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Jonas Schofer, The Hackett Group: assisting CFOs

Many large South African companies can free up between 10 and 20 percent of their working capital, just by improving the quality of their processes. That is what Jonas Schofer of The Hackett Group said on Thursday when he met with CFO SA’s Melle Eijckelhoff. Over the last months Schofer has met with around 100 South African CFOs to discuss the proven, hands-on approach of Hackett, a global working capital consulting firm dedicated to delivering sustainable working capital improvement across business operations.

Carl Endenburg, SET Recruitment: moving towards CFO contracting

Plans are afoot for SET Recruitment Consultants to broaden the activities of the Johannesburg and Cape Town based recruitment company into contracting of CFOs and CEOs. In an “ever changing market” SET is continuously looking for new approaches, including partnering in various projects with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), said Carl Endenburg, Director and Owner of the company.

FD Centre meets CFO SA: how to escape the whirlwind

Companies and CFOs of big firms find themselves increasingly caught in a whirlwind, where urgent matters get priority and other important issues get shelved, Rowan de Klerk on Wednesday explained to the founders of the networking platform CFO South Africa. De Klerk is the CEO of FD Centre, an innovative company that places respected, experienced Finance Directors with smaller organisations and in the CFO offices of larger companies.

Karen Elstob, IQ Business: "Learning from other industries"

“There is a lot of value in making connections cross-industry,” said Karen Elstob, who is responsible for Business Development at IQ Business. On Wednesday Elstob met with the founders of CFO South Africa, the leading networking platform for financial professionals in South Africa. They discussed the challenges and opportunities in the financial sector. “Professionals can learn a lot from colleagues in other industries,” Elstobs said, emphasizing the significance of the CFO SA initiative.

DJ Kumbula of Innovent welcomes opportunities CFO SA

“Give us 15 minutes in front of a CFO of a big corporation and we will convince them of our rental and asset management solutions,” said DJ Kumbula, CEO of Innovent. The Johannesburg-based company offers innovative alternatives to company-purchased capital equipment, saving money for clients and keeping their equipment up to date. The list of raving testimonials is impressive and includes a recommendation by Discovery, South Africa’s largest health insurer.

CFO SA announces CFO awards 2014

CFO South Africa on Tuesday announced the establishment of a new prestigious yearly award to honour the best performing CFOs in the country. The fast-growing networking platform for financial professionals is embarking on a process to elect the best Chief Financial Officer of South Africa, culminating in a festive award ceremony in March next year. One of the first influential people who has committed to be on the jury is Victor Sekese, CEO of accounting firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo.

CQS meets CFO SA: growing markets through relationships

From left to right on the picture: Alex van Groningen (CFO SA), Jacqui Freeman (CQS Technology Holdings), Melle Eijckelhoff (CFO SA), Tertia Barrett (CQS Technology Holdings), Christy Roux (CQS Technology Holdings).

Sizwe Nkosi, CFO, Metmar Limited: `CFOs will need to improve their leading from the front and tap into the entrepreneurial sphere of their brains to remain relevant.`

Sizwe Nkosi is CFO of Metmar Limited, which has two main divisions: trading in commodities and investing in resource projects and companies. The commodities trading division focusses on international trading of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastic products and chemicals. The investment division invests in mining and minerals projects and companies with the main intention to secure long term cost effective off-take agreements to be traded by the trading division. The main office of the company is in Bryanston with satellite offices in Boksburg, Germiston, Durban and Zimbabwe. Metmar Limited is listed on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Alan Winde - Ministry of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism: "There is definitely room for more co-operation between government and companies"

Alan Winde has been a member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature since 1999. During his first term, he served as Western Cape Provincial Finance Chairman and Executive Committee Member with the Democratic Party. Prior to being re-elected in April 2009, he served as the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition in the Western Cape, as DA Spokesperson on Environment and Planning and as Deputy DA Spokesperson on Economic Development and Tourism.

First CFO South Africa event in Cape Town huge success

Thursday 1 November marked the first ever event organised by CFO South Africa. At the offices of DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in Cape Town we welcomed over 80 finance professionals from companies such as Nedbank, Accenture, Jasco, Transparent, Nebula, Alexander Forbes, Ernst & Young, Allan Gray, Zando, Kumba Iron Ore, KPMG, PwC, Sanlam, Olam International, Soitec, Old Mutual and IBM.

Bonface Ndawala - Group Financial Control Executive Globacom: `Key issues in the industry of finance at the moment would be the impact of the debt crisis in Europe and America`

The fastest growing telecommunication company in sub-Saharan Africa, Globacom provides world class cutting edge technology and designs telecom solutions to suit the needs of various publics, irrespective of size. As a company, Globacom recently made history as the first single company to build an $800 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable, known as Glo-1. It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; and it will decrease telecom costs and provide very reliable bandwidth to all the cities connected to the cable.

André Dippenaar - CFO BioTherm Energy: "It's adapt or die"

Founded in 2003, BioTherm Energy Proprietary Limited (BTE) is one of South Africa’s first independent power producers (IPP). In October 2007, BTE commissioned its 4.2 MW Biogas Project at the PetroSA refinery in Mosselbay in the Eastern Cape Province. This project was the first non-recourse project financed IPP deal to be concluded in South Africa. This project was also the first project to successfully register and monetise carbon credits in South Africa.

