Technology for tomorrow

Are you a tech evangelist? From developing a coherent and workable strategy, knowing how data and analytics will drive finance forward and learning to anticipate the disruptive technologies which may challenge your business models, tech savvy CFO are on the frontfoot.

29 August 2016

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.

26 August 2016

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.

22 August 2016

Data governance in times of POPI and cyber crime - Yolanda Smit, PBT Group

An increase in cyber attacks targeting businesses and legislative requirements like the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) have brought attention to the need for effective data governance, says Yolanda Smit, Strategic Business Intelligence Manager at PBT Group. At its heart, data governance focuses on driving enterprise data management practices to the next level of maturity, where data is being managed intentionally and not just as an afterthought. Data security and privacy management, data architecture management, data quality management, records management, business intelligence, and data operations management are all vital elements in this new discipline of management.

03 August 2016

Wipro Partners and IDC give rural school learners access to technology

Leading global IT, consulting and business process services company Wipro has launched a three-year CSI project in partnership with South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to set up 29 computer labs across South Africa, benefiting 28,000 students from rural areas. Gavin Holme, Business Head, Wipro Africa, said the company is committed to building a sustainable economy in South Africa, and that Wipro will be providing a broad range of hardware, software, connectivity, education and programme management resources.

27 July 2016

Finance Indaba 2016: Zetta Business Solutions make a CFO's life easier

"We can help finance professionals to improve their ability to better utilise their time, by automating and simplifying remedial processes like data collection, allowing them to spend more time on analysis," says Anna Puzone, the head of enterprise performance management at information management company Zetta Business Solutions, a gold partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

27 June 2016

Creativity needed for big data to drive revenue, says risk actuary Stefan Swanepoel

“Taking advantage of opportunities requires more creative thinking than simple analysis of data,” says risk actuary Stefan Swanepoel, the principal consultant for Directrix Risk Services, an actuarial and corporate risk management consultancy specialising in the pricing, financing and control of risks. Swanepoel has more than 13 years of experience in this field and currently consults to many of the largest South African companies, as well as many large international corporates. A fellow of the Institute of Risk Management and the Actuarial Society of South Africa, Swanepoel followed his father, a state actuary, into the profession after serving time in the military. He spoke to us about the impact of Big Data, risk management, the changing climate in South Africa and how it compares to foreign nations.

24 June 2016

Financial inclusion and money-making: FinTech Africa event massive success

How can FinTech companies help millions of Africans get access to financial services? And what should FinTech entrepreneurs do to build viable, money-making businesses out of this? Those were some of the key questions during a spectacular FinTech Africa event at 23 June 2016, hosted at the beautiful Woodmead offices of Deloitte South Africa and co-sponsored by WeChat, the company that invented the increasingly popular social communications app.

23 June 2016

Meet Christine Ramon (AngloGold Ashanti), winner of the Finance & Technology Award at the CFO Awards 2016

“Just being recognised as CFOs is great, along with the fact that we are making an impact in the business community. I would like to thank CFO South Africa and the sponsors for this event," said Christine Ramon, CFO of AngloGold Ashanti, on receiving this year’s Finance and Technology Award at the CFO Awards 2016, held on 12 May at the stunning Summer Place. Pictured right: Christine Ramon with Kholiwe Makhohliso (Oracle) Christine was joined at the awards by her three CA siblings: Justine Mazzocco (exco member Deloitte), Veran Kathan (CFO Vodacom Business Africa) and Mark Kathan (CFO AECI), the latter a nominee of the CFO Awards in both 2015 and 2016.

