Heleen Wright of WTS Business Services talks about the exponential impact of technology
"We will play a leading role in supporting financial specialists to bridge the gap between business and advanced technology."
Tell us about WTS Business Services, how you work and what you offer.
“WTS Business Services is in partnership with the largest international tax network, WTS, and offers various business services which compliment company audit and tax. It is a major differentiator for us because we are never in a situation where there is a conflict in providing both the services required as well as being the auditor.”
“We also provide services outside of finance. For example, we look across the business at all the process efficiencies, such as automation or simplification, ensuring that the focus is on value adding benefits. Our approach to clients is to be a trusted partner and we’ve been very successful using that philosophy."
"With regard to international clients, their needs may include how to set up a local company and we assist by implementing customised processes and systems. Once they’ve experienced our services, they also request that we provide them with legal advice or market intelligence, B-BBEE advisory services and so on. Our service offering aims to provide a full range of services that any business might require.”
“Our services are also supported by a diverse portfolio of high-value products. Recently we secured the international distribution rights for a corporate governance tool which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first tool of its kind. It is receiving international traction and revolutionising our local market. The tool allows assessment of 32 business areas to determine the level of governance in place and there is a consolidated view using a single dashboard of the entire company or group’s governance ratings. Additionally, we have a budget, reporting and analysis tool architected in South Africa and partly developed in the US. It is based on a super-powered data warehouse which supports multi-functional data integration and reporting. We are proud of what we offer to the market which are highly advanced and revolutionary products and services implemented by a leading professional team.”
How do you see the company and its offering evolving over the next two to five years?
“Our solutions will have a stronger AI, predictive analysis and robotics element. Bringing AI into a business gives a competitive edge and commercial advantage, by taking market and historic information and predicting possible outcomes or scenarios and providing alternative insights. Therefore, our products will be cutting edge from an AI point of view. We will also have a stronger focus on integrated solutions because finance no longer encompasses only finance. In addition, we will look at solutions that will benefit the industry as a whole – resolving issues for the wider industry. We also have evaluation, reporting and forecasting tools which track business performance and overall impact.”
What value does your organisation offer to those in the finance profession?
“In the next five years there will be technology changes with exponential impact. We will play a leading role in supporting CAs and financial specialists to not only bridge the gap between business and advanced technology but also to optimise business using advanced technology. For example, what are the pitfalls with new technology, what are the dependencies, what makes sense to implement in your business to realise a return? That’s the greatest value.”
Please share your insights into the future of the finance profession and how you see this taking shape in coming years.
“The finance industry is faced with tough challenges at the moment, but there’s a saying that says rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. I think that is where the industry is at. Secondly, I think this is the most exciting time since I’ve started working because the technology is changing, there’s AI and robotics, and we have far better tools with which to do our work. The type of work we can do is on a much higher level because the majority of mundane work will be taken over by automation. The scope for us to add value is now bigger than ever.” ”
Why did you decide to partner with the Finance Indaba and what are your expectations of the event?
“We believe we’ve got a key role to play in making the environment simpler for finance people in two ways: the products that we offer and the support and service role we provide to CAs. Many finance professionals are so busy that they’ll never find time to embrace and implement some of the new technologies – you cannot be an expert in everything. We can help with that. Our tools are carefully selected. We give people peace of mind, something to back up what they are saying. A practical example from the tools is that these provide evidence and/or supporting detail to focus discussions with boards and senior management on the facts or issues and not on the accuracy thereof.”
“WTS Business Services is new in the South African market, therefore the Indaba is an opportunity to inform people about the international brand (present in more than 130 countries). It’s an opportune time to be entering the market as an alternative and independent choice to audit firms.”