Anoj Singh - CFO Transnet: "The CFO is playing the role of Chief Strategy Officer"

Transnet is the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods to each and every South African. The company is fully owned by the South African government but operates as a corporate entity aimed at both supporting and contributing to the country’s freight logistics network. It aims at developing South African industry, reducing the cost of doing business, while at the same time operating efficiently and profitably. Transnet employs 60,000 people and had a yearly turnover (for the financial year to March 31 2012) of R45 billion.

Bikash Prasad - CFO Olam International (East & South Africa): "Forecasting and budgeting are more crucial than ever"

Bikash is qualified member and rank holder of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India, a member of Institute of Management Accountants, USA, MBA in Finance and DBF from the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI). He has been awarded by the Finance Minister in India for top rank in the examination of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of India. He is a recipient of government scholarship for the highest marks in board exams. He has also received scholarship from ICFAI for academic excellence.

Shaeen Khan - CFO Endress+Hauser: "Set yourself goals and work towards achieving them"

Endress+Hauser is a global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. The Swiss family-owned business, founded in 1953, supports its customers to optimize their process engineering procedures while taking into consideration reliability, safety, economic efficiency and environmental protection.

Frikkie Kotzee - CFO Kumba Iron Ore: "CFOs have had to switch their focus more to efficiency and cost control"

Kumba Iron Ore Limited is a leading value-adding supplier of high quality iron ore to the global steel industry. Kumba is a member of the Anglo American plc group, of which three of its mining businesses are based in South Africa: Platinum, Kumba Iron Ore and Thermal Coal. Kumba Iron Ore employs over 6300 people, of which nearly 75 work at the financial department of the company. The company was listed on JSE in November 2006.

Ted Baxter - CFO Norton Rose: "Not forecasting and budgeting is simply burying your head in the sand like an ostrich"

Ted Baxter, CFO of Norton Rose South Africa, was educated in Harare, Zimbabwe and came to South Africa in 1982. After a short period in the banking industry with Nedcor, he joined a manufacturing company in the accounts dept and within 2 years became financial accountant. It was at this time that he embarked on his studies to become a Chartered Secretary and Administrator (A.C.I.S.) and qualified in 1988, being registered in United Kingdom and South Africa. He is also registered as a public practitioner with the Institute. Ted joined the Boart Longyear International Group, head office, and became the group's assistant company secretary, before being appointed as Admin Manager & a divisional director at Boart Longyear Research Centre, responsible for their financial and administrative affairs. The work was extremely varied exposing Ted to the world of technology and its application in business, the setting up of time and billing, special projects, costing systems and converting research from a cost centre to a profit centre, obtaining joint funding from the CSIR and the establishment of a research centre in Ireland through obtaining financing from the Irish government and the negotiation of tax incentives. Ted sat on a number of committees in the worldwide group including finance & internal audits and IT.

Chantelle Ah Sing - CFO Sekunjalo: "The CFO has to find new methods to expand business in smarter ways to add to its growth and profitability"

Chantelle Ah Sing is CFO of Sekunjalo Investment Group. The Sekunjalo Group is a collation of companies and investments and funds. In 1997, Dr Iqbal Survé, a self-described medical doctor, philanthropist and social entrepreneur, and three of his comrades founded Sekunjalo, an investment holding company that sought to offer "a gentler capitalism" that stressed putting people before profits, and talent development as a means of raising the lives of previously disadvantaged South Africans. By 1999, the company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, making 36-year-old Survé the youngest CEO of a listed diversified conglomerate. From its inception, Sekunjalo only purchased controlling stakes in companies, hoping to empower black workers. Sekunjalo staffs nearly 600 employees, of which approximately 50 at the financial department of the company. The company has a yearly turnover of R440 million.

Ronel van Dijk - CFO Spur Group: "Shortly after I took over I changed the way we report on our international businesses. That benefited us"

Ronel van Dijk, CFO of Spur Group, has a B.Rek (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch. She qualified as a CA(SA) in December 1997 and thereafter spent a year working in the London office of Arthur Andersen & Co. She returned to Cape Town as audit manager with the firm. Ronel joined Spur head office as group financial manager in January 2003. In January 2005, Ronel was appointed as chief financial officer and company secretary, and she was appointed to the board in September 2006.

Zunaid Bulbulia - CFO MTN South Africa: `It has become a lot more stressful`

"I see the CFO becoming more strategic and crucial to overall business success than ever before; I already find myself playing a constructive role in parts of the business that were the exclusive domains of the functional executives concerned only a few short years ago." Zunaid Bulbilia, CFO of MTN South Africa, a company he joined prior to its commercial launch in January 1994 definitely feels it has become 'a lot more stressful'.

Mariette Ebersohn - CFO Mango Airlines: `Goodbye bean-counter, hello unpredictability`

"The CFO position was traditionally a “bean-counting” job primarily responsible for various accounting, reporting and budgeting exercises. Nowadays, the role is much more unpredictable with a number of additional expectations raised beyond traditional technical accounting and regulatory field of expertise." After having interviewed a great number of male CFOs, we are proud to introduce to you the first female CFO in our series. We wonder - would she have a different view on the industry, her role, the world? We'll find out. Please meet Mariette Ebersohn, CFO of Mango Airlines - South Africa’s leading low-cost airline. The airline was launched on 30 October 2006 with bookings going on sale at midnight on the same date; its first flight took place only two weeks later. Mariette joined Mango’s team in August 2008.

