Do the right things, right, says Cell C CFO Zaf Mahomed

He says that trust is built through better governance on a foundation of transparency and accountability.

“As the business world evolves in the digital age, so too has the role of finance executives. Finance teams and professionals need to be multi-talented and able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing business landscape as work practices and duties are evolving,” says Cell C CFO, Zaf Mahomed, who will be speaking at the Finance Indaba on 16 and 17 October. 

His sessions, respectively titled ‘The Real CFO’ and ‘Forget scorecards, embrace real transformation’ will be in Ballroom 2 of the Sandton Convention Centre. 

While numbers provide good insight as the ‘health pulse’ of a business at a certain time, Zaf believes astute finance professionals have a role to play in translating these numbers and assisting operational executives in making decisions linked to the future of the business. 

He says in the past finance positions were often seen as the ‘spreadsheets and numbers people’ only, but today diverse thinking from a professional finance team enables new insights that could help businesses flourish in the digital age.

Zaf says diverse thinking should be encouraged by bringing together individuals from different age groups, academic backgrounds, cultures and geographies. “Diversity adds value in the form of new ideas, skills and capabilities that will strengthen the finance team and the organisation as a whole. These diverse teams lead to inclusive innovation, which in turn could lead to new revenue streams for the business of the future.”

A team of diverse finance executives is also well placed to guide organisations in turnaround situations. 

Zaf’s view is that good governance guides difficult decision-making, while finance executives can act as catalysts to ensure successful decision-making about the long-term success of the business, especially in tough economic times. 

“It is imperative for finance executives to understand the role of corporate governance which acts as the compass of the business, and to ensure that solid governance permeates each level of a business. One needs to start at the bottom and get it right, first,” he says.

In conclusion, he says that this has been his focus area at Cell C since his appointment in December 2018, where he is playing an active role to right-size the business with a focus on governance structures.

“Trust is gained through better governance and this is in turn is built on a foundation of transparency and accountability.”