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Finance Indaba: BeztForex makes you more competitive

Which three forex developments will be most significant for SA businesses between now and 2020? And Which import and export trends should CFOs be aware of? Those are some of the questions we are asking Herman Bezuidenhout, CEO at trade and forex company BeztForex, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016.

Finance Indaba: i-Pay leading the way in instant easy payments

"Cryptocurrency and 'click once' authenticated payments will be prominent in the future," says Thomas Pays, CEO of iPay, a simple, real-time EFT payment solution, that allows consumers to make secure, instant payments directly into a merchant’s bank account.

Finance Indaba programme: Finance in Control - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Finance in Control, a two-day programme for all finance professionals.

Finance Indaba programme: Public Finance Leadership - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Public Finance Leadership, a programme tailor-made for people with an interest in helping the country forward in the public sector.

SAP Business One invaluable, says CallForce's Annemarie Haywood

“Not only is SAP Business One key to the smooth running of daily operations and the business at large, but I personally have found it invaluable in the execution of my role as finance manager,” says Annemarie Haywood, finance manager at staffing solutions company CallForce. Annemarie will be part of a panel, hosted by 4most, at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016 (see details below). We spoke to her ahead of the landmark event.

AAT (SA): The professional home for accounting technicians

“The Association of Accounting Technicians South Africa [AAT (SA)] adds value where CFOs and strategic people need to make decisions. If you get the work right at support staff level there are less errors, the quality of financial statements should be better, you should see shorter month-end periods and cleaner audits,” says Nadine Kater, General Manager of the organisation. We had a chat to Nadine about the organisation and where it fits into the industry, as well as what value it adds to finance professionals.

Finance Indaba 2016: The leader in enterprise information management

"CFOs have to have a deep understanding of these models and be creative around the understanding of the financial implications of the benefits and the risks to their businesses going forward," says Lenore Kerrigan, Country Sales Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at OpenText, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

IFAC CEO Fayez Choudhury criticises mandatory audit firm rotation

Mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) is often a "solution looking for a problem", says Fayez Choudhury, CEO of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the global organisation for the accountancy profession. "This is all the more critical in light of the costs of regulation to businesses trying to operate in a global environment, and possible unforeseen consequences," he writes in this opinion piece, in which he is critical about the South African Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and its timeline to introduce MAFR.

Finance Indaba: chat to Larc AI about Robotic Process Automation

The Finance Indaba Africa is THE place where finance professionals can get to grips with the latest and greatest technologies around. Besides well-established brands like SAP, Oracle and IBM, there is also space for a number of exciting, highly specialised companies. One of those is silver partner Larc AI. We spoke to Jannie Strydom, CEO of Larc AI about his message for finance teams.

Navigate tomorrow's unknown: CFOs dine with a futurist

There was an electric discussion even before guests had sat down at last night’s CFO South Africa dinner. That’s to be expected when you bring exceptional finance leaders together from across multiple industries. When you add a futurist and fantastic know-how of executives from partner Old Mutual Corporate, the learning is palpable.

Finance Indaba programme: Skills and knowhow for finance - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Skills and knowhow for finance, which will take place on 13 October 2016 and features one the the world's most inspiring accountants!

How transformation can help your business: a chat with SAIPA CEO Bongani Coka

You already know that your business can help move transformation forward through job creation and human capacity development. But do you realise that transformation can also help your business move forward? We talk to Bongani Coka, CEO of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), who will be presenting the amazing results of Project Achiever at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016 at 14h30.

Finance Indaba programme: Smart Finance, Smart Business - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Smart Finance, Smart Business a two-day programme about the power of technology.

Longer tenure mulled for joint-audits: IRBA CEO Bernard Agulhas

The mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) that will be introduced in South Africa next year might include incentives for Big 4 firms to partner with smaller, black-owned competitors. The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) is considering to allow auditors to stay with the same client for a longer period, provided they enter into joint audits when their mandatory tenure comes to an end, says IRBACEO Bernard Agulhas. In this exclusive interview with CFO South Africa he also notes his disappointment about the negative response from CFOs to mandatory firm rotation.

CFO Case Study Competition: Team Snipers from Ghana takes lead

The CFO Case Study Competition’s Round 2: Public Votes has ended with Team Snipers from Ghana taking the lead with over 900 votes. They are now the official winners of this round and take with them 2 points to their credit as they proceed into Round 3: Semi-finals to be held at the JSE Limited on 13 October 2016. Over 2,500 votes were casted in total for the teams in this round.

African growth boosts SilverBridge annual results

Following continued expansion into Africa and the introduction of new business models built around digital offerings, SilverBridge has reported strong financial results for the year ending 30 June 2016. Its net profit increased by 21 percent to R10.1 million and its cash balance improved to R27 million, up from the R18.2 million of the comparative period last year.

5 questions for Russell Glover about Finance Indaba partner Linxus

"The Finance Indaba is an ideal platform for Linxus to engage with key decision makers by demonstrating the value we can add to any business through our software products," says Russell Glover, managing director at Linxus, a a gold partner at the Finance Indaba next week. We spoke to him exclusively. Why is Linxus present at the Indaba? "Linxus is a Software Solutions business that specialises in the building and implementing solutions that drive operational efficiencies, reduce cost and mitigate risk. Our focus is on delivering appropriate and responsible solutions that are developed and implemented rapidly thereby addressing current business needs in a time frame that enables businesses to grow and or reduce cost, ultimately driving profitability in your business."