Strategy, Consumers and the Company

Guest writer Tare Kadzura elaborates on firms in South Africa, and how they manage to put utmost importance of the fundamental premise of why an organization exists: to provide products or services to consumers at a price that reflect value as fairly as possible. Plus: how online developments play a vital role herein.

Richard Farber, CFO Discovery: "They don't teach you how to deal with people at university"

“I make a special effort to meet all new staff, within Discovery’s Finance division, before they are hired. Partly because I want to personally feel if they are ‘good’ new employees, but also because I find it very important that they feel welcome in the company. The fact that the CFO has taken out the time especially to meet them, contributes greatly to that sense of ‘feeling at home’.” Richard Farber, CFO of Discovery, is a firm believer of the open-door culture that is very vivid in Discovery. “If people have a problem, I want them to know my door is always open – and that my being the CFO does not form a barrier for stepping into my room and talking to me.”

Craig Tingle - CFO Mediclinic: "I trust you. Don't drop me"

“Giving people and managers more power has proved very beneficial to the company.” Craig Tingle has a firm belief in giving people more accountability and responsibility, for them and the company to grow simultaneously. Craig (53) currently holds the position of Chief Financial Officer of Mediclinic International, the sixth largest listed private hospital group in the world with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It is supported by 21,000 staff members internationally.

Pieter de Jager - CFO Andulela Investment Holdings: "I don't count my chickens before they hatch"

“Financial management in the manufacturing space is the most technically challenging arena for finance professionals,” says Pieter de Jager, Chief Financial Officer of Andulela Investment Holdings. He joined the board of Andulela Investment Holdings as CFO in 2008. Andulela is an investment holding company listed on the Equity Investment Instruments sector of the main board of the JSE Limited. The company employs over 550 people and seeks to hold primarily South African strategic investments in mining and metals companies.

Henk Engelbrecht - CFO StratCorp: "The CFO needs to be a strategic thinker who understands the relationship between all the components of a business, its environment and the broader economy"

Henk Engelbrecht has only been acting as Group Financial Director of StratCorp since March 2011. It has been an interesting time so far. “I am a firm believer in not accepting the status quo and to always look at every aspect of the business critically to establish if there are better and more efficient ways of doing business.”

Low energy growth to hold back higher GDP, analysts warn

While President Jacob Zuma on Friday celebrated Eskom’s Medupi power station moving a step closer to contributing its first electricity to the national grid next year, analysts have warned that economic growth of 6% is a far-off dream if power capacity or efficiencies are not expanded faster. Experts say economic growth of 6% will not be achieved if South Africa’s power capacity sor efficiencies are not expanded faster.

Ian Blackie - CFO Wesgro: "Advances in technology will put even more pressure on the CFO"

“I would expect people to be able to tell me why they are doing something in a certain way. If the answer is “because we’ve always done it that way”, it really tells me a lot about that person and their attitude towards the company and their work.” Ian Blackie, CFO of Wesgro, was initially placed at Wesgro in November 2010 by Deloitte one a short term contract. He calls himself ‘very fortunate’ to have been offered the position of CFO of the company, as he had been looking for an opportunity to move to the Western Cape for some time already. When he was officially appointed CFO, he withheld from making any drastic changes thus far.

Warren Prinsloo - CFO Jasco: "Either step up and play your part or step down"

"We have to ask ourselves how we as a country can compete with countries like South Korea and other Asian Tigers. Frankly, I don’t think we can," says Warren Prinsloo (39), CFO of Jasco Group. Warren is a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and has been a registered member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1999. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors South Africa and has more than twelve years of experience in finance and commerce. He completed his B.Com at Wits University in 2004 followed by his B.Acc in 2005. He passed the Board exam in 2006 and then completed his articles before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1998.

Jannie Serfontein - CFO Eqstra: "A good CFO is able to see in the figures that which is not immediately obvious to others`

"Don't change something when it's working." That is exactly why Jannie Serfontein did not make any radical changes once he was appointed as CFO of Eqstra Holdings in January 2011. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria, he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1998. He started his career at Deloitte & Touche in 1999 and spent two years in the United States of America in Deloitte & Touche’s Washington DC practice as part of their global development programme.

Katie Murray - CFO Old Mutual: "Don't job-hop, get real experiences"

Scottish Katie Murray has been at Old Mutual for eight years and was Director of Finance: Group Chief Accountant at Old Mutual Plc in London from 2006. In this role, Katie was responsible for Old Mutual’s internal and external reporting, business planning and the sponsorship of the group-wide finance controls initiative. She was also part of a team that revolutionised the global finance reporting function.

Top JSE performer's secret to success

Calgro M3, a relatively low-key residential development company listed on the JSE, has again come under the spotlight prompting interest over its meteoric rise on the local bourse in comparison to competitors like RBA and Sea Kay Holdings. CEO Ben Pierre Malherbe has attributed the company’s success partly to its fully integrated model in the property sector. Commenting specifically on Calgro’s results, he said, “We are converting our pipeline into construction and that is what you are seeing coming through. We bought our own agricultural land and we’ve got our own town planning company. We go through a process where we get the land zoned and these properties are now ready to go to market.”

Is SA's job situation on a road to social Armageddon?

