Trevor Scott - CFO Chrometco: `The chance of meeting challenges`


“Bob Skinstad is a fantastic role model for South Africans as he has such a refreshing attitude and positive outlook to life.” We are listening to Trevor Scott, CFO of Chrometco, a JSE-listed company Trevor joined in 2005.

Chrometco Limited is a minerals and commodities exploration company listed on the JSE Limited with prospects in North West Province in South Africa and Likasi Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Its main business focus is to identify, assess, acquire and develop niche mineral and commodity opportunities in exploration, mining, concentration and beneficiation and trading.

After graduating from WITS University with a BCom (Honours) & BAcc, Trevor completed his articles at KPMG. He subsequently pursued an MCom degree while remaining with KPMG. After spending six years with KPMG, primarily in a consulting and auditing role, he joined the Mokwele Group where he focused on corporate finance, technical accounting and consulting to top 100 listed companies, primarily in the mining and telecommunications fields.

Trevor was appointed as a non-executive director of Chrometco Limited in 2005, with a mandate to set up the audit committee and advise the board on a wide range of financial matters. He served as chairman of the audit committee and remuneration committee for three years until he stepped into the financial director position and was tasked with assisting the management team with the turnaround strategy for the group. He has served as group financial director since then. "Today's CFOs are now required to possess a much wider range of skills and are faced with increasingly complex situations that did not prominently feature in the CFO role a decade ago."

1) What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the people that I work with and meet on a daily basis. I also enjoy the chance to meet challenges, overcome obstacles and empower those around me, while learning from them.

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

The role of the CFO has changed a great deal and definitely become increasingly difficult. The pace of the CFO has also increased. Additionally, today's CFOs are now required to possess a much wider range of skills and are faced with increasingly complex situations that did not prominently feature in the CFO role a decade ago.

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

I would see the role evolving much as it has over the past few years: becoming more difficult and faster paced due to increasingly complex markets, a changing legal environment as well as difficult operating conditions.

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?

I would say that accurate forecasting and budgeting is; whilst more challenging, still a feasible process. Forecasts and budgets need to be dynamic, detailed and must incorporate thorough scenario planning and sensitivity analysis. Ongoing critical review and assessment of the assumptions underlying forecasts and budget models should also take place.

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 most immediate and obvious challenge for South African companies is the prospect of a global recession. In the mining industry, companies are facing with declining commodity prices and demand, rising costs as well as regulatory and infracture related challengs.

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

A finance professional would need to master the following skills to be successful:

  • Willingness to learn;
  • Ability to make calculated and informed decisions quickly;
  • Perseverance to master oneself and technical knowledge;
  • Confidence; and
  • strong values.

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

Most of all I am proud of the successful turnaround of Chrometco Limited and the company recently being named the Business Day's top performing JSE listed share of 2011.

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

I would recommend either the Chartered Accountant or MBA qualifications as they encompass a broad range of skills and technical fields that are essential in today's business environment.

9) Who is your role model in life and why?

I have more than one role model. I admire Warren Buffet greatly as a person who was incredibly successful in business, while maintaining strong values and a focus on philanthropy. I also think that Bob Skinstad is a fantastic role model for South Africans as he has such a refreshing attitude and positive outlook to life.

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

Work hard and dream big, but strive to maintain a good balance between your career, personal time and spending time with family and friends.

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Category: Interviewing the CFO

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