Finance Indaba: meet silver partner Connect Africa Payments

Connect Africa Payments is a B2B technology solution, connecting various payment networks. Members of the hub are able to facilitate cross-network transfers. The Kenya-based FinTech company is a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa. We asked Caroline Cherotich to tell us a bit more.

Finance Indaba 2016: ACTSA champions treasury management

"Key to the CFO’s success is having a reliable “wingman” in the form of the Corporate Treasurer, who provides support in not only managing financial variable risks, ensuring access to and supplying liquidity to business operations, but also in identifying, assessing and preparing for potential threats to business liquidity which may not be patently obvious and are difficult to identify when part of the myriad of issues the CFO is contending with," says Nigel Grey, chairman of the Association of Corporate Treasurers of Southern Africa (ACTSA), a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Finance Indaba 2016: Clean up your audits with the Auditor-General of SA

“We’ve always defined our service offering as audit and state of the nation type reports, but over the past five years, we’ve engaged with CFOs and accounting officers very proactively, especially around the basics of internal control that we believe can move them in the right direction," says Jan van Schalkwyk, corporate executive at the Auditor-General of SA, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Cyber threats and the CFO: Finance Indaba speaker Nathan Desfontaines (KPMG)

Given the connectedness of organisations today, cyber security has become a fundamental part of business. Nathan Desfontaines, KPMG’s Cyber Security Manager in South Africa, believes that this environment is challenging CFOs to look differently at operational requirements. He wrote this guest article in anticipation of the Finance Indaba Africa.

Finance Indaba 2016: W.Consulting is your CPD partner

"Accounting professionals specifically, and finance professionals more generally, are faced with ever-evolving challenges arising from the expectation to remain abreast of standards and global best practices. Our role is to provide training opportunities that are flexible, affordable, relevant and of high quality," says Raymond Chamboko, director at W.Consulting, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Award-winning CFO Greg Davis moves to Ecobank

Award-winning finance executive Greg Davis has been named Chief Financial Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI). From 18 October 2016 he will be responsible for overseeing and ensuring strategic management of all financial and fiscal aspects of the bank’s finance operations from its headquarters in the West-African country Togo.

Finance Indaba programme: SME Growth and Profitability - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: SME Growth and Profitability, a two-day programme for finance professionals working for smaller firms and medium-sized businesses.

Finance Indaba 2016: Scale up your business with Sureswipe

"Sureswipe champions entrepreneurial growth by ensuring that we can provide accessible and affordable payment solutions that add value and sustainability to their business," says Paul Kent, MD of Sureswipe, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

SA retains top position for auditing and reporting standards for seventh year

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has welcomed the news that South Africa has been ranked yet again as the world’s number one for auditing and reporting standards, making it the seventh consecutive year that the country holds this position. As the audit regulator, the IRBA is the statutory body falling within the National Treasury mandated with the protection of the investing public through effective regulation of auditors to ensure high quality independent audits in which investors can place their trust.

Finance Indaba programme: High Performance Finance - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: High Performance Finance, a programme on 14 October, moderated by Chris Ellis of Vickers & Peters.

Finance Indaba programme: Careers on the couch - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Careers on the couch, a two-day programme about building an exciting career in finance.

KPMG's Shirley Ivason-Wagener cautions against technology-enabled fraud

More sophisticated and data-driven processes within business operations come with increased online activity and agility on the part of employees, though consideration must be given to the fact that with this increased online activity is increased potential risk to the business –particularly the growing occurrence of technology-enabled fraud, cautions KPMG’s Shirley Ivason-Wagener, Partner and Country Leader, Fraud Risk Management and Ethics Advisory. There’s no denying that we live in a fast-paced digital era that is underpinned by this consumerism sense of instant gratification. As a result, companies are continually transforming their technology-driven business processes to maximise on efficiencies, as well as integrating different processes and systems and even enabling inter-company and global connectivity – aimed at remaining competitive. Today, technology is a significant enabler for fraudsters, where tech-savvy swindlers are using it in a variety of ways to perpetrate frauds. Cyber fraud continues to be identified as a growing threat to business.

Finance Indaba programme: Finance for Africa - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: Finance for Africa, a two-day programme moderated by Didi Sehume, Treasury and Securities Services associate at JP Morgan.

We are hiring! Are you a young, computer savvy social media and marketing fundi?

Are you looking for a great job in a fast growing international company? You have found it. This is an awesome chance for young and talented computer savvy social media and marketing fundi. A great challenge for an enthusiastic professional that wants to make a real contribution to the company - CFO South Africa - and to the country.

Finance Indaba programme: the Future of Finance - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: the Future of Finance, a two-day programme moderated by corporate trainer Dave Stevens.

