Optimising performance now key for local CFOs, says Deloitte

South African CFOs expect to spend much more of their time on performance optimisation, something that barely registered on their agendas last year. That is one of the conclusions of the Deloitte CFO Report 2015, which was published this week. In East Africa the most pressing issue on the radar is growth. West African CFOs are noticing a focus on the optimisation of their capital and funding structures.

Pictured is Lwazi Bam, CEO of Deloitte Africa

The Deloitte CFO Report 2015, now in its eighth edition, incorporates insights of 260 CFOs gleaned over an eight-week period in June and July 2015. "As a CFO undertaking one of the most demanding jobs in business today, it is important to benchmark one's decisions by gaining an understanding of what others in the CFO role are doing or thinking," says Roy Campbell, Africa CFO Programme Leader in the opening of this year's report.

Some of the key responses gleaned by Deloitte's research follow:

  • Estimated economic growth rates across all regions are weaker this year and over the next two years compared to 2014 predictions.
  • Currency volatility and overall exposure to currency devaluation are among top industry concerns.
  • The cost of capital is increasing.
  • South African CFOs are concerned about the domestic political situation.
  • Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are the most desirable destinations for expansion.
  • CFOs continue to spend more time in operator and steward roles than they do as catalysts or strategists.

With 2015 being touted as the year of the currency, CFOs are unlikely to take risks, Deloitte concludes. Their time will be tied up in keeping processes tight, optimising costs and making their organisations more efficient. In difficult times, a focused strategy and tight cost controls are key to assisting the organisation survive and even prosper where others might fail.

To compile the report, CFOs across Southern, East and West Africa were asked for their views on a range of topics, including the current business climate, the availability and cost of funding, cash flow and investment priorities, expansion plans, future financial expectations, strategic intent, and company strategy. Deloitte then examined the feedback and compiled the report of findings.

Read the full report here.

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