Peter Duffy - CFO 1time: `Budgeting and forecasting are still key aspects of the financial role`

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1time Holdings - a diversified aviation group - was listed on the Johannesburg Altex Stock Exchange on the 14th of August 2007. The company has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2004 and is the 100% shareholder in 1time Airline, 1time Charters, Aeronexus Technical and Aeronexus Corporate. Many people wonder what the name of the company reflects – well, here it is. The name 1time, is a reflection of the South African soul of the company. In South Africa, the phrase "one time!" is a colloquialism meaning "for real!" Within six years of existence, 1time grew from a 4-man company to a JSE-listed one, staffing over 600 employees and a yearly turnover of R1,2 billion.

Leading the financial department of the company is Peter Duffy. Peter studied CA at UNISA before doing his articles at PKF in Cape Town. After articles he spent four years in London working for a variety of banks and consultancies. In 2006, he came back to Johannesburg where he worked for two years at Stanley Security Solutions as Financial Manager. He then moved over to Altech as their Financial Director for two years before joining 1time in April 2011

1) What do you enjoy most about your job?

Due to the nature of the airline industry I find that the business landscape is changing on a daily basis which makes the job fast paced and exciting. No day is ever the same.

2) How has the role of the CFO changed in the last ten years?

I believe the role of the CFO has dramatically changed in the last 10 years with CFO's moving from the function of reporting results to being far more active in the operations in order to understand the financial impact of decisions.

3) How do you see the role of the CFO evolving in the next say five to ten years?

With the increased legislative requirements currently being implemented, the importance of having a strong CFO with a sound understanding of this legislature will be vital to any company.

4) Would you say that accurate forecasting and budgeting is still feasible for a financial department in today's tumultuous financial markets? How do you deal with the volatility?

Budgeting and forecasting are still key aspects of the financial role, however due to the sudden changes that can happen in market conditions, budgeting and forecast cycles have been reduced, moving from the historical annual budgeting process to the rolling forecast model, where budgets are changed monthly and business decisions made in order to adapt on an ongoing basis.

5) What do you see as the greatest challenge for South African companies in the global economic situation and for your industry in particular?

The greatest challenge I see for South African companies is obtaining and retaining skills. In our particular industry, other than skills shortages, our biggest risks are increased airport taxes imposed by ACSA as well as the fluctuating oil price.

6) Which skill do you think a finance professional should master to be most successful in his work?

Be practical and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.

7) Which achievement or project in your business career are you most proud of?

I have had many ups and downs of my career and it is hard to isolate just one.

8) Which education would you recommend for a successful career in business, and why?

I would recommend a CA as it gives a good grounding and exposure to a number of different types of business and how they operate.

9) What vital piece of advice would you give today's young ambitious finance professionals?

Ensure that whatever you do for the company, that you add value.

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category: Interviewing the CFO

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