Finance Indaba 2016: Bytes gets you ahead of the game

"Kronos WM applications are crucial in enabling greater visibility into labour activities for the purposes of effectively managing and maximizing worker productivity, controlling labour costs, tracking operational tasks and minimizing compliance risks," says Yolanda Krajnc, Sales Manager of Bytes Systems Integration, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Finance Indaba: spectacular openings and awards ceremonies - #findaba16

The Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is almost upon us and it is time to start looking at what exactly lies ahead at the Sandton Convention Centre on 13 and 14 October 2016. Every day until the event, we will shine a light on the parts of the amazing programme. Today: the spectacular opening sessions and award ceremonies.

Meet cricket's new auditor: Nkonki partner Zakhele Nkosi

Earlier this month, Cricket South Africa (CSA) made the landmark decision to appoint black-owned firm Nkonki as auditor for the organisation and all its members. For many years, CSA was audited by Deloitte and the clubs each had their own auditors. The man tasked with overseeing the job is Nkonki partner Zakhele Nkosi. We asked him what it is like to be the lead engagement partner for such a historic institution.

Sibanye Gold CFO Charl Keyter talks risks and results

Charl Keyter was first introduced to mining as a child, when he used to visit the Gold Fields operations with his dad’s cousin. He was fascinated. “The atmosphere on the mines in those days was almost holiday-like,” he recalls. “Maybe because we only ever spent a day or a week there, every so often, but the facilities and the people living in the community, the activities they did with the kids, there was always this great atmosphere.”

Finance Indaba 2016: Cassel & Co is your financial recruitment specialist

"We have deep insights into the industry, including regulatory and governance issues, which makes the recruitment process much smoother and more professional, both from a candidate and a client perspective," says Georgina Barrick, MD of Cassel & Co, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Complying with the new BEE codes - EY's Sugan Palanee on how to get started

The BEE journey must not be seen as just another a tick-box exercise, says Sugan Palanee, Head of BEE Services at EY. Rather, it should be viewed as an evolutionary journey which, while it may come with several challenges, will bring with it as many opportunities that will benefit the entire business ecosystem.

Edcon loses the battle; gets taken over

Struggling South African clothes retailer Edcon has been taken over by banks and bondholders, including Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group and FirstRand. Furthermore, creditors in Edcon have agreed to substitute R21 billion in debt for equity control of the retailer. The retailer has been struggling with an over-leveraged capital structure for years. Having been taken private in a R25-billion buyout by Bain almost a decade ago, Edcon has been unable to to grow at a fast enough rate to pay down debt.

Sasfin profits rise

Sasfin has successfully circumvented the effects of the currently tough economic environment to grow shareholder value by 29%. Operating profit improved 31% (from R232 million in 2015 to R304 million), while profit was up 23.7%, to R238.7m. In addition, total income growth was up 25.1%. Tyrone Soondarjee (pictured), Sasfin group financial director, speaking at the recent financial results presentation, said the group reported growth across all its divisions, bar Treasury and Transactional banking, which collectively declined in profitability from R10.39 million to R6.559 million. Soondarjee noted, however, that the Treasury division did show strong performance, with a stable deposit base of R3.32 billion. According to the FD, group costs increased 19.8% to R828.3 million, largely as a result of increased investment in risk, compliance and IT, along with the inclusion of FinTech in its cost base. The cost-to-income ratio improved from 71.07% in the previous year to 68.89%, thanks to its cost containment strategy, which Soondarjee said has been “key to manage and showed notable improvement”.

Ramaphosa sells McDonald's SA franchises to Middle Eastern company

Shanduka Group, founded Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured) in 2001, has sold the local operations of McDonald’s Corp. to a Middle Eastern company, the Emirates-based MSA Holdings, for an undisclosed amount. In March 2011, Ramaphosa secured a 20-year agreement to run 145 McDonald’s restaurants in South Africa. Under the agreement, he owned all McDonald's assets in South Africa, including property. His sale of the franchise is in line with a previous statement he made saying that he would undertake a review of his business interests, in light of his position as deputy president of SA. The Competition Commission has approved the transaction for MSA to acquire the fast-food restaurants, as this would not present undue competition to local companies. The value of the deal has not yet been disclosed.

Five top trends in finance and technology from KPMG's Frank Rizzo

What are the five hottest tech trends that finance teams should be aware of? Frank Rizzo is revealing all during a thought-provoking presentation at the Finance Indaba Africa (13 October 13.30 - 14.15 in Ballroom 4 of the Sandton Convention Centre). Here's an exclusive taster for readers of CFO.co.za.

Finance Indaba 2016: Harness Lorge's business system expertise

"Over the past 30 years, the consistency of our expertise in business systems has earned us an award-winning reputation," says Jurgens Snyman, CEO of Lorge, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

S&P downgrades Nigeria further into junk status

S&P Global Ratings has downgraded Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, further into junk territory, taking the country’s rating one level to B, five levels below investment grade (in line with Kyrgyzstan and Angola), and changing the outlook from negative to stable. S&P said in a statement:

Finance Indaba 2016: Increase your understanding of internal audit with IIA SA

“In the current volatility, uncertainty and complexity, internal audit brings objective assurance to the finance professional who is constantly under pressure.” says Dr Claudelle von Eck, CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa (IIA SA), a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Vitol, Burgh to buy stake in SA's largest coal terminal

