Ryno Matthee is Director: Finance and Performance Management at Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012.
Which skills do you think a finance professional should master to be successful in his/her work?
We are adapting to life of increased economic uncertainty and volatility. The game has changed. We need to be more nimble in how we react to this 'new reality' and we have to prepare our organisations to plan smarter and respond quicker. Adaptability combined with a firm hand on your organisation's strategy is thus critical.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the people I work with and the constant problem solving challenges presented given my role.
What do you find most challenging about your position?
I find keeping my eye on the future the most challenging aspect of this position. We easily get distracted by things that are urgent but not important.
Which achievement or project in your business career are you most proud of?
While in an angel-funded private equity business we created an end-to-end, vertically integrated portfolio for our client through the acquisition of an OEM down to a Tier 3 component part manufacturer - not the most important achievement but a very interesting piece of work.
Accurate forecasting and budgeting - is that still feasible for a financial department in today's tumultuous financial markets?
It is. Understanding past performance and translating that insight into forward-looking targets that align with the corporate strategy is key to driving shareholder value - certainly a key responsibility of the finance function.
Uncertainty, volatility and risk are here to stay; hence, a broader planning perspective is needed to help strike the right balance between short-term profitability and long-term value creation.
Organisations are using scenario based planning to complement existing planning / forecasting processes. The primary focus is to equip organisations to manage uncertainty more effectively.
How do you see the role of the CFO evolving in the next five to ten years?
The role of the CFO should evolve to reflect increasing demands on an organisation. I am anticipating a greater need for CFO's to jointly define the organisational intent with the executive leadership while providing key financial planning and performance management insights through the execution of the strategy.
In addition, the regulatory environment in which organisations operate will become increasingly complex and will require astute financial leadership combined with a strong grasp of stakeholder management.
In other words, the CFO must be able to interpret and translate complex information and deliver a concise, simple message to internal and external stakeholders.
How do you perceive the status of cooperation and lifelong learning between finance professionals in South Africa?
More forums like these where professionals can connect and share (within the construct of our regulatory requirements) would add to professional development.
What do you see as the greatest challenge for South African companies in the current global economic situation - and for your industry in particular?
Keeping talent engaged and on board while staying the course on their strategic intent.
Who is your role model or mentor? And what did you learn from them?
Undeniably my parents - where do I start [as to what did I learn from them]?!
What vital piece of advice would you give young ambitious finance professionals?
Be yourself and stick to your values.