We have had some sobering, if not frightening statistics again on South Africa’s most critical problem – unemployment. According to Stats SA, the economy shed a net 75 000 jobs in the first quarter. This was despite growth in the agricultural sector, which gained 26 000 jobs and in private households, which created 33 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2012. In the last quarter of 2011, the formal sector shed 107 000 jobs.

The impact of global economic trends on entrepreneurial activity in South Africa

As South Africa’s economy is susceptible to global trends, it is imperative that entrepreneurs are cognisant of both local and international economic trends, as they are undeniably going to play a role in the success of their company. This is according to economist Ulrich Joubert, speaking at the recent series of Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition workshops. According to Joubert, any economy operates within the framework of Government policies, be it fiscal or voluntary. “Every year when the time for the Budget speech arrives, businesses wait with abated breathe to absorb how the imminent rise in costs will impact them financially.”

JSE's best performers

Investing in local small-cap industrials at the beginning of the year would have been the winning formula for investors; putting money into precious metal stocks would not. Four of the five best performing JSE listed companies in terms of share price (capital) growth so far this year (excluding dividend pay-outs) have been smaller-capped companies with significant local industrial exposure.

Anthony Sher - CFO Adcorp: `A huge level of frustration`

“Regulation and legislation are synonymous to a huge level of frustration.” Anthony Mark Sher (40), CFO of Adcorp, is candidly annoyed by the ever changing requirements within corporate governance, and how that keeps him from doing things he actually should be doing. According to Anthony, things are unlikely to get any easier in the future.

Will European banks destroy the world?

According to the IMF’s latest Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), one of the most pressing threats facing the global economy and the international financial system is the possibility of massive, synchronised deleveraging at European banks. Such deleveraging, which could, in the worst case scenario, run to the tune of $3.8tn (about 10% of European banking assets) if policymakers mess things up, could shave around 1.4% off GDP growth in the euro-zone by the end of next year, which would have terrible consequences for global growth, and for South African growth in particular, as SA’s economic fate is strongly tied to what happens in Europe. Given SA’s tepid growth, this is an ominous prospect. Let’s take a look at the problem, and what the IMF says policymakers should do about it.

Philippe Georges - CFO Procter & Gamble: `Relationships with distributors not the smoothest`

It was only a few months ago when French Philippe Georges moved to Cape Town. After having lived and worked in several European countries for the past years, this was quite a change of scenery. Philippe was appointed Finance Director for Procter & Gamble in South and East Africa as of January 2012. Although he has only been installed in the position for three months, he already noticed differences between South Africa and Europe. “I find that the relationship between trade and manufacture that’s linked to our industry is less smooth in South Africa; issues regarding payments seem to be somewhat more conflictual and difficult here.”

5 things managers need to know

By now, we know pretty well what works in business and what doesn’t. So why do managers waste so much time and money looking for new answers? Why do they ignore the tools that work, and mess with stuff that won’t make any difference to their results? Whatever business you run, there’s a handful of things you just have to get right in order to deliver growth and profits – and to stay in business. Everything else is a distraction. Here’s the critical few:

David Ngobeni - CFO Shanduka: `Pulling in a Chinese shareholder`

“South Africa would be better off facing the challenges of the current economic situation with greater productivity and lesser restrictions.” David Ngobeni, CFO of an investment holding company, Shanduka Group, has a very clear vision on how laws in South Africa limit the country in its development. Supported by his great negotiation skills he hopes to bring his company to the top. After just (1,5) years as CFO, he seems to be heading that way steadily.

SAICA responds to Minister Nzimande's call to boost FET Colleges

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is now actively recruiting retired Chartered Accountants CAs(SA) and seconding industry veterans to perform as CFOs, vetting administrative assistants and is finalising its strategy and operations to assist Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

Johan Burger - CFO FirstRand Limited: `Fix problems that don't exist here`

South African banks face challenging times, says Johan Burger, CFO of FirstRand Limited. “We are now faced with regulatory changes that have been driven by issues emanating from the past, which played out in global markets, but not necessarily in our home market. In many cases these changes will be a challenge to implement in South Africa, as they seek to fix problems that don’t exist here.”

JSE's most valuable company

British American Tobacco (JSE:BTI), a company that regulators worldwide tried to kill, has become the JSE’s most valuable company with a market capitalisation on March 1 of R765bn. That is 44% more than the value of runner-up BHP Billiton (JSE:BIL), the world’s top mining stock.

Tjaart Kruger - CFO African Dawn Capital: `The sky is the limit`

“When you are working in limited resource environment as transpires in a turnaround situation it becomes counterproductive. The CFO will in future have to force himself to strategically focus on business,” says Tjaart Kruger, CFO of African Dawn Capital. “It has become a very complex and highly regulated environment in the listed environment.” Skills herein are vital, yet not always present. “A major weakness that I have encountered in education is that no amount of theory prepares the finance professional for the realities of business itself. Business acumen is that ingredient that makes a good finance professional great.”

Strategy, Consumers and the Company

Guest writer Tare Kadzura elaborates on firms in South Africa, and how they manage to put utmost importance of the fundamental premise of why an organization exists: to provide products or services to consumers at a price that reflect value as fairly as possible. Plus: how online developments play a vital role herein.

Why SA should care about Fitch, S&P, & Moody's cuts

Over the last four months, as the world’s Big Three credit ratings agencies have, one by one, downgraded their outlooks for South Africa to negative, reactions have run the gamut from outrage to indifference.