20 June 2016

Allianz Risk Transfer and Nephila successfully pilot blockchain tech

Allianz Risk Transfer AG (ART) and Nephila Capital Limited (Nephila) have successfully piloted the use of blockchain smart contract technology for transacting a natural catastrophe swap. The test demonstrates that transactional processing and settlement between insurers and investors can be significantly accelerated and simplified by blockchain-based contracts. It also points to other benefits such as increased tradability of cat bonds and wider opportunities to apply this technology in other insurance transactions. Richard Boyd, Bermuda-based Chief Underwriting Officer of ART, said:

06 June 2016

Kuben Naidoo new registrar of banks

The Reserve Bank recently appointed Kuben Naidoo (pictured), one of its three deputy governors, as registrar of banks. Naidoo will fill both the deputy governor and registrar roles, effective 1 June, following Rene van Wyk’s recent retirement at end May. This comes ahead of the establishment of a new Prudential Authority that will regulate banks and insurers in terms of the new Twin Peaks model of regulation. The Twin Peaks legislation, which requires that the CE of the Prudential Authority be a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, is in line with developments in financial sector regulation globally. It will see responsibility for banks, insurers and others in the sector split between a Prudential regulator, in the Reserve Bank, and a Market Conduct regulator, which will sit in the Financial Services Board. According to Naidoo, the Bank hopes the legislation, currently still with parliament, will be passed later this year so that it can come into effect on 1 January 2017.

23 May 2016

INOVO's Thinus Janse van Rensburg: Four ways customers should drive a CFO's IT spend

CFOs have traditionally not had to engage with IT. The CIO or other IT execs would simply recommend that the company adopt certain technologies without explaining how those technologies benefit the company. Buzzwords about technology and business processes can be impressive or baffling, depending on the level of communication between departments. It has become increasingly apparent that CFOs can benefit from engaging with IT, and that this engagement has a direct impact on profitability.

22 April 2016

Five tech trends CFOs cannot ignore - a chat with KPMG's Frank Rizzo

“I have always had a passion for technology,” says Frank Rizzo, who is in charge of the technology sector and of data & analytics at KPMG across Africa. Frank is a popular speaker at CFO South Africa events, combining ultra-current insights with an easy presentation style. In an exclusive interview with CFO South Africa, Frank speaks about his love for technology, the way CFOs should use data, and his plans to increasingly work with incubators and startups. Frank also lists five technology trends CFOs cannot afford to ignore.

30 March 2016

To SPAC or not to SPAC? An interview with #FinTech financier Greg Voigt

"The traditional PE model is stale and battling with an ever increasing amount of regulations and complexity," says Greg Voigt, chief investment officer at special purpose acquisition company M-FiTEC that listed on the JSE’s AltX board at the end of last year. We spoke to him about the advantages of a SPAC over other financing forms, the opportunities for FinTech in South Africa and his ambitions with M-FiTEC.

