Fatima Mamod describes as ‘nothing short of phenomenal’ seeing her staff’s projects come to life and witnessing the impact and value they bring, and says she still gets butterflies when she visits any of their project sites.
A tenacious leader of a highly talented team of 26, Fatima Mamod is the Area Finance Manager South East Africa for Aggrek. It is her ambition to give them the opportunity and space to learn and make mistakes while being mentored them so they can be the best version of themselves. We asked Fatima to share with us some of her ‘hiring strategy’ tips for putting together a such a diverse team with incredible skill sets.
Tell us more about Aggreko and your role at the company?
Aggreko is a world-leading provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy services, supplying portable equipment for a wide range of uses from unique commercial industrial projects, though to utility provision and humanitarian emergencies. We specialise in serving eight key sectors: oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, petrochemicals and refining, business services and construction, events, telecommunications/data centres and utilities.
I am responsible for the entire end-to-end finance function in the South East Africa region spanning Zimbabwe to Egypt. We have two business units I look after. One involves local industrial rental business: high transactional volumes, short-term power rentals, events. The other involves power projects, utilities and industrial projects across various sectors of mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, etc. This encompasses the traditional finance function of financial accounting, month-end transactions, controls, reconciliations, payments, audits, budgets, financial planning and analysis.
We are also seen as strategic partners within the business, and I support our MD from a strategic and finance business partnering angle.
What has been a highlight of your career?
Seeing the people I lead and mentor achieve their lifelong dreams and follow their passions, and being a part of that success story. Making a difference in lives through the work that I do.
There is no substitute for hard work. Stay true to yourself through everything that you experience; find your passion and follow it relentlessly.
Tell us more about your ‘hiring strategy’
This is very important to me. What it means is that you identify, place, and then nurture talent to deliver for the company. You need to bring in people with different skills sets, qualifications and talents to create a team that is fit to tackle the challenges we are currently experiencing within companies and across countries.
Do you have a diversity in skill sets across accounting, reporting, analysis, analytics, coding, technology and innovation? Do you have a diverse team across gender, race and age representing all the different views that you need to be a good finance business partner so you can help navigate the company in the direction that is needed. Do you have a team that questions why things are done in a certain way and how it can be better? Do you have a team that consists of problem solvers who know how to ask the right questions? Is innovation part of what your team does?
If not, it means you need to go back and look at your hiring strategy. Also, this is your responsibility as a finance leader and HR is there to support you, taking ownership for this helps you set the tone.
What skills do you specifically look for to make up a diverse group with a range of skill sets?
A mix of CAs(SA) with different training and experience; people who have coding knowledge; individuals who are visual storytellers and innovators.
I have led and worked with finance professionals who have not studied accounting, and these have been some of the brightest minds that helped us to look at what we do from a different perspective and enabled us to do things differently and more efficiently. It ensured that we transformed from a traditional finance function only reporting to one that helped set the strategy for the business and helped steer the company in the direction needed.
Can you tell us more about your digital transformation strategy to support productivity? How has it proved effective?
For me it is simple: ‘Start now and start with what you have.’ You do not need to wait to have the capex approved for that new ERP system.
Look at what you have and start right there. Start using Power BI, start coding, start using the relevant cloud solutions you have available in your organisation and use that as a base to showcase what digital transformation is and what it can do for your company. Once your stakeholders can see the impact and difference, then the capex will come.
Through this we have managed to save on costs, creating agile business units and we have managed to identify trends within our business segments that highlighted favourable/unfavourable activities that required re-design and focus. It has enabled the right conversations to be had and ensured Finance had a seat at the decision-making table.
How has your CA(SA) qualification added value to achieving your career goals?
I believe the CA(SA) qualification is what has equipped me so well to have a multi-faceted career and the ability to open so many opportunities that I would have otherwise not encountered. The CA(SA) qualification taught me hard work − without which you cannot be successful − as well as discipline, perseverance, how a business functions, how the pieces come together, and how you can add value. It gave me access to thought leadership as well as examples of what we can do.