Rotterdam-based Vitol SA and Johannesburg-based Burgh Group Holdings have agreed to buy a stake in Africa’s largest coal terminal, Optimum Coal Terminal (OCT), from a mining company owned in part by the Gupta family. According to reports, Vitol and Burgh will acquire the terminal, which has a 7.6% stake in Richards Bay Coal Terminal, SA’s leading coal terminal with an annual capacity of 91 million tonnes, from Tegeta Exploration and Resources. Quinton van der Burgh (pictured), CEO of Burgh Group, said:

Finance Indaba 2016: Improve your service delivery with Servest

"Until and unless transformation becomes part of the fabric of corporate South Africa we will, I believe, never reach our potential as a country,” says Peter Walsh, CFO of Servest Group, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

CFO Fikile Mhlontlo leaves Denel

CFO Fikile Mhlontlo has left state-owned aerospace and defense company Denel at the end of August 2016, close to a year after he was placed on special leave. The 47-year-old CA(SA) reached an amicable resolution with the company and was paid out an undisclosed amount. It is a “seven figure amount”, according to sources with knowledge of the settlement.

Talent and diversity make finance strong: Dineo Molefe, CFO T-Systems

Dineo Molefe took on the role of chief financial officer of T-Systems at the beginning of May. She oversees both the Johannesburg and Cape Town teams, with 47 people and six direct reports looking to her for guidance. She strongly believes the secret to a solid and successful team is having exceptional and talented people. In her words, a varied skills base is also very important: “You have to have a diversity of skills and backgrounds. When you have people who all think the same that doesn’t help the team. Diversity of mindset is also important. And you need people who are self-starters.” CFO South Africa caught up with Dineo to find out how the first few months have been. How are you enjoying your new role? Have you encountered any challenges since you took office? What changes have you made, if any? “It was a bit of a hit and run to start! Within finance we have Controlling, Corporate Finance, Commercial, Procurement, and Legal. The role provides a good balance between being strategically focused and being involved in operations. Our finance team is embarking on a journey to transform itself and to be more of a business partner, so that we play our role in being an enabler to business and not a stumbling block.”

Finance Indaba 2016: SAP is out to change the world

"At SAP, we are using breakthrough new technologies to provide finance organisations with the platform and tools to allow them to completely reinvent how they work in the digital era," says Neil Herbert, director of business analytics at SAP, a platinum partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Brics willing to finance South African SOEs

The BRICS New Development Bank, a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has said that it is open to funding South Africa’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This after several privately owned institutions announced recently that they would stop lending money to state entities.

European firms benefit from audit rotation, says former Heineken CFO

The introduction of mandatory audit firm rotation has worked out advantageously for European companies, says René Hooft Graafland, who recently stepped down as global CFO at the Dutch brewing giant Heineken. He says that benefits include lower audit fees, a more efficient audit plan and new insights, as the new audit team approaches the company with fresh eyes. “But I do believe the rotation period should be at least twelve years.”

Finance Indaba 2016: Nkonki isn't your average external auditor

"We will be talking about the mandatory audit firm rotation and our views on the positive aspects and the focus on auditor independence, how companies can gear up when it does come into play and how we play a part in this as Nkonki,” says Mitesh Patel, Managing Partner of Nkonki, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

MTN seeks to raise billions through IPO

MTN Group, together with minority shareholders in its Nigerian business, is looking to raise $1 billion in an initial public offering (IPO).

KPMG Africa Banking survey shows customers want more from their banks

KPMG has released its latest Africa Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey, which has revealed that customers are still unsatisfied about financial stability, and are seeking more from their banks than what they’re currently getting, especially as far as service, innovation and convenience are concerned. Pierre Fourie (pictured), KPMG Partner in Financial Services, says it is imperative to appreciate the individual customer. He said:

Finance Indaba 2016: RSM covers all aspects of business

"We have exposure to the regulatory environments in 120 countries and can share these global experiences and how they impact local operations," says Brian Eaton, CEO of RSM South Africa, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Visa introduces M-Pesa rival

In Kenya, the majority of wireless payments are completed through the country’s largest telecoms company, Safaricom, on the M-Pesa platform. Enter a new market competitor because Visa has introduced a mobile-phone application to rival this: the mVisa app. The app is quite simple to use: mVisa users can make payments by scanning a unique merchant Quick Response code, or QR code, using their smart phones.

Grandeur and great conversations during CFO Awards judges dinner

Conversation flowed and sumptuous food was enjoyed during a inspirational get-together of the panel of judges for the 2017 CFO Awards. One of the highlights of the evening was the judging panel welcoming Prof Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, in their midst. Wiseman is South Africa's first black Chartered Accountant and an incredibly experienced boardroom expert. CFO SA Graham Fehrsen thanked him for adding even more gravitas and quality to the - already impressive - judging panel.

