Finance Indaba hears that dated tech puts your organisation at risk


Criminals will always be smarter if the right measures are not put in place.

Speaking at the 2019 Financial Indaba, Dominic Nel, chief revenue officer of SurTech, local distributor for Galvanize, expressed his thoughts on companies that don’t move with times and rely on dated systems, which put them at risk of being looted.

“If we don’t utilise technology in our organisations, we will always be at a disadvantage.”

He adds that every time an organisation hires someone to solve a problem, they are wasting resources, because people make mistakes. They should rather use technology, which is more reliable.

Where does it happen?

Windows of opportunity exist in every organisation. Surprisingly, businesses don’t protect 73 percent of their critical data, in an instance of “Ostrich Syndrome”, which people stick their heads in the sand about the real risk that their organisations are facing. Dominic says there are three O’s that indicate the windows of opportunity with regards to data:

  • Opportunity of volume of data,
  • Opportunity of complex data, and
  • Opportunity of visibility of the data (snippets of data).

How are these weaknesses found and blocked?

  • Scaling
  • Audit algorithms iterations (RPAs [bots] will go into your system and review data), and
  • Robotic process automation that gathers and cleanses your data, checks 24/7, looks at risk in your data through risk assessment.
  • Internal audit project management by tracking progress against project plan.

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Why do organisations tolerate financial crime?

One of the biggest reasons organisations tolerate financial crime is because people who have power and influence use their resources to influence other people’s behaviour by paying them for their participation in illegal activities. 

Another reason is corrupt conduct from within the organisation, by people who have a deep knowledge of the company’s systems. These individuals collude in siphoning monies out of the organisation. 

Organisations that were victims of financial crimes 

  • A former employee of MTN stole R54 million from the telecomms giant: there are 90 transactions recorded where she transferred money into her personal bank account, and there are currently sixteen cases of fraud against her.
  • At Steinhoff, more than R107 billion was stolen by its own executives. They did this by creating fictitious companies, or “unicorn accounts”.
  • Emfuleni Local Municipality is another victim of reported financial crime. An employee there got R1 million in kickbacks/bribes for selling land belonging to the municipality; he later hired six family members unlawfully.
  • Bitou Municipality in the greater Plettenberg Bay area was fleeced by a municipal manager who used R4 million for his own security detail, and later took his entire family to France on holiday for a whopping R1 million. 

The take away message here is that leaders obviously have a responsibility not to abuse their power and steal, but if they are corrupt, there should always be preventative and reactive systems available to rely on as a back-up.

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