2012: The year of the Innovator

Guest writer Nic Robertson shines his light on the three core concepts that will define 2012’s innovative level: leadership, culture and collaboration.

Sean Capazorio - CFO Aspen: `Plan your work and work your plan`

“Plan your work and work your plan.” That is one of the things Sean Capazorio needs to do every day to feel fulfilled in his work. In 2009 Sean was appointed Group CFO of Aspen, the leading pharmaceuticals manufacturer in the Southern hemisphere as well as Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. The company was listed on the JSE Ltd in 1998 and is included in its Top 40 Index. The Aspen Group has almost 6500 employees, of which nearly 3000 are based in South Africa. The Aspen Group has a presence in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Ireland, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Dubai, Germany and Hong Kong.

Tryphosa Ramano - CFO PPC: `Always be up to date on risk management`

“In the past companies never forecasted on corporate governance – now with the financial crisis people realize that forecasting is key.” A lot has changed for the modern CFO, according to Tryphosa Ramano, CFO of PPC; leading supplier of cement in southern Africa. Tryphosa qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA) in 1994 and since then has gained experience working in a number of organisations including: Price Waterhouse Coopers, JCI, RMB Asset Managers, National Treasury, SAA and WIPHOLD.

Nkosemntu Nika - CFO PetroSA: `I love how my job is not routine`

PetroSA is South Africa's national oil company. It owns, operates and manages South Africa's petroleum industry commercial assets. The company was formed in January 2002 from the merger of three previous entities, Mossgas (Pty) Limited, Soekor (Pty) Limited, and parts of the Strategic Fuel Fund Association.

Christine Ramon - CFO Sasol: `Becoming a skeptic but value-adding agent of change`

“An orderly outcome to the European problems is likely to see the slow and unbalanced economic recovery continue, while a disorderly outcome could easily result in the world slipping back into recession. This uncertainty complicates any company’s business planning and Sasol is no exception.” Says Christine Ramon, CFO of Sasol Limited, one of South Africa's largest companies involved in mining, energy, chemicals and synfuels.

SAICA drives transformation in Accountancy

Many current captains of industry almost invariably launched their business careers by qualifying as Chartered Accountants CA(SA). Open up any company annual report and many often than not the CEO and much of the board will have SAICA’s coveted CA (SA) designation behind their names. The classic route to the top of the corporate ladder is to qualify; gain hands-on experience with auditing firms or accountancy practices, and then enter the executive management ranks of JSE listed companies. While black chartered accountants remain so much scarcer than their white counterparts, the upper echelons of big business will continue being dominated by white faces.

Gerhard Malan - CFO Rectron: `Did South African companies miss the boat?`

“Did South African companies miss the boat by not exploring the rest of Africa sooner?” wonders Gerhard Malan, CFO of Rectron, one of South Africa’s leading ICT distributors. “I believe South Africa is its own worst enemy when it comes to growth and expansion. It seems like this is the decade for emerging markets but South Africa is missing out.”

I.T. Asset Management a CFO's nightmare

The majority of public and private organisations have recognised the need to invest extensively in IT infrastructure in pursuit of increased productivity and morale from an increasingly mobile, expensive and demanding workforce.

Jo Pohl - CFO Ubank: `CFO needs to adapt a far more pro-active and predictive approach`

Ubank (previously Teba Bank) appointed Jo-Ann Pohl to its Board as Chief Financial Officer in June 2007. Prior to her appointment, Jo – as she prefers to be called – who is a qualified chartered accountant was at Barclays Africa where she began as a Corporate Merchant Banking and Treasury Performance Consultant for Africa and the Middle East and then moved back into finance as a Regional Financial Controller before being promoted to Head of Finance for the Pan-African business. Ubank is the 9th largest Bank by assets with deposits of over R3bn and has become a well-recognised banking brand in the country.

Do you have your cash flow under control?

The REL Working Capital Performance Study is open until February 1, 2012 at no cost to participants (late entries can be allowed if requested). Obtain critical insights to achieve success in 2012 by completing the Working Capital Performance Study today.

5 Tips for your first 90 days as CFO

Starting 2012 with a job as Financial Director? Well done! Since you only get one chance to make a good impression and given the fact that a CFO on average lasts only five years, there really is no time to waste. CFO South Africa provides you with 5 golden tips for a perfect start of your new career.

Wayne van Houten - CFO Esorfranki: `Work hard, believe in yourself and be patient`

Information technology will form an important part of the future role of the CFO in South Africa. That is what Wayne van Houten, CFO of Esorfranki, replies when asked how the role of the CFO of the future will change over the next decade. “Use of information technology for financial reporting, compliance and market intelligence will also play a greater role and will bring enhanced efficiency into our business environment.”

Vodacom appoints chief financial officer

In accordance with paragraph 3.59 of the JSE Listings Requirements, shareholders are advised that Mr Ivan Dittrich (BComm Accting Honours, CTA, CA(SA)) has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer and executive director of Vodacom Group. He is expected to join the Group on or about 1 July 2012. Ivan joins the Group from Datatec where he has been the chief financial officer since May 2008 and executive director on the board of Datatec since March 2008. Prior to that Ivan held a number of senior executive positions for the past 12 years at Datatec including that of group corporate director, corporate finance manager and company secretary. He successfully managed Datatec`s dual listing in London in 2006. Prior to joining Datatec, Ivan worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and Deloitte in South Africa. Mr Peter Moyo, Chairman of Vodacom Group, stated that he welcomed the appointment and was looking forward to Ivan`s contribution on the Board.

