The Young CFO of the Year should strive for a better future


TreasuryONE CEO Hennie de Klerk unpacks what it takes to be a great Young CFO of the Year.

“Forward-looking, strategic, passionate,” – these are the qualities that make a great CFO, explains TreasuryONE CEO Hennie de Klerk.

In just two days, CFO South Africa will crown the winner of the 2022 Young CFO of the Year Award. For Hennie and the team at TreasuryONE, the winner of this award should be tactical, a problem-solver, as well as able to make pivotal decisions and manage various relationships.

“A CFO’s primary duties used to include financial reporting, audits, and compliance, but I think that CFOs today are required to see the wider picture, understand it, and strive toward it,” Hennie says.

Read more: Who will be the next Young CFO of the Year?

He adds that successful people know that you have to instil the right habits in order to succeed. “We all know that success doesn’t come overnight. It takes time and dedication – the proverbial ‘blood, sweat and tears’. And the most successful people will tell you that it may take a number of failures before getting it right – in fact, it’s been said that successful entrepreneurs have failed 3.8 times before they got it right – but it only took one big win to get them there.”

Hennie continues, referring to one of his favourite sayings and an iconic movie line: “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

He says that from leading the finance team, to building relationships with key stakeholders, a good CFO must be flexible enough to adapt to fast-changing environments and shift their strategic focus without losing sight of the end-goal.

Advice for the Young CFO of the Year Award nominees
Hennie says that successful people think differently and act differently. While others may give up and throw in the towel early on, successful people know how to gather their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual potential to be able to achieve greatness. “Hats off to you! The leaders who think and do differently!”

He leaves the nominees with five key pieces of advice:

  • Don’t give up. The most valuable lessons in life are learned via failure. That is true in our personal lives, as well as in our professional capacities.
  • Don’t be scared to upset the apple cart. Throw it over, kick it down if you have to. Without risk there can be no reward, and the greater the risk, the greater the reward in many situations.
  • Choose your tribe. True success is attained by those who can build the best teams and realise the value of the people in your team and by your side.
  • Develop good and healthy habits. To become successful takes a lot of sacrifice, and if it means that you have to eliminate certain behaviours in your life, it may help to introduce new and right behaviours to help propel you forward.
  • Take action. Although this may seem obvious, being successful is more than just having goals and having a plan. Without the right amount of action, no plan on paper will help to achieve those set goals.

Hennie concludes that: “As an entrepreneur who started working on a dream of establishing South Africa’s leading treasury company more than two decades ago, I understand all too well the risks and the failures. I had my fair share of disappointments. But I can guarantee you that the successes and the victories far outweigh the defeats.”

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