From the MD: Building a community of practice for CFOs in 2016

In my first 100 days as the MD of CFO South Africa I have been struck by the number of incredible professionals that make up the South African finance eco-system. Finance professionals who reach the top rung, regardless of whether they work in large listed entities, private companies, the public sector or any number of public, academic or non-profit organisations, have by and large arrived there on the back of their finance skills (to state the obvious). But what has struck me most is how many of these professionals are good people too. The very best are filled with humility, courage, conviction, an appropriate dose of vulnerability and very often a clear sense of purpose.

By Graham Fehrsen, Managing Director @CFOSouthAfrica

Another quality I have encountered among CFOs is grit. This isn't easy to define but I think it's the will to see things through, to work harder, to stay curious, to pursue answers, to remain honest and true to yourself and perhaps most importantly, to put people first.

Over the last 100 days I have spent many hours with finance leaders - both in their work spaces and by hosting learning and networking events. What I have learnt is that whatever unique circumstances conspire to bring out the best in a CFO, the consistent theme and measure for success is the impact they have on people inside the business. I have observed how essential it is to be able to influence and lead a community. Finance leaders are now expected to be exceptional business partners and inspire people to pull in one direction - while maintaining their role as masters of the finance function.

As we bring these professionals together through CFO South Africa, it has been hugely rewarding to see how human capital, culture, change and technology are driving themes for finance professionals and how much appetite there is to learn from each other, ask difficult questions and grow in the right directions.

We are excited about the year ahead and the potential of the people and platform to support the needs of the finance leaders of the future - a future we're co-creating. We are a people-centred organisation and our vision to develop the CFO community across Africa is taking shape. Our ambition to create communities of practice that help CFOs individually and collectively solve some of the most pressing issues of our time continues to grow.

Through our fast-growing finance community we will continue to offer learning and engagement opportunities: master classes, roundtables and discreet meet ups with the best minds in the business. There is also the critical role of our partners who enable these opportunities and the wider ecosystem to flourish and we are proud to be associated with the organisations that set - and continuously raise - the bar in this field.

To accommodate this growth, we're convening the Finance Indaba Africa which will be the biggest gathering of finance professionals on the continent.

As MD, my role is to listen to and accommodate your needs as finance professionals and make sure that you stay ahead of the curve. Don't hesitate to get in touch and I look forward to meeting more of you, and supporting your professional and commercial ambitions.

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