06 March 2016

Mike Lysko, AYE: taking eventing to the next level through tech

Mike Lysko was up to his elbows in the event space when the makings of a brilliant idea started to take root in his mind. He frequently saw people at events lined up (im)patiently waiting their turn to talk to the flushed assistant at the information desk. He noticed others lugging around reams of print materials handed out at seminars and presentations, or walking in circles around the venue, unsure where their next session was being held. Then there were those surprised to hear post-event that they'd missed a great special valid only on the day, or struggling to get in touch with an exhibitor whose wares had caught their attention but whose business card they'd misplaced. The idea nagged at him until he paid it enough attention for it to germinate properly into a concept, and then, with the help of a tech incubator, BizSpark, into a business: AppYourEvent (AYE). "I always knew I wanted to start a company in the tech space," says Lysko, who has always found the tech sector intriguing. He launched AYE in 2014, though its beginnings were humble, as he could only dedicate time outside of his 8-5 job to the business. His first client was HobbyX, an annual craft and hobby expo that attracts 30 000 attendees, and which he secured through a personal connection. "They were looking for a solution because they wanted to do away with all the print material," explains Lysko. "They could see the trend was there for such a solution." Lysko used HobbyX's database to conduct a survey, asking customers about the pain points they experienced or what features would be useful should HobbyX put together an app for their event. Based on the results of this market research he then developed an app prototype. After the event he dissected the data and tweaked the app accordingly. "It was a great learning experience," he says. "There was about a 30% change." A year later AYE had become busy enough that Lysko left his full-time employment to focus on the company. He bootstrapped it entirely, investing everything he had into the fledgling business. But it paid off, and in little over six months AYE's staff contingent had grown from Lysko alone to six staffers on the payroll. Better still, AYE has already been used at events in 15 countries, and has several high-profile clients on its books, including Sage Pastel, The Rockefeller Foundation, Smart Procurement, and Oracle. While the app was not an entrant in the awards, Lysko and his team were nominated to create the app for the MTN App of the Year awards. "That was a big milestone," he says. Lysko believes the tech has been quite disruptive to the event space. "In the sense that your traditional marketing methods have been changed with this app because you’re alerting users to personalised messages or notifications," he says. Rather that printing out stacks of bulk material for attendees, all the info they need it accessible literally at their fingertips. Better yet, the generated data is incredibly useful for planning of future events, debriefing of past events, or reporting back to sponsors, partners or other event role players. "With the app you are able to say to a client, 'your sponsorship banner received x number of views or taps'," Lysko explains. "So you can give real ROI to sponsors." For users, the uses are myriad, and can be enjoyed at the event as well as before and after. Attendees who download the app ahead of the event can connect with and communicate with other attendees ahead of time, scheduling networking sessions if they so choose or simply exchanging information. They can introduce themselves ahead of time to a speaker or person of importance they might like to meet on the day. And, because the programme for the event is live through the app, any updates, changes and reminders are in real-time, and users can access details of planned presentations, participate in live polls or surveys, or peruse available reading material ahead of a session they might be attending. As with many businesses, there have been some small hiccups along the way. "Getting people to buy into the idea initially was quite a challenge," Lysko says. "There were clients but they were hesitant." It also took some time getting acquainted with the rules and regulations of the Google and Apple app stores, in order to get each app onto the platform for download. "Learning about those submissions and processes was challenging at first, but now I've got a good relationship with them," Lysko says. Each app for each client gets put through this same process before it is made available on the app stores. Thus far, AYE has published close on 35 full apps and 40-plus prototypes, though Lysko anticipates this number will continue to grow, and quickly too.

26 February 2016

FinTech Africa event: fascinating insights in #blockchain at Barclays Rise

A Dutch “prophet of the future", a forward-thinking Barclays boss and a group of amazing South African FinTech pioneers engaged in some intriguing discussions and short presentations during FinTech Africa’s Blockchain event in Cape Town on 25 February 2016. The gathering of around 80 FinTech professionals and enthusiasts was hosted at the marvelous Rise innovation hub of Barclays Africa at the Bandwidth Barn in Woodstock.

19 February 2016

Blockchain will revolutionise business, says Bankymoon CEO Lorien Gamaroff

"Blockchain is going to be a massive disruptive force. This is the next revolution, the next Internet, if you like. It is not an understatement to declare that a new technological revolution is upon us," says Lorien Gamaroff, founder and CEO of Bankymoon, a software company focusing on Blockchain technologies. Gamaroff will be one of the speakers at the much-anticipated FinTech Africa Blockchain Event, taking place on 25 February in Cape Town.

19 January 2016

Paul Marten, CFO Microsoft SA: talking products within finance

“As a finance team we can bring our own products into the conversation with our business partners and our customers, by talking about how we do things at Microsoft.” Discussions about finance transformation and the evolution of the CFO can sometimes sound theoretical and dry – not so with Paul Marten, Finance Director at Microsoft South Africa. Using the same tools that his famous firm is selling, he embodies the outward looking finance leader of the 21st century.

14 December 2015

Use big data to grow your business, says Uber's Dave Kitley

Speaking at the recent Oracle Cloud Day, held at The Forum in Bryanston, Dave Kitley, Driver Operations and Logistics Manager Uber Johannesburg and Pretoria, explained how the Uber concept began purely in response to a need. The company's founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, were standing on a Paris street one chilly evening, trying to hail a cab. After several unsuccessful minutes they thought there must be a better way to do this. In each of their pockets – as in the pockets of many people – was a smartphone and a credit card. Surely, they pondered, something could be created using just these two things? With this in mind, the pair returned home to San Francisco to develop their app concept, and thus was created Uber.