Finance Indaba 2016: Deloitte is your full-suite partner

"CFOs tend to think of the Deloitte business as providing audit, assurance and tax services, but we also have a strong human capital consulting business and a risk advisory business with a strong capacity around cyber, general risk management and forensics," says Kevin Black, Executive Partner for Clients & Industries at Deloitte South Africa, a platinum partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Disrupt, or be disrupted - CFOs discuss digital transformation

“By show of hands, how many people in the room have begun a digital transformation project in the last 12 months?” CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen asked the crowd during his welcoming at the first Johannesburg breakfast event hosted by CFO South Africa on 15 September 2016. Virtually every attendant raised their hands. “So everybody is here to discover why it is not working or how to improve the ROI,” he joked to appreciative chuckles.

MTN launches new BEE scheme, Zakhele Futhi

MTN has officially opened its R9.9 billion ‘Zakhele Futhi’ BEE transaction scheme to the market. The scheme takes the form of a public offering where qualifying black participants are invited to subscribe for and beneficially own ordinary shares with a minimum investment of R2,000.

Finance Indaba 2016: Creditinfo is a data-driven solutions pioneer

"Credit bureaus have always played an important role within the financial sector providing information, solutions and services that ensure that creditors have the information and technology needed to make informed decisions." says Agata Szydlowska, Head of Financial Inclusion and CRB Awareness at Credit Info, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

VBS Mutual Bank gives Pres Zuma a home loan

In order to repay state money spent on non-security upgrades to Nkandla, his private residence, President Jacob Zuma has taken out a home loan. According to a statement released by the president’s office, quoting spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, private, black-owned, unlisted VBS Mutual Bank granted Zuma a home loan on standard terms, to repay the R7.81 million – an amount determined by the Treasury in June this year. The statement further noted that the lender was “one of the few financial institutions which offer home loans in respect of land owned by traditional authorities”. In its judgement on 31 March this year, the Constitutional Court ordered Treasury to determine the "reasonable amount" that Zuma should repay. "As a consequence, the reasonable percentage of the estimated costs of the five measures that the President would have to pay personally would be 87,94%. This percentage corresponds to R7,814,155 as at June 2009," the Treasury report read. The Constitutional Court ordered that Zuma must personally pay back the amount, and gave a deadline of 29 September. According to Treasury, the government has already received Zuma’s settlement payment.

Marketing gurus ready to make Finance Indaba massive success

The buzz among 70 excited marketing gurus was telling: the excitement for the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 is palpable. The exhibitors, partners and sponsors can't wait to greet the 5000 finance professionals at the two-day finance feast on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Public sector CFOs and CIOs are trying to embrace the future

From medical emergency drones, to self-driving vehicles to a Google Hangouts gathering of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa and the Dalai Lama in Tibet: technology makes amazing things possible, as long as we embrace it. During a breakfast event on 13 September 2016, the energetic futurist Craig Wing challenged, educated, inspired – and entertained – a group of CFOs and CIO from the public sector and asked them some hard questions about technology: “Do you see a threat or an opportunity?”

The fastest ROI you can get - Document Management Automation

"Need to know what your staff or suppliers are doing with your money? Want a dramatic improvement in cashflow, debtors and creditors management? We will share ideas and tools to gain visibility, improve cash flow and dramatically reduce the risks of e-fraud," says ROI specialist Johan Potgieter of Business Harmony, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

DFA interested in acquiring non-performing state-owned Broadband Infraco

Optical fibre connectivity provider Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has expressed interest in buying state-owned Broadband Infraco, which provides high-speed fixed-line infrastructure. The government has been looking at rationalising and selling non-performing state-owned entities, with Broadband Infraco identified as one such company.

Role model: the inspirational tale of Standard Bank's Luvuyo Masinda

How does a young black South African from the Cape Flats end up in Standard Bank’s posh Rosebank offices as CFO Corporate and Investment Banking at age 37? The answer is cricket, a knack for mathematics, shiny cars, some fateful mergers, a driven partner and – most of all – a passion for purpose. Joël Roerig spoke to Luvuyo Masinda about the road he travelled from Mandalay to success.

Jacques Lubbe appointed CFO at Katanga Mining Ltd

Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Katanga Mining Limited, which operates a major mine complex in the DRC, producing refined copper and cobalt, has appointed Jacques Lubbe (pictured) as CFO, effective 15 October 2016. Lubbe, CA (SA) and a 2014 Top 35-under-35 finalist, previously held the CFO position at Katanga between November 2013 and February 2015. Prior to this he held the CFO position at Mutanda Mining SARL, another company within the Glencore group. He rejoins the Company from Glencore, where he has been Asset Manager from March 2015 to now. Lubbe takes over from outgoing CFO Matthew Colwill, who will be leaving on 15 October to pursue other opportunities within the Glencore group. Colwill will, however, remain available to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Mandatory Audit Firm Rotation is a good thing, says Nkonki's Mitesh Patel

“It is simply staggering that of the 353 audit partners who sign off on the financial statements of all JSE-listed companies, only nine are Black African – that’s just 2.5%,” says Mitesh Patel, Managing Director of Nkonki, a 100% black-owned audit and advisory firm. “Given the transformation imperative within the broader South African corporate context and our profession as a whole, there can be no doubt that Mandatory Audit Firm Rotation (MAFR) will assist in driving the transformation agenda.”

