With so many companies having multinational or multi-provincial operations, it's unsurprising that "willingness to travel" is a headline job requirement for CFOs. Four finance executives who apply their strategic thinking to the business travel journey as much to the destination, shared their travel tips and tricks with Kate Ferreira.
Jaco Maritz is the chief operating officer (COO) of software development company Syspro (he was previously featured on CFO.co.za when he was the CFO). The company was started in South Africa, and is headquartered in Johannesburg, but has grown substantially and now has operations or offers support in Kenya, Asia, Australian, Canada and UK.
As a result, Jaco flies internationally often, and “most of the time,” he says, “this means travelling across time zones with very little recovery time. There are four things I pack right away, apart from my passport.” First on the list is his prescription sleeping pills. “When flying across time zones, it is more important to get some sleep rather than watching movies. The sleeping pills prescribed by my doctor work very effectively for six hours, but that is it; It does not leave me feeling like I finished the flight’s whiskey collection like some of the ‘over the counter’ pills do,” he says.
Next on the list is his noise-cancelling Bose 35 over-the-ear headphones. “I am sure people reading this who travel a lot can already hear that monotone sound of the airplane cabin. The headphones take enough of it away, even without listening to music, and they are compatible with most airlines entertainment systems.”
“It is also a good ‘leave me alone’ device when you have a very talkative seat companion,” he adds.
Jaco keeps all his documents and tickets in “all-in-one man’s purse” he bought from Woolworths. “Yes, I know. Too much information,” he jokes. “But it can hold my cards, my passport, my ticket, my cell phone, a pen, and landing card. It prevents that frantic search just before you land and the silent counting that you have everything.” The downside of this strategy though is that he’s keeping all his proverbial eggs in one basket. “If lose it, then I am in trouble, so it stays very close to me on the flight, and stays in the safe at the hotel when I am at my destination.”
Finally, Jaco is a self-described “Airmune junkie”, dosing up on the supplement on trips to try and prevent getting sick “sometimes without success”.