09 November 2015

Virtual data rooms essential for M&A - Arie Maree, Ansarada

Virtual data rooms are crucial in ensuring that the acquisition process is as smooth as possible. That is according to Arie Maree, director at Ansarada, a world leader in merger and acquisition technology and headline sponsor of the Knife Capital Exit Conference, held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 21 August. A virtual data room is a limited-access website or software platform that bidders and advisers can use to peruse confidential corporate information before making a decision to purchase. These rooms offer significant cost savings on physical centres, especially when large teams of experts are required to perform extensive due diligence processes. They can be used for data storage, document exchange, file sharing, financial transactions and legal transactions, among other functions.

21 October 2015

Think globally & grow up - successful FinTech event in Cape Town

South African FinTech companies need to adopt an attitude of abundance, learn to “think globally” and then “grow up and do the hard work”. Those were some of the conclusions of the incredibly successful and well-attended FinTech Africa event in Cape Town on Tuesday 20 October 2015. “We have been overwhelmed by the response,” FinTech Africa MD Graham Fehrsen candidly admitted. “Never in our wildest dreams had we expected such a large audience and such fantastic speakers.”

19 October 2015

FinTech entrepreneurship 'tough, painful and unhealthy', says Perry Blacher

The challenge for African FinTech entrepreneurs is "doing things that are big enough", says seasoned FinTech entrepreneur Perry Blacher. According to him the best ones focus on the bottom of the pyramid. "A lot of entrepreneurs start businesses solely for the four million South Africans with money, while ignoring the 51 million who don’t have much in their bank accounts," he says. We spoke to Perry in the run up to our big FinTech Africa event in Cape Town tomorrow.

15 October 2015

Fintechs don't realise own arrogance, says Paul Steenkamp (Standard Bank)

"Banks need to become less self-obsessed and more aware that all the decisions they make have to have customers at the centre," says Paul Steenkamp, Head: Innovation Capability at the Standard Bank Group. Paul was on the panel during the successful 2nd FinTech Africa event in Johannesburg. In the lead up to our 3rd event in Cape Town on 20 OctoberEbrahim Moolla spoke to him about the panic banks felt about FinTech and the way they are starting to embrace the revolution now. "One plus one equals three. Banks and FinTech companies can achieve a lot more by working together."

12 October 2015

Next FinTech disruptor is African, says Techstars director Greg Rogers

The world-renowned startup accelerator Techstars has set up shop in Cape Town. As part of the recently announced Barclays Africa incubator Rise, Techstars and Barclays have partnered together to create a unique program for 10 promising FinTech startups. Applications are open until 10 January with program start on March 28. We spoke to Techstars executive director Greg Rogers about the program and his vision for FinTech in the continent.

08 October 2015

African FinTech businesses can conquer the world, says IDM's Benay Sager

"FinTech is a fantastic thing, but lenders must be responsible and conduct proper creditworthiness assessments," says Benay Sager, chief operating officer at Intelligent Debt Management. Benay will be on the panel of experts during our upcoming FinTech Africa event in Cape Town on 20 October. Our journalist Ebrahim Moola spoke to him about FinTech's benefits and barriers. "My hope is that many more people will enjoy access to mobile banking technology and not have to go into a branch."

05 October 2015

Colin Vallis: attitude change financial institutions crucial for Afican FinTech

Big financial institutions in South Africa have changed their attitude and are now ready to collaborate with FinTech companies, says investment professional Colin Vallis (PlatCol Investments), who was on the panel during the successful 2nd FinTech Africa event in Johannesburg. In the lead up to our 3rd event - in Cape Town on 20 October - Ebrahim Moolla spoke to Colin and got his vision on the state of FinTech in the country. Are there too many virtual payment solutions? Where are the venture capitalists? What should entrepreneurs do better?