Advocate Pansy Tlakula nominated as POPI Information Regulator

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) was signed into law by President Zuma in November 2013. Certain provisions of the Act relating to the appointment of the Information Regulator (responsible for monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, the provisions of POPI) were made effective in April 2014. On 7 September 2016, the National Assembly voted in favour of the nomination of Advocate Pansy Tlakula (pictured) as Chairperson of the Information Regulator, as well as Advocate Lebogang Stroom and Johannes Weapond as full-time members, and Professor Tana Pistorius and Sizwe Snail as part-time members. Nikki Pennel, KPMG’s POPI specialist and attorney, said:

Only nine out of 353 South African audit partners are black

Out of the 353 audit partners which sign off on the financial statements of all JSE-listed companies, only nine are black African and over 90 percent are audited by a few firms. That is according to Bernard Agulhas, CEO of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), which intends to force companies to hire new audit firms on a regular basis to ensure independence and promote transformation.

CIMA study reveals that SA finance professionals welcome AI and automation

According to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), finance professionals are quite open to the recent rise of artificial intelligence, automation and robots. Badi Promesse (pictured), recently appointed CIMA Regional Director Africa, said:

Is your retirement scheme targeting good outcomes, asks Old Mutual's Andrew Davison?

Professional boxer and two-time world champion George Foreman once quipped: “The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, but at what income.” For every employee who dreams of a comfortable retirement one day, Foreman hit the nail squarely on the head with this statement. While the typical retirement age for South African employees is 65 years old, reaching this age is by no means a guarantee of a happy and financially secure retirement – even if you have been a member of your company’s retirement fund throughout your working life.

Finance Indaba 2016: Improve business efficiency with idu Software

"To effectively empower non-financial managers is not a case of giving them access to the financial systems, but giving them access to the information in those systems in a user-friendly and engaging environment," says Kevin Phillips, CEO of idu Software, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Private Investment Consortium acquires Transparent Services BV

Specialist data mining and recovery audit services company, Transparent, founded in 2000 and headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has been acquired by Transparent Services BV – a newly established entity owned by investors with a background in investment banking and private equity. Willem-Jeroen Stevens (pictured), founder of Transparent, said:

Finance Indaba 2016: Raise your business intelligence with Inavit iQ

"In short, we help you to design your organisation to ensure you have the right people in the right seats, without which your business becomes uncompetitive, lose market share and profit," according to Inavit iQ, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

SA economy expands by 3.3%, avoids recession

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) reported that the South African economy expanded by 3.3% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) and 0.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) during the second quarter of 2016, thereby avoiding a technical recession yesterday – to the joy and relief of many. During the first half of 2016, the South African economy was just 0.25% y-o-y larger. This comprised a 0.1% y-o-y contraction during the first quarter and a 0.6% y-o-y expansion during the April-June period. The positive y-o-y performance during Q2 was due to growth in manufacturing, construction, hospitality, transport, communication, finance, banking, real estate and government services, outweighing a contraction in activity associated with agriculture, forestry & fisheries, mining, and public utilities. The finance, real estate and business services sectors – collectively the largest industry, accounting for 20% of SA’s GDP – grew by 2.9% q-o-q and 2.2% y-o-y during the second quarter. During July, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said that it anticipated growth of 0% in the economy during 2016, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it projected a mere 0.1% growth for the calendar year. According to KPMG, the outlook for the second half of this year remains less than optimistic, and the likelihood of a sovereign ratings downgrade still looms.

Finance Indaba 2016: Build Extraordinary Futures for your company

"As specialists in the financial skills sector we use our specialist knowledge to evaluate, hunt and entice individuals for specific financial roles," says Anthia Falekkos (pictured in the middle with her team), managing executive at Extraordinary Futures, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

As a leader, are you a router or a firewall, asks Futurist Craig Wing

“Leaders are sometimes unable to act. They stand frozen with too much information. But in today’s world you need to be able to act fast. In the context of how quickly the world is moving, you cannot wait for new information and rest on your laurels. The next big thing will be for leaders to act on imperfect information,” says Craig Wing, partner at FutureWorld International, an organisation that helps corporates understand the emergent future and how technology will affect their businesses. Bursting with energy and ideas, Craig will be speaking at the upcoming public sector breakfast on 13 September, where he will talk about some of the game-changing technologies currently shaping our world, and how best to use these.

Changing mindsets and looking to the future, a chat with Brigid Mosola, Walter Sisulu University CFO

“When I came on board the staff were demotivated and unproductive. There was no teamwork and they did not trust in each other. It was a disaster,” says Brigid Mosola, CFO of Walter Sisulu University (WSU). In this exclusive interview with CFO South Africa, Brigid, who has been CFO for around 18 months, and who was recently placed on a precautionary suspension by the University’s new Vice Chancellor pending charges, speaks candidly about the state of the university’s finance department, the challenges of restructuring and building staff morale, and making unpopular decisions.

