Home Articles LEAD: THE 2015 TOP 35-UNDER-35 FINALISTS

LEAD: THE 2015 TOP 35-UNDER-35 FINALISTS

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The process thus far …

After advertising the competition in April and May, it gave us much excitement to receive hundreds of enthusiastic, high-quality entries and nominations of CAs(SA) under 35.

We were amazed at how many successful CAs(SA) there are out there who have already achieved so much in their lives.

For the judges it was certainly not the easiest of tasks to decide who the top 35-under-35 finalists would be, but at the end of the day the aspects that carried the most weight were leadership, career achievements and CSI initiatives.

In this issue and the next, we will be featuring more detailed profiles of each of the Top 35-under-35 finalists. All finalists flaunt inspiring career avenues and it is interesting to see how they have all managed to find themselves where they are today.

For more information visit: www.accountancysa.org.za/35-under-35

Be inspired as you read more about our finalists and watch this space in the next issue to learn more about the other ones …

It’s amazing how much they have all accomplished in their careers so far, and that’s precisely the reason they have been handpicked as Top 35-under-35 finalists.

You’ll read more about them and find out how they have managed to climb the ladder in such a short time, or bravely set out to launch their own companies in the midst of a recession.

ADNAN PATEL

Senior Lecturer in Auditing and Taxation at Wits University

In his final months of articles, Adnan was invited to present several guest lectures at Wits University. It was there that he came to the realisation that his calling was to serve others in an academic role, allowing him to share his own experiences with students in the hope of them becoming better professionals.

Adnan is passionate about his students, and life. Not one to shy away from hard work, he has always been one to take on what others consider impossible challenges. ‘I need to be able to go to bed each night knowing I’ve done better than my best.’ One of his biggest challenges has been finding ways to channel his creative side in his capacity as a lecturer. ‘They say that teachers change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.’Joining Wits as a senior lecturer in the Taxation and Auditing divisions in 2014, Adnan co-ordinated two courses of considerable size and managed to establish himself within the faculty, receiving above-average performance ratings from the university.

‘Having dipped my toes in the field of academia, I then dove in head first in 2015, producing my first few research papers, coaching and supervising honours and master’s students, and establishing new partnerships between Wits and the Big 4 audit firms, allowing us to expose our students to the world of public practice as part of their course assessment at the university.’Adnan was also elected as the head of the social responsibility committee at the School of Accountancy: ‘My vision is to improve the social environment of our surroundings, and to partner with our firms in public practice in an effort to maximise the assistance granted to those in need and help the future CAs(SA) succeed.’

Adnan is grateful for the impact he can make on a daily basis. He does admit though that he went through a phase of wanting to become a medical doctor (after watching Grey’s Anatomy). ‘But I think that’s because there were never any shows about sexy accountants!’

ANNJA LOUCA

Founder and MD of Anlo Financial Solutions

Annja started Anlo Financial Solutions, an auditing/accounting practice, five years ago. Since then, she has built the business to be an actual self-sustaining business employing eight staff members. With most of the clients being small to medium businesses trying to succeed, she believes she can relate to them.

‘One of my achievements is that I built the business from nothing to a business that can operate without me. I have built around myself a team of professionals