02 October 2015

The future of investing in FinTech in Africa? Join us on 20 October!

FinTech Africa is back, with an event that promises to be bigger, better and even more inspiring than the July event in Johannesburg. Hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED) at their Bellville campus in Cape Town, national and international speakers and panellists will shed their light on the f future of investing in FinTech in Africa. Whether you are an investor or a FinTech entrepreneur, the event on 20 October 2015 is one you should not miss!

18 August 2015

Triple CFO Award winner Colin Brown raises the bar at Super Group

“You need to understand what world class means and then raise the bar for your own company.” There is no doubt that Colin Brown knows what he is talking about. In his position as Group CFO, he assisted the Group Chief Executive Officer, Peter Mountford, and the current leadership in rescuing the flailing Super Group from the abyss five years ago, turning it into a profitable transport logistics and mobility group once again.

12 August 2015

Meet Colin Brown (Super Group), winner Finance & Technology Award 2015

I am not telling any secrets when I say that Colin Brown was one of the hot favourites for the CFO of the Year Award 2015. After scooping up two major awards during the first CFO Awards in 2014 - Strategy Execution and Digital Transformation - the Super Group story had only gotten better and Brown is considered one of the key engineers of the remarkable turnaround and renewed ascend of the South African firm. However, the panel of judges felt that Deon Viljoen's remarkable work at Alexander Forbes deserved the recognition and Brown was pipped to the post.

29 July 2015

FinTech Africa event: as it happened (with all the tweets!)

Disruption, the value of failure, attitude, innovation and collaboration were some of the keywords during a riveting FinTech Africa event at GIBS Business School in Johannesburg on Tuesday 28 July 2015. With lifehacker Martijn Aslander as keynote speaker, FinTech guru Nicole Anderson and Wizzit CEO Brian Richardson as presenters and a bunch of the most exciting FinTech experts on a lively panel, the energy in the room was palpable. With well over 100 people from the FinTech ecosystem attending the event, we're already looking forward to putting together the next one.

28 July 2015

FinTech innovators and capital need to partner - Charles Savage, GT247.com

In South Africa entrepreneurs tend to be very poor at articulating or selling their ideas to capital, that’s according to Charles Savage, Chief Executive Officer at online trading company GT247.com. “When it comes to valuing an income statement, we can compete with the best in the world, but when it comes to valuing a business plan, not so much, because it requires a greater leap of faith,” says Savage.

27 July 2015

Grant Morgan, Dimension Data: making savings in the cloud

"We used to treat our servers like pets, giving them nicknames like Superman... Now we have entire farms of nameless “creatures”. This is automation. Cloud solutions never have IP conflicts or bring down your network and you only pay for what you use,” Grant Morgan, General Manager of Cloud at Dimension Data told the delegates at the inaugural MyBroadband Cloud & Hosting Conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on 9 June. “The motor industry was mechanised to provide quantity and quality at the same time. Machines make fewer mistakes. Today, the same thing is happening in IT."

24 July 2015

FinTech - MFS starts intra-African remittances revolution through mobile wallets

“Mobile wallet use is finally getting to scale across Africa," says Dare Okoudjou, Founder and CEO of Mobile Financial Services Africa (MFS Africa). No longer a phenomenon limited to M-Pesa in Kenya, mobile wallets are showing their potential to transform financial services across the continent. "This presents an enormous opportunity to improve the remittance experience for Africans across the continent and for the diaspora abroad.”

23 July 2015

`Time for FinTech Africa is now` - Q&A with FinTech guru Nicole Anderson

South Africa should be “leading the charge” in the continent and create an environment that helps innovative FinTech companies flourish and draws investors willing to take risks. Globally, hubs are sprouting up for companies that disrupt the financial sector with technology and Africa is in danger of missing the boat. “The time is now,” says Nicole Anderson, the South African-born and educated CEO and Co-founder at FINTECH Circle Innovate in London.