Finance Indaba 2016: This Is Me is your identity theft safeguard

"Over 8,8 million South Africans have fallen prey to some form of cyber-crime, of which identity theft forms a significant enough part of this to consider it a serous threat" says Brennan Wright, marketing manager of This Is Me, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

FSB grants licence to new stock exchange, 4AX

4 Africa Exchange (4AX) announced on Friday, 2 September that it had been granted an exchange licence by the Financial Services Board (FSB) to become a licensed exchange in South Africa. On this same day ZAR X also received its exchange licence. Speaking on the matter, 4AX CEO Fay Mukaddam (pictured) said the company was “delighted” to have secured its licence. Mukaddam said:

Technology & Strategy: Oracle's Sarah George pre-empts CFO breakfast

The strategic evolution is a a development path built on choices about what is best for the business in the long term rather than on immediate changes that may be detrimental further down the line. In this Expert Insight, Sarah George, ERP & EPM Business Development and Product Strategy, Oracle South Africa, explores the speed of business transformation and the role that agile technologies play.

Finance Indaba 2016: Optimise business intelligence with QlikView

We believe we have the formula for the right balance that allows you to empower business with self-service whilst ensuring strength and trust for IT." says Davide Hanan, chairperson of QlikView SA, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Famous Brands buys UK burger chain for R2.1 billion

Listed fast food giant Famous Brands, which owns fast food outlets Steers, Debonairs and Fish Aways, among others, has purchased Britain’s Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), founded in 2001 and currently the UK’s leading premium burger restaurant, for R2.1 billion (£120 million at the time). According to Famous Brands, it intends to double the burger chain’s 75 British stores over the next five years. Kevin Hedderwick (pictured), Famous Brands group adviser for M&A and previously CEO, said he sees GBK opening 10 to 15 new restaurants in Britain per year. He added that the company intends to expand further in Ireland, and also bring the gourmet burger concept to South Africa. The transaction remains subject to approval from the SA Reserve Bank, in terms of exchange-control regulations, although Famous Brands has said it will fund the purchase consideration with cash accumulated in its business operations, as well as short-term funding as required. It was agreed in the contract that GBK’s team would continue to manage the business, and that no personnel changes are likely to take place. The acquisition is rated according to the JSE Listings Requirements as a Category 2 transaction.

ZAR X granted a stock exchange licence

ZAR X, South Africa’s newest stock exchange, was yesterday granted a licence to operate by the Financial Services Board (FSB), following recent delays. ZAR X will commence operations on Monday, 5 September 2016.

PPC CFO Tryphosa Ramano named deputy chair of SAA

PPC chief financial officer Tryphosa Ramano has been named deputy chairperson of South African Airways (SAA) and will work closely with chairperson Dudu Myeni, the political ally of president Jacob Zuma who was re-appointed in her role on Friday. In 2014 Ramano won a power struggle with CEO Ketso Gordhan, the nephew of finance minister Pravin Gordhan, widely reported to be at odds with Zuma.

SA's trade surplus shrinks to R5.22 billion

According to SARS, South Africa's trade surplus shrank to R5.22 billion ($359 million) in July, compared to a revised surplus of R12.47 billion in June. Exports decreased 9% to R95.7 billion on a month-on-month basis, and imports fell 2.4% to R90.5 billion.

Finance Indaba 2016: Get your treasury system firing with TreasuryOne

"As the leading treasury system solution provider with more than 40 implementations, our expertise will help any CFO who needs cash visibility, automation of daily treasury activities, risk management and segregation of duties," says Rudolf Janse van Rensburg, a director at TreasuryOne, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Finance Indaba 2016: Modernise your accounting processes with BlackLine

"BlackLine’s Finance Controls and Automation platform delivers a fresh approach that increases the quality, accuracy, and efficiency of the financial close and other period-end activity is what BlackLine calls ‘Continuous Accounting’," says Mario Spanicciati, chief strategy officer of BlackLine, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

University of Limpopo now fully accredited to produce CAs

The University of Limpopo (UL) has gained accreditation for its postgraduate degree in accounting, effective January 2017. This, together with the undergraduate accreditation UL achieved in 2011, means the province’s aspiring CAs (SA) will now be able to complete their full four years of studies at the institution.

It's 'bring-your-CIO day' at September's public sector CFO breakfast

How can public sector CFOs benefit from technology and help government work smarter? That is the central question during the public sector CFO breakfast at Castello Di Monte in Pretoria on 13 September 2016. "CFOs are invited to extend the invitation to their CIO," says CFO South Africa MD Graham Fehrsen. "That means we're doubling the learning!"

Finance Indaba 2016: Every invoice is a revenue opportunity with Intellection

"We will outline the most impactful tactics for optimising working capital and maximising discounts and we will review various sources of liquidity available to suppliers and buyers," says Christo Jacobs, director of Intellection, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Andrew Darfoor appointed new Alexander Forbes CEO

Following a six-month search to find a replacement for CEO Edward Kieswetter, who left the group in February to pursue other interests, Alexander Forbes has appointed financial services veteran Andrew Darfoor (pictured). Darfoor will assume the role of CEO from 1 September, relieving acting group CEO and CFO, Deon Viljoen.

Christine Ramon special guest at Digital Transformation CFO Breakfast, 15 September 2016

Clever implementation of modern technology can bring massive benefits to companies and is often the difference between bust or boom. During CFO South Africa’s annual Digital Transformation Breakfast on 15 September 2016 (7h00) we tap into the incredible experience of CFOs Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti) and Wayne Koonin (Omnia) to explore the risks and opportunities a tech savvy finance team can create.

