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27 October 2015

Clean books and clean streets: Suren Maharaj at Pikitup

Inheriting the wonky books of a government-owned company known for its shoddy service delivery and corruption sagas involving many staff members including the senior management is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Durban-born CA Suren Maharaj was clearly up to the task. He managed to turn around Pikitup, the waste management company of the City of Johannesburg and turn an organisation with disastrous financials into a success story.

03 March 2015

Casper Troskie, Liberty: communication is key for modern CFO

“It is very important to understand how investors see the business, because if you don’t listen to them, you might miss important trends,” says Casper Troskie, Financial Director at financial services company Liberty. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa Troskie shares valuable advice for ambitious Chartered Accountants, recalls his proudest moments and elaborates on the culture change that Liberty has embarked on. “It has been a great journey, but I see the task only as a third of the way done.”

16 January 2015

Lenore Kerrigan, Sales Director OpenText: preparing for the Digital First World

“As companies prepare for a Digital First World, the CFO will play a key role in providing the financial underpinning of this digital transformation, says Lenore Kerrigan, Sales Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at software company OpenText Corporation. “It is controversial, but in many companies CFOs are still mainly reporting on historic facts and figures. The role of modern CFOs, however, is forward looking and includes a very strong focus on understanding risk and financial growth. Our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Enterprise Information Management (EIM) systems can help them accomplish this.”

23 September 2014

CFO of the Week: Rofhiwa Irene Singo: I am known as CFO Clean Audit

Popularly referred to as “CFO Clean Audit”, Rofhiwa Irene Singo leads the Finance Department at the Department of Mineral Resources, and has a remarkable story of perseverance to tell. Irene, as she prefers to be called, has been instrumental in turning around the failing financial reporting at three public institutions and prides herself in having achieved these under very difficult conditions. “I always knew that I could do it, hard and smart working paid the price. The name CFO Clean Audit resonates well with me and I like it,” she says.

05 August 2014

Mike Brown, CEO Nedbank: Brilliant CFOs are persuasive

"The best CFOs are intellectually persuasive without being arrogant," says Nedbank CEO Mike Brown, a former Chief Financial Officer himself. In a candid interview with CFO South Africa Brown talks about himself, growth opportunities in the rest of Africa, the importance of small businesses to jumpstart the South African economy and the characteristics that set brilliant CFOs apart from merely solid ones. "You need to be able to read the tea leaves and persuade others about what this means for the future and what the organisation needs to do differently as a result."

12 June 2014

Tyrone Soondarjee, Financial Director Sasfin: Carving out your role as CFO

“As a commercially-orientated CFO, I like to play a leading role in business which is why Sasfin is good fit for me. It offers opportunities to broaden my horizons and that is what appeals to me,” says Tyrone Soondarjee, Financial Director at Sasfin bank and the JSE-listed Sasfin Holdings Group. Speaking about the Group, Soondarjee says: “We understand entrepreneurs, because we are entrepreneurial ourselves.”

11 March 2014

CFO Awards jury interviews CFOs of AfroCentric, Howden and Eqstra

Jury members of the 2014 CFO Awards on Tuesday interviewed three talented gentlemen, who have made a name for themselves as CFO. The interview series will inform detailed reports that will help the impressive team of jury members to choose the winners from a select list of nominated CFOs. The 7 prestigious CFO Awards will be handed out to the winners during a black tie event on May 15 at the beautiful Summer Place in Johannesburg. For more information visit cfoawards.co.za

19 February 2014

Tanuja Naidoo, CFO Transnet Pipelines: Invest time in people

“My best contribution as a CFO is that I aim to develop leaders,” says Tanuja Naidoo, who has been in charge of finance at Transnet Pipelines since 2009. After turning around the finance department, she was recently tasked to do the same in procurement and risk management at their Durban headquarters. The key to every successful manager is investing time in people, she says. “That is something I live by. I lead by example.

10 October 2013

Lucas Ramagaga, CFO Total Client Services: Affecting people's lives

“What we do as finance directors and chief financial officers affects people’s lives,” says Lucas Orapeleng Ramagaga, 32-year old CFO at Total Client Services. “We deal with shareholders, but also clients, suppliers and our own employees – it is a big responsibility.” Having made short work of the corporate ladder, Ramagaga does not shy away from the task. “I have a high appetite for growth, so a future role as CEO, chairman doesn’t scare me – it will just be an opportunity to affect even more lives.”

02 October 2013

Kuda Makoni, Manager at Deloitte Consulting: Innovation key for South African banks

Most challenges that CFOs of South African banks and financial institutions face are the same as elsewhere in the world, but there are a number of specific issues that plague finance leaders in the developing world and South Africa specifically. That is the message of Kuda Makoni, strategy and innovation manager at Deloitte Consulting. “The South African sector is world class, so it faces global problems,” said Makoni.

22 October 2012

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.

20 September 2012

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.

03 July 2012

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.

06 June 2012

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.

18 May 2012

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.

19 December 2011

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.

02 December 2011

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”.

22 November 2011

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.

14 November 2011

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.

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