15 July 2015

Notorious disruptor Martijn Aslander lined up for FinTech Africa event

After he shook up a number of CFO events earlier this year, the Dutchman Martijn Aslander was swiftly invited to several South African boardrooms to help the executives brainstorm about doing business in an age of disruption. This month the self-proclaimed 'lifehacker' will be descending on South African shores again as one of the most exciting tickets at the FinTech Africa event, which will be hosted at GIBS Business School on 28 July.

07 July 2015

Fintech - Wizzit CEO Brian Richardson aims at the 'unbanked'

Banking both the world’s unbanked and underbanked population through the use of mobile technology is what Wizzit International hopes to achieve. "Our primary focus is on financial inclusion and empowerment. In the world there are 3 billion people without access to financial services. In Africa there are 700 million people who do not even have a basic bank account,” says Brian Richardson, Wizzit International’s Chief Executive Officer.

29 June 2015

Kevin Attard, Oracle: talk about digital transformation, not about cloud

“CFOs are expanding across the whole business,” according to Kevin Attard, Country Leader South Africa for multinational computer technology corporation Oracle. After an impressive career in his home country Malta, Austria and the United Kingdom, Attard has recently arrived in South Africa and the energy he has brought to the Oracle office in Woodmead is palpable. Our CEO Melle Eijckelhoff and I spoke to Attard last week.

25 June 2015

FinTech - CFO Ari Fonarov: see your money differently with 22Seven

22seven is one of SA’s most innovative FinTech companies, which through its web-based app promises to help customers automatically create a budget. When you link all your store, cheque and credit cards to the platform it will enable you to see all your financial transactions in one place. “22seven automatically gathers all your transactions, then sorts them into categories for you so you can see how much you spend on what,” says 22seven Chief Financial Officer Ari Fonarov.

24 June 2015

GIBS Business School to host FinTech event 28 July

The second FinTech Africa event will be hosted by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Illovo on 28 July 2015. During the event 100 insiders, experts, startups and investors will discuss the developments and challenges for FinTech in Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa. The Dutch life hacker Martijn Aslander will be one of the exciting speakers, GIBS experts will give insight into recent trends and hot and happening companies will present themselves.

09 June 2015

FinTech - Mobile money transforms access to financial services

A dominant theme in FinTech, particularly in Africa, is the convergence of financial services and telecommunications. In the last month, FNB became the first South African bank to launch its own mobile services that integrate with its banking systems, while both Moody's Investors Service, mobile operators body GSMA and communications technology provider Ericsson presented insightful reports on banking and mobile applications.

16 April 2015

The CFO as IT evangelist? Top CFOs share their thoughts at CFO SA dinner

How are CFOs and their departments dealing with the digital winds of change inspired by technological advancement and disruptive start-ups? How is the role of the modern CFO adapting to this new environment and what skills are necessary to make these adjustments? These were some of the questions posed at the CFO South Africa dinner and round table event at the Four Seasons Westcliff hotel in Johannesburg on 15 April 2015.

08 July 2014

CFO South Africa meets with Fintech's CEO Glen Christopulo and CFO Lourandi Kriel

On Monday Alex van Groningen, founder and director of CFO South Africa, visited the Johannesburg office of Fintech, an innovative South African firm that offers rental asset finance solutions. He met with CEO Glen Christopulo and CFO Lourandi Kriel. The meeting turned out to be an interesting meeting of minds. Christopulo elaborated on the solutions Fintech offers local businesses and Kriel spoke on the qualities that turn a good CFO into a great CFO. The full interview with Christopulo and Kriel will appear on this website at a later stage.

27 March 2014

Lesley Plaistowe, Partner Financial Services at IBM: CFOs should mine their unstructured data

“CFOs are very familiar with structured data, because that is what they work with every day,” says Lesley Plaistowe, Partner Financial Services at technology firm IBM. “What they need to know more about is unstructured data: information from phone conversations, emails, social platforms, the weather report and much more. Often a lot of operational data is hidden, but can be found when technology mines your unstructured data.”

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