Nkonki joint auditor Telkom: `a major step` for transformation

The appointment of Nkonki as joint auditor of Telkom is "a major step towards transforming the South African auditing profession", says managing partner Mitesh Patel in an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa. Last week Telkom shareholders approved Nkonki's appointment as external auditors with EY.

Finance Indaba 2016: Stay ahead of the curve with Profectus Africa

"It is clear that the techniques for detecting trends, and better predictions using Big Data, haven't as yet been mastered," says Chris Kamffer, director of Profectus Africa, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

IBM's Leslie Moodley: CFOs can become performance accelerators through technological advancement

Technological advances are disrupting the status quo and creating huge turbulences. Businesses are converging and unforeseen competitors are emerging. It is all about creating disruption and staying ahead of the curve, which is rising at a rapid pace. And amid all this change, CFOs still need to create profits for their enterprises, writes Leslie Moodley, managing partner Global Business Services, IBM South Africa.

Retail growth prospects look poor for Massmart

Massmart, operator of brands including Game, Makro, DionWired and Builders Warehouse, among others, is unlikely to see increased sales until consumer confidence and spending in South Africa picks up. Massmart recently posted group operating profit growth of 19.2% (to R791.9 million), on the back of an increase of 8.7% in sales (to R42 billion) for the first-half of the year. The company’s gross margins came in at 19.3%, compared to 18.9% in the previous period. The group is divided into four divisions: Massdiscounters, Masswarehouse, Massbuild and Masscash. It’s the Massbuild division, which operates the Builders Warehouse retail arm, that is really feeling the squeeze. Massbuild grew total sales by 5.8%, while comparable sales grew by just 0.8% – worrying for a division that has historically performed very well. According to Massmart CEO Guy Hayward, (pictured) while Massmart intends to open 30 new stores in South Africa and another five in its African operations over the next two years, the remainder of 2016 won’t be easy.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta caps interest rate

Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s (pictured) signing of a law capping the interest rates lenders can charge on loans, shares of Kenyan banks have plunged. According to reports, Kenyatta signed the law in sympathy with Kenyans frustrated by the cost of credit and poor savings rates. KCB Group Ltd., the country’s largest bank by assets, slumped the most, dropping to its lowest level since December 2012, while Cooperative Bank Ltd. plummeted the most on record. Equity Group Holdings Ltd., the market leader in terms of value, saw the biggest one-day decline in seven years. According to Bloomberg, after the stock market closed on Wednesday 24 August, Kenyatta announced that he’d agreed to changes to the Banking Act, requiring that lenders peg credit costs at 400 basis points above the benchmark central bank rate. The law also requires financial institutions to pay interest of a minimum of 70% of the CBR on deposits.

Rob Tims named new Rhino Resources CFO

Rhino Resources, a global energy company, has announced the addition of London-based CFO Rob Tims to its leadership team. Tims, a 25-year veteran of the oil and gas industry and whose experience spans operations, finance, banking and consulting, has for the past 10 years, served as Managing Director with responsibility for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank. Patrick Mulligan, Rhino Resources President and CEO, said of Tims’ appointment:

KPMG CEO Trevor Hoole: The evolution of the modern CFO

Since Trevor Hoole joined KPMG in 1975 he has witnessed the change in CFOs from “the traditional bespectacled back-office-person” to the modern money boss of today. We asked the CEO of our principal partner what it takes to be a successful finance leader in a world of change, big data, volatility, risks and cybersecurity. Here are Trevor’s insights summarised in nine burnings topics.

Finance Indaba 2016: ManageIt has your procurement processes covered

“We can help professionals by centralising procurement, simplifying ordering, improving efficiency, reducing costs and securing pricing, sourcing and qualifying new suppliers with ease and managing BEE, contract and all other documents online,” says Brett Cunnington, marketing director of ManageIt, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Finance Indaba 2016: The Finance Team sparks a labour revolution

"Professionals worldwide are opting to work in smaller groups in which the members have complementary skillsets. This is something they can do with a group like The Finance Team,” says Grant Robson, MD of The Finance Team, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Chinese currency increasingly popular in SA: SWIFT data

The Chinese currency renminbi (RMB) now accounts for more than 30 percent of payments between South Africa and China. According to recent SWIFT data, the number of South Africa’s renminbi payments increased by a staggering 191 percent over the last two years.

Nombali Mbambo new CFO of Adapt IT

Nombali Mbambo has been appointed as an executive director and CFO of Adapt IT, effective 18 August 2016. Mbambo, a CA, completed her articles at Ernst & Young prior to joining Alexander Forbes as an accounting specialist. Thereafter, she joined the debt capital market team at ABSA Capital, later moving to the loan capital market team. Here she was responsible for originating, structuring and executing corporate loan facilities. From 2013 until she joined Adapt IT in March 2016 as CFO elect, Mbambo held the role of Finance Business Partner involved in strategic decision-making and financial management at Unilever. In her new role at Adapt IT, Mbambo’s responsibilities will include contributing to the strategic direction of Adapt IT, being accountable for the group’s finance function, involvement in mergers and acquisitions, funding and capital structuring and investor relations.

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