Global CFOs face tough balancing act investing across both developed and rapid-growth markets

Few CFOs think their company is effective at managing investments across markets with significantly different growth rates according to a new Ernst & Young report launched this week. Most also lack confidence in communicating this investment balance across divergent markets to the investor community. In a survey of over 750 CFOs world-wide, two thirds replied that they do not believe their organization is good at balancing resource allocation between developed and rapid-growth markets. A similar number find it difficult to convey an over-arching narrative to investors when balancing investments across these markets.

Van Zyl Botha - CFO Randgold & Exploration: `South Africa does not seize its opportunities`

“Africa is full of opportunities and although South African companies are best located to do so, we are not seizing those opportunities.” Van Zyl Botha (31) is one of the youngest CFOs we had the pleasure of interviewing. Despite his young age, he has a great vision on how a modern CFO should ensure the long term financial sustainability of an enterprise.

Bennie van Rooy - CFO JD Group: `Strategic targets will be broken down into components`

JD Group wants to “to be world-class in our fields of expertise”. It is strategically positioned in Southern Africa as a leading diversified mass consumer financier and a differentiated furniture, appliance, electronic goods, home entertainment and office automation retailer. The Group primarily targets the mass middle market with a secondary focus on the top and bottom end market segments. The Group operates 1138 stores across Southern Africa and Poland. JD Group was listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1986 and has a yearly turnover of R15.7bn, made possible by over 25.000 staff members.

Tyrone Soondarjee - CFO Sasfin Bank: `Use your position to improve quality decision matters in defining the future of a company`

Supplement your qualifications with solid practical experience and ensure continuous professional development to stay relevant in a fast changing global economy. That is the vital advice given to you by Tyrone Soondarjee, CFO of Sasfin Bank, when asked what vital piece of advice he would give ambitious finance professionals who 'want to make it big' in the industry. Like himself, in a way.

Peter Duffy - CFO 1time: `Budgeting and forecasting are still key aspects of the financial role`

1time Holdings - a diversified aviation group - was listed on the Johannesburg Altex Stock Exchange on the 14th of August 2007. The company has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2004 and is the 100% shareholder in 1time Airline, 1time Charters, Aeronexus Technical and Aeronexus Corporate. Many people wonder what the name of the company reflects – well, here it is. The name 1time, is a reflection of the South African soul of the company. In South Africa, the phrase "one time!" is a colloquialism meaning "for real!" Within six years of existence, 1time grew from a 4-man company to a JSE-listed one, staffing over 600 employees and a yearly turnover of R1,2 billion.

Bafokeng reaps rewards of persistence in R5.4bn deal

One of the measures of a good business book is how much you remember years after reading it. By that measure, Mark McCormack book on Negotiating rates highly. The founder of the world’s dominant sports agency IMG shared many of his experiences, all of which led to the conclusion that the best deal was one where everyone walks away with a smile on their faces. Never screw over the other side, he advised. It will always come back to bite you. The best deals are those when everyone feels they have given up a little more than they were able to take.

South African cities: 'greenest' urban areas

Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are listed as ‘green above average’ according to the Africa Green City Index, which was published last week. Along with South Africa's major cities, some cities from the North Africa region were also considered the 'greenest' urban areas on the continent. Ghana’s capital Accra, is the only sub-Saharan African city (excluding South Africa) in the “above average” category.

Garth Saunders - CFO SAB Miller: `As a modern leader you need to lead by example`

CFO South Africa had the pleasure of interviewing a large number of CFOs of leading South African companies. Today we meet Garth Saunders, CFO of SAB Miller, South Africa’s premier brewer and leading distributor of beer and soft drinks. The company operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion liters. The company has a yearly turnover of R40bn, including a R7bn profit.

Vodacom recognised as Best Performer on JSE SRI Index

Vodacom was today recognised as a Best Performer company on the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index. This accolade was achieved in the low environmental impact category, and Vodacom was the only ICT company to be awarded this status. Best Performers are companies that meet their relevant environmental threshold, their core indicators for societal, governance and related sustainability concerns as well all climate change indicators. The Index philosophy is founded on the principals of the triple bottom line, namely environmental, social and economic sustainability, underpinned by robust corporate governance.

Paul Prinsloo - CFO PwC South Africa: `Keeping financial operations at the highest standard is vital`

The role of the CFO has changed from scorekeeper, care talker and treasurer to strategic business partner, communicator, financier, finance operator, compliance steward, run rate monitor, talent manager, financial envoy. These are the words of wisdome spoken by Paul Prinsloo, CFO of PwC South Africa, South Africa’s office of the world's largest professional services firm. PwC South Africa staffs over 4,200 people nationwide, of which 100 employees in the financial department. The firm locally has a turnover of more than R3 billion per annum.

What makes successful leaders tick?

New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has always been interested in what makes successful leaders tick. While still a young trainee and lower-level employee in sports management, he started calling leaders he admired to get their thoughts on which qualities were the most important. "When I became general manager of the Jets (in 2006), people suddenly started answering my phone calls," Tannenbaum noted.

Break up the big-four auditors?

