The Philips Africa statutory financial manager shares how a tough upbringing motivated him to want more.
Originally from Durban, Vernon Pillay grew up in a household that faced its fair share of financial pressures. This motivated him to chart a path that would change his life and that of his family, which meant prioritising his studies and ultimately becoming a CA.
After completing his studies in Durban, Vernon moved to Johannesburg to pursue greater opportunities. The very first role Vernon got after obtaining his CA qualification was with the Heineken company. He explains how being a CA teaches you how to run a successful business and inspires you to have one of your own.
“I worked as a financial team leader at Heineken and my role allowed me to look at how a well-recognised company markets itself and how it shows its different products to the rest of the world. When you become a CA, you don’t necessarily just focus on finance, but you also get an opportunity to see what it takes to run a successful organisation and how finance feeds into the entire organisational structure.”
A little more than a finance manager
Vernon currently works for Philips Africa as a statutory financial manager and joined the company in 2018.
His day-to-day work involves managing the statutory accounts as well as the compliance of Philips’s statutory audit and tax compliance. Vernon also ensures that the company gets a clean audit opinion and that its compliance with SARS is at 100 percent. Since Philips is a multinational organisation that does a lot of international transactions, Vernon also manages the complexities of transfer pricing policy, which is SARS compliant.
“I am basically the technical guy in terms of tax and accounting legislations as well as the go to person for the interpretation of international reporting standards. I am now moving away from the statutory compliance side of the business and branching out to financial control, and making sure that the reporting to key stakeholders in the business is in line with reporting standards,” he says.
Philips is mainly involved in health technology and personal health products including MRI scanners, hospital equipment, air fryers and beauty products. Vernon has worked on several projects at Philips including implementing a reporting system for their auditors where they could simply put out information that does not require their involvement, essentially streamlining the process. Vernon has also played an advisory role in terms of moving goods through borders and advising on the right type of documentation from a VAT compliance perspective, as well as looking at areas of compliance that could improve..
Investing in his future
Vernon is also a keen investor and an entrepreneur in the making, and is currently putting together some funds aimed at starting a business or getting into the franchise space as a franchisee.
“I’m still building up my capital so that I can one day own a business, a franchise that I can manage. In my spare time I am also a keen investor and looking at different ways that I can invest my money as well as grow my portfolio. I’m constantly doing research on what influences the market, understanding the cause and effects, and where opportunities lie – and that is how I plan to build up my capital,” says Vernon.
Advocating for a healthy lifestyle
Being quite health-conscious and an advocate for living a healthy lifestyle, Vernon enjoys going to the gym and playing indoor cricket. He is also into his sports and catching up on his favourite matches.
He also enjoys reading up on the latest investment developments and strategies.