What’s your value? Partners at the Pitch Fest

Finance Indaba Online was a unique platform for partners to share their value propositions and products.

The 2022 edition of the Finance Indaba Online took hybrid reality to a new level with the first ever Pitch Fest, hosted by well-known local comedian Chris Forrest. During the Pitch Fest, leading service providers had the opportunity to convey their value proposition in 10 minutes – while live and in-studio. Attendees then had the opportunity to engage with partners at their virtual booths at the Online Finance Indaba.

Workday’s principal solutions consultant Jannie Malan kicked off the first of four Pitch Fest sessions throughout the day.

He said that in order to stay competitive and be successful, organisations needed to be highly adaptative to navigate the fast-changing world of economic uncertainty and industry disruption.

Jannie further noted that there is a growing acceleration gap and as the leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance, Workday is able to accelerate an organisation’s digital finance journey to enable organisations to plan, execute and analyse for future success.

Workday’s 9,500 customers worldwide bear testament to this.

Zoho Expense’s product marketer Faiyaz Haneef explained the complicated process involved in old ways of expense management and how everything can now happen online. Reimbursements can take place faster, compliance can be maintained, cost control features can be implemented – all while easily integrating with most ERP solutions, credit card providers and a mobile application.

Faiyaz concluded by extending a free 14-day trial offer to attendees of the Finance Indaba Online.

iOCO’s cluster executive of data and analytics Varsha Ramesar explained to attendees how the company bridges the gap between technology and people.

She explained that the office of the CFO was dealing with two major focus areas at the moment viz. being tech-savvy and improving employee wellness. As a result, there was a need for quick, actionable business insights and iOCO is able to use its deep consulting expertise and industry software tools to revolutionise the reporting processes.

“We have moved beyond budgeting and use our leading edge tech and experience to provide completely customised models for functional and intelligent budgets,” Varsha concluded.

FCM Travel then took the stage with their contemporary travel management offering.

Business development manager Yvonne Lekalakala gave attendees unique insight into reconciling travel. She provided two useful case studies, which clearly demonstrated FCM Travel’s ability to ensure cost consolidation and deliver customised tech solutions for multi-geography organisations.

By combining local expertise with a global footprint and tech with people, FCM is a flexible, go-to travel management partner

Mosa Tshabalala, head of trade sales and risk distribution for Pan Africa trade finance and working capital at Absa CIB, kicked off the second Pitch Fest session, with a strong focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). After citing the massive impact that the largest free trade area in the world will have on the lives of billions of people across Africa, Mosa explained why the financial services provider was named Best African Bank Partner.

With a presence in 10 African countries, an online trade management platform as well as investment and transactional banking teams, Absa is well positioned to provide financing through trade and working capital for exporters and importers and leverage its relationships with multilateral and development banks, government agencies and institutional investors.

Next up was Tiffany Rae, sales enablement and engineering at Corporate Traveller, who looked at the great balancing act between tech and touch. She noted that travel is one of the fundamental challenges facing businesses and all people really wanted was a seamless travel experience and to feel supported.

Travel is about people moving people so it’s all about combing service and support from humans with automation and efficiency while keeping an eye on costs.

Vishal Soni, technical product marketing manager at Alteryx, via video and provided a comprehensive presentation on analytics for all. He noted that analytics is all about data driven decisions as automation and AI are providing digitally enabled models and companies are looking at digital resilience.

He advised attendees to take the Alteryx analytics maturity assessment and sign up for a live software demo.

TreasuryOne CEO Hennie de Klerk then took the stage to explain how the leading treasury solutions company works to stabilise the treasury environment for the client.

From cash and liquidity management, market risk management and treasury management services to robotic process automation and a corporate banking hub, TreasuryONe is able to complement the CFO within any organisation.

Last up at the second Pitch Fest session of the day, Kada Phiri, business development manager at ACCA Africa, who spoke about how accountants could create value by being a force for public good.

He challenged CFOs to look at how they were creating, protecting and reporting value and left attendees with a call to action to create a skilled workforce for sustainable economies.

The third Pitch Fest session featured Anne-Emanuelle Grene, head at Oxalys South Africa, who looked at the advantages of digital procurement, with specific emphasis on the benefits of being paperless and supported by cloud technologies.

She noted that companies who embarked on a digital procurement journey recorded positive outcomes from day one. The source to pay software provider provided further information at their virtual booth, including a video on trends, benefits and pitfalls of digital procurement and the option to request a demonstration.

Tariro Mutizwa, CIMA’s regional vice president for Africa, highlighted that the finance function is now being expected to more than accounting, extending toe a co-creator of value and strategy while being at the forefront of digital transformation, managing risk and providing enterprise wide solutions.

This has resulted in additional demands on a CFO, who is now required to also upskill and reskill talent. In expectation of this and the clear need for accelerated digital transformation, the professional management accounting body has updated its syllabus.

Caseware Africa corporate team leader Meagan Booth was up next. She explained the global service provider automates compliance for the corporate market, the public sector and government as well as the accounting and audit market – managing all data safely and securely.

Meagan used the Pitch Fest platform to focus on the assurance arm of Caseware’s product suite, specifically noting the intuitive interface and powerful data processing enginer of Caseware Data as well as the choice of analytics available on Caseware IIDEA,

Michelle Snyman, finance recruitment manager at long-standing Finance Indaba partner Network Finance, gave attendees a view of the post-Covid career landscape for financial professionals.

She explained that the local market is competing with international organisations for talent, offering relocation prospects and higher salaries and advised executives to get involved in talent planning to start building their talent pipeline.

Julius Mojapelo, CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa, shared some insights on how to get the best from an internal audit function. When talking about internal audit, it’s about the warning lights coming on in the business. He noted that many people make big business decisions without looking at the controls in place.

He advised attendees to have internal auditors who are members of Internal Auditors South Africa, which provides a host of services including disciplinary processes to protect the integrity of the profession, as well as training and continuous development.

Next up was Thusho Mokgoto, co-founder of Lofty Brainchild, which provides end to end solutions for a superfast, error-free financial close by optimising the collection, storage, usage and visualisation of data.

He provided a comprehensive overview of the organisation’s ability to automate and create a single source of truth document, which can also be used for integrated reporting. As a result, the integrity of reporting is improved across the board.

Naailah Gora, solution engineering manager at Oracle, provided the last pitch of the day. She looked at the art of finance, which is seen as taking technology and merging it with finance.

Referring to the contemporary topic of ESG, Naailah explained that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. With the solutions provided by Oracle, organisations can meet multiple requirements, with the ability to aggregate information, convert data and track against targets.