The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) has decided not to comment on European moves to curb the dominance of the big-four auditing firms but standards boss Ewald Muller says EU commissioner Michel Barnier is “smoking his socks”. Spokesperson Bontle Sikwe said Saica has nothing to say. The accounting institute is in the invidious position of having the Big Four and thousands of smaller members. The Big Four pay by far the biggest subscriptions and contribute the lion’s share of Saica’s vital Thuthuka educational project. But while Saica won’t comment Ewald Müller, senior executive, standards, told me Barnier was on “a one-man crusade” and “over the top”.

Lawrence Weitzman - CFO Business Connexion: `Today's CFO is much more of a business partner than the gate keeper`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. This time we get to talk to Lawrence Weitzman, CFO of Business Connexion, Africa’s leading ICT Solutions provider. Business Connexion is a JSE-listed company employing about 6500 people. Lawrence is responsible for the finance and commercial departments, staffing about 200 people. BCX will have revenue of R6bn in 2012 at a 6% operating margin.

Iain Bennie - CFO Stanlib: `Cash is King!`

Stanlib is the largest unit trust manager in the country and one of the leading asset and wealth managers in South Africa and emerging markets. The company is based in Johannesburg and has a footprint in seven African countries. The company was formed in 2002 when Liberty and Standard Bank’s asset management and wealth businesses merged. It is the biggest unit trust company in South Africa, managing assets for over 350,000 clients and employing almost 550 employees directly. We had the honor of enjoying a one-on-one with Iain Bennie, CFO of Stanlib.

SA's signals on Walmart 'puzzle investors'

Foreign investors are confused by conflicting messages from the government on the Walmart deal, says Gauteng economic development MEC Qedani Mahlangu. In May, the Competition Tribunal authorised Walmart to buy a 51% holding in Massmart , subject to the companies setting up a fund to assist local suppliers and manufacturers. Three Cabinet ministers are appealing against the approval, while Ms Mahlangu is in talks to access the companies’ enterprise fund. "We are saying different things at different times. We are not clear about what we want to do," Ms Mahlangu said yesterday. She was in talks with Walmart about how the Gauteng government would use some of the R100m enterprise development fund to boost young entrepreneurs and small business. Walmart spokesman Brian Leroni yesterday confirmed discussions with "MECs and government officials. I cannot say I know the details of the talks." Ms Mahlangu said it was "extremely unfortunate" that Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson were challenging the Walmart deal, because "we are sending confusing messages to investors". "In talking to investors, the interests of SA should not be compromised because as much as we seek to see the country growing, we should not compromise issues of jobs and economic growth." President Jacob Zuma this year announced that almost R20bn had been allocated for job creation, matched by a similar amount in tax breaks for new business projects and the expansion of the manufacturing sector. Ms Mahlangu said government departments should make those incentives "practical" and ensure that they benefited investors. They could not be referee and player at the same time. "SA needs the world to believe that the country is open for business." Neren Rau, CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said yesterday the chamber was pleased with the acknowledgement of messages being mixed — a concern for local investors too. This article was previously published on BusinessDay and written by Setumo Stone Category: guest article

7 Tips to discover the true candidate

"I see right through you." If only we could... Today’s financial world is – to say the least – a tumultuous place. Can we still trust it, really? If we are to believe critics, all is to blame on finance professionals lacking integrity. Clearly, we would never claim that finance professionals in fact lack certain ethics, but let’s face it – you need a bit more than just being a good boy or girl to cut it in today’s corporate world. It is a thin line between being sincere and being a snake. Thin, yet crucial. Tmes have changed and with it also the importance of being sincere more than a snake. Whether it is just a temporary thing or a panic reaction to numb the critics, in practice this means that ethics and integrity are increasingly more important for companies and institutions when reviewing new employees. The financial world needs to get rid of the stigma of its current imago, in which only money and power reign.

Chris Beukman - CFO Deloitte: `Good people skills are a necessary requirement to be successful`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Mr. Chris Beukman, CFO of Deloitte, one of South Africa’s leading professional services firms staffing over 3700 employees. Chris matriculated in 1968 in Pretoria and completed BCom (Acc) (Hons) at University of Pretoria in 1973. He joined Pretoria based accounting practise Van Geusau, Coetzee & De Wit as a trainee accountant in 1973 and was qualified as Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)) in 1975. In 1978 he was appointed as a partner in the above practise, which was eventually incorporated into Deloitte & Touche through a series of mergers.

Gradual recovery for listed property

WITH investor demand being hampered by enduring economic challenges and stalled global growth, Auction Alliance is predicting a gradual and patchy recovery for the local commercial property sector over coming months, with certain segments expected to perform better than others. The values of both residential and commercial real estate assets in SA are expected to fall by a further 10% over the next 12 months according to Auction Alliance.

Shoprite halts dividends in Zambia

Shoprite yesterday told holders of shares on its Zambian register that dividends will not be paid because of litigation over missing shares worth R70m. Executive director Carel Goosen confirmed that an extraordinary meeting of shareholders in Lusaka was told all Zambian dividends would be put into an escrow account until it could be established which shares were legitimate and which were not.

Does SA have a debt problem?

Is SA’s public debt too big, or is there another problem? Moneyweb jurnalist Felicity Duncan elaborates on South Africa's position in what seems to be a trend in today's global economy.

