Raisibe Morathi - CFO Nedbank: `The strategic role of a CFO has a significant scope`

Being a woman in such a 'powerful' position is still somewhat 'different', as she experiences. "It will never go away so I do not spend my life stressing about things I can never change no matter how I wish to." And powerful, she is.

Raisibe Morathi is CFO of Nedbank, giving guidance to about 900 employees on the financial department of the bank, a company she joined as early as in 1994. She rejoined the bank 15 years later, in 2009, when she was appointed CFO. Her experience in financial services offers a broad range: she has great experience in investment banking (Nedbank, HSBC & AMB), was development finance lender at IDC and even took a short stint in insurance. Nedbank currently employs about 29 000 people nationwide.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
When it comes to what I enjoy most, there really are too many things to mention! However the finance role is a key engine which integrates the business and I enjoy the broad access and knowledge of our entire business

How has the role of the CFO changed in the last ten years?
I feel it has moved from financial consolidation and reporting to strategic positioning in the busness. The manner in which financials are presented and communicated is aligned with business strategy, hence any two competitors will never have exactly the same financials

How do you see the role of the CFO evolving in the next say five to ten years?
The strategic role of a CFO has a significant scope and will remain relevant. The technological developments make production of financials more agile and near real time therefore requiring better MIS and decision support from the CFO into the Board, Shareholders and other key decision makers in business.

Which achievement or project in your business career are you most proud of?
Nedbank Group won 3 financial reporting awards from various reputable institutions such as Investment Analyst Society, Chartered Secretaries, Nkonki/Financial Mail, etc. for each of the 2 years in a row, ie in 2010 and 2011.

Which skill do you think a finance professional should master to be most successful in his work?
I would say there are two key skills that are vital for success in this field: (1) Knowledge of business and (2) financial skills.

Which education would you recommend for a successful career in business?
I would recommend three educations: Chartered Accountant, MBA (business focus) and Engineering.

Is it an outdated cliché, or do you perhaps still notice any difference or perhaps 'obstacles' being a woman in this position?
It is part of human nature born from the natural differences both physically and in preferences between men and women. It will never go away so I do not spend my life stressing about things I can never change no matter how I wish to. The intensity of most instances gender bias is dependent on the maturity and EQ of people you interact with, making this even more of a standard life's feature. This topic is like driving in traffic, it will always be there..
What is your biggest lesson learnt?
I have experienced that you will always learn from any experience no matter how good or bad.

What vital piece of advice would you give young finance professionals?
A successful professional career has no quick fixes or short cuts, you just have to do "whatever it is you aspire to be" for many, many, many more hours to widen the width and depth of your experience.

Who is your role model in life and why?
There is a large number of individuals for whom I am grateful that they have always made time available for me to learn from them, through observation and communication.

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