack certain ethics, but let’s face it – you need a bit more than just being a good boy or girl to cut it in today’s corporate world. It is a thin line between being sincere and being a snake. Thin, yet crucial. Tmes have changed and with it also the importance of being sincere more than a snake. Whether it is just a temporary thing or a panic reaction to numb the critics, in practice this means that ethics and integrity are increasingly more important for companies and institutions when reviewing new employees. The financial world needs to get rid of the stigma of its current imago, in which only money and power reign.

22 November 2011

Chris Beukman - CFO Deloitte: `Good people skills are a necessary requirement to be successful`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Mr. Chris Beukman, CFO of Deloitte, one of South Africa’s leading professional services firms staffing over 3700 employees. Chris matriculated in 1968 in Pretoria and completed BCom (Acc) (Hons) at University of Pretoria in 1973. He joined Pretoria based accounting practise Van Geusau, Coetzee & De Wit as a trainee accountant in 1973 and was qualified as Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)) in 1975. In 1978 he was appointed as a partner in the above practise, which was eventually incorporated into Deloitte & Touche through a series of mergers.

16 November 2011

Norman Thomson - CFO Woolworths: `Courage and integrity are key characteristics`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Norman Thomson, CFO of Woolworths, one of South Africa’s largest chain of retail stores. Woolworths staffs 18000 people, of which 240 at the financial department of the Johannesburg based head office. Woolworths currently has a yearly turnover of R25.8bn and makes R2.3bn profit before tax (pbt). After having completed a B Com at Rhodes University, Norman pursued a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. After serving in one or two roles as Finance Manager and Finance Director of a Woolworths group subsidiary, Norman moved into the world of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. It was in this capacity that he joined Woolworths 20 years ago, to make a comeback into the world of finance only a decade later, when he was appointed Finance Director of Woolworths ten years ago.

14 November 2011

Four faces of the CFO

Today’s CFOs are under more pressure than ever. Economic uncertainty, increased regulatory requirements, financial restatements and increased investor scrutiny have forced them into the spotlight. At the same time, they face never-ending pressure to cut costs, grow revenue, ensure controls, and are even put at personal risk for the company’s mistakes. Given these pressures, it’s no wonder that CFO turnover is on the rise and the role is under greater scrutiny, internally and externally.

10 November 2011

Alex Smith - CFO Altron: "Yes You Can"

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Alex Smith, CFO of Altron, a large South African investment holding company. Altron currently staffs around 13.000 people, and has a turnover of R23 billion. Alex joined Altron in 2006 and appointed to the CFO role in August 2008. Scottish Alex was trained as a CA in Edinburgh, Scotland with Price Waterhouse, after having done a law degree at Edinburgh University. He came out to South Africa on a two year secondment in 1995 and “never looked back!” He worked for PwC in South Africa through to 2005, spending eight years in their transaction services department doing a wide range of financial due diligences, before moving to Altron at the beginning of 2006 as Group Financial Manager.

04 November 2011

Vodacom announces changes to Group Board of Directors

Vodacom today announced changes to its Group Board of Directors. Tom Boardman has stepped down from the Board with effect from 30 October 2011, in the light of his other commitments. Vodafone Group Commercial Director Morten Lundal has stepped down from the Board with effect from 3 November 2011 and has been replaced by Ms Karen Witts (MA, ACA (UK)) with effect from 4 November 2011. Karen is the Regional Chief Financial Officer of Vodafone: Africa, Middle East, Asia and Asia Pacific. Karen joined Vodafone on 1 June 2010 and was the former Chief Financial Officer of BT Retail and Managing Director: Enterprises at British Telecom.

03 November 2011

Bruce Sneddon - CFO Auction Alliance: `Finance will only be one part of the role of the future CFO`

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Next in our series is Bruce Sneddon, CFO of Auction Alliance, one of South Africa’s leading auction services groups, staffing 175 people and a turnover of R300m. Bruce joined Auction Alliance in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer in December 2009. As a qualified Chartered Accountant, Mr. Sneddon completed both his under- and post-graduate studies at UCT, followed by his articles at Deloitte. Prior to his position at Alliance Group, Bruce acted as CFO at Integer, Finance Executive at Truworths, CEO and former Group Financial Director at Appleton, as well as being Group Accountant for Norwich Holdings. 1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

02 November 2011

7 Essential habits for personal effectiveness

Ever heard of the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey? You should! We think it is one of the best, well, at least one of the best selling management books ever – an impressive 22 million copies were sold so far. Here’s the first vital lesson; the difference between being effective and being efficient. Being effective means doing the right things, whereas being efficient implies doing things right. What do you find important? Which are your personal values? Those are the typical questions you need to be able to answer in order to do things effectively, to be effective. The closer you are to your personal values, the easier you will find it to master Covey’s 7 habits of high effectiveness.

26 October 2011

Paul O'Flaherty - CFO Eskom: `Companies have great strategies but fail in executing them appropriately`

CFO South Africa is interviewing a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. From now on, we will publish them on our site regularly. Next in our series is Mr. Paul O’Flaherty, CFO of Eskom, a company staffing 42,000 people, which he joined in January 2010. He was appointed to the Board as executive director responsible for the finance function overseeing nearly 3.000 employers in the finance and shared services departments.

28 September 2011

South African CFO remains cautious

Although the crisis in Europe and the United States might seem far away, they are very, very close. South African CFOs are very aware of that, proves the 2011 Deloitte CFO Survey. “South African CFOs are cautious about the future, perhaps wisely so.” The survey reveals that while the 2009 recession may be over, CFOs are only dipping their toes into the growth pool, while keeping a careful eye on costs and margins. The aftermath of the financial crisis has brought with it an additional regulatory burden which is at risk of stifling growth.

30 November 1999

Compleo Business Solutions and Compleo Print choose SAP Business One best practices across entire group

Having originally implemented SAP Business One in 2006 within Compleo Print, it became clear that the remaining businesses in the group were not enjoying as rich a functionality, which led to concerns over data integrity and reporting capability, as well as a distinct lack of integration. An almost fatal server crash in 2011 prompted the business as a whole to review its ERP technology infrastructure in order to ensure business continuity long into the future. Founded in 1999 as a strategic Xerox partner, Prodoc Business Solutions, recently renamed Compleo Business Solutions, has played a key role in positioning Xerox as a leading brand and supplier of quality printing equipment and related consumables in South Africa. A growing market, together with the opportunity to expand to a more holistic offering, saw the launch of Prodoc Business Systems, embracing a more service focused approach. In 2006, Compleo Print, a digital print company, was also launched. Operating in a B2B environment, the group works with a wide range of companies across multiple business sectors including agriculture, healthcare and government, to name but a few. “Xerox products range from efficient desktop devices right up to large, sophisticated multi-million Rand production print equipment,” explains Richard Attwell (pictured), founder and managing director. This se

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