Norman Thomson - CFO Woolworths: `Courage and integrity are key characteristics`

CFO South Africa interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Norman Thomson, CFO of Woolworths, one of South Africa’s largest chain of retail stores. Woolworths staffs 18000 people, of which 240 at the financial department of the Johannesburg based head office. Woolworths currently has a yearly turnover of R25.8bn and makes R2.3bn profit before tax (pbt). After having completed a B Com at Rhodes University, Norman pursued a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) at the University of the Witwatersrand. After serving in one or two roles as Finance Manager and Finance Director of a Woolworths group subsidiary, Norman moved into the world of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. It was in this capacity that he joined Woolworths 20 years ago, to make a comeback into the world of finance only a decade later, when he was appointed Finance Director of Woolworths ten years ago.

Four faces of the CFO

Today’s CFOs are under more pressure than ever. Economic uncertainty, increased regulatory requirements, financial restatements and increased investor scrutiny have forced them into the spotlight. At the same time, they face never-ending pressure to cut costs, grow revenue, ensure controls, and are even put at personal risk for the company’s mistakes. Given these pressures, it’s no wonder that CFO turnover is on the rise and the role is under greater scrutiny, internally and externally.

Compliance Creates Enterprises

Guest writer Susheila Moodley writes about the urgency and the need for the compliance industry in South African business, along with how a qualification in the industry creates stability and opportunities in business.

Alex Smith - CFO Altron: "Yes You Can"

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Meet Alex Smith, CFO of Altron, a large South African investment holding company. Altron currently staffs around 13.000 people, and has a turnover of R23 billion. Alex joined Altron in 2006 and appointed to the CFO role in August 2008. Scottish Alex was trained as a CA in Edinburgh, Scotland with Price Waterhouse, after having done a law degree at Edinburgh University. He came out to South Africa on a two year secondment in 1995 and “never looked back!” He worked for PwC in South Africa through to 2005, spending eight years in their transaction services department doing a wide range of financial due diligences, before moving to Altron at the beginning of 2006 as Group Financial Manager.

Wanted: Guest writers!

Are you an accountant, recruiter, consultant, coach, student, journalist, CFO or CEO and do you have an interesting, innovative or surprising view on finance, the industry or the economy? CFO South Africa is looking for guest writers who are interested in sharing their vision with the members of the community.

Vodacom announces changes to Group Board of Directors

Vodacom today announced changes to its Group Board of Directors. Tom Boardman has stepped down from the Board with effect from 30 October 2011, in the light of his other commitments. Vodafone Group Commercial Director Morten Lundal has stepped down from the Board with effect from 3 November 2011 and has been replaced by Ms Karen Witts (MA, ACA (UK)) with effect from 4 November 2011. Karen is the Regional Chief Financial Officer of Vodafone: Africa, Middle East, Asia and Asia Pacific. Karen joined Vodafone on 1 June 2010 and was the former Chief Financial Officer of BT Retail and Managing Director: Enterprises at British Telecom.

Bruce Sneddon - CFO Auction Alliance: `Finance will only be one part of the role of the future CFO`

CFO South Africa has interviewed a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. Next in our series is Bruce Sneddon, CFO of Auction Alliance, one of South Africa’s leading auction services groups, staffing 175 people and a turnover of R300m. Bruce joined Auction Alliance in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer in December 2009. As a qualified Chartered Accountant, Mr. Sneddon completed both his under- and post-graduate studies at UCT, followed by his articles at Deloitte. Prior to his position at Alliance Group, Bruce acted as CFO at Integer, Finance Executive at Truworths, CEO and former Group Financial Director at Appleton, as well as being Group Accountant for Norwich Holdings. 1. What do you enjoy most about your job?

7 Essential habits for personal effectiveness

Ever heard of the book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey? You should! We think it is one of the best, well, at least one of the best selling management books ever – an impressive 22 million copies were sold so far. Here’s the first vital lesson; the difference between being effective and being efficient. Being effective means doing the right things, whereas being efficient implies doing things right. What do you find important? Which are your personal values? Those are the typical questions you need to be able to answer in order to do things effectively, to be effective. The closer you are to your personal values, the easier you will find it to master Covey’s 7 habits of high effectiveness.

Paul O'Flaherty - CFO Eskom: `Companies have great strategies but fail in executing them appropriately`

CFO South Africa is interviewing a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. From now on, we will publish them on our site regularly. Next in our series is Mr. Paul O’Flaherty, CFO of Eskom, a company staffing 42,000 people, which he joined in January 2010. He was appointed to the Board as executive director responsible for the finance function overseeing nearly 3.000 employers in the finance and shared services departments.

5 Most often made mistakes during presentations

Some people simply seem gifted with the ability to speak in public. While others struggle through nerves and stutters when giving a presentation, others just come up, entertain and inform their audience in an admirable way, seemingly effortless. And on top of it – the audience ends up doing exactly what the speaker intended. Mission accomplished. Why can’t we all be like that?

Professionals concerned about economy

There has been a sharp decline in confidence in the local economic situation. This is according to the Graduate Professionals Confidence Index compiled by insurance and investment company PPS.

Cullen Penny - CFO of STBB: `Cash flow will remain critical`

CFO South Africa is interviewing a large number of CFOs and CEOs of leading South African companies. From now on, we will publish them on our site regularly. The second in our series is Cullen Penny, CFO of STBB (Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes). Cullen Penny is the financial director of the law firm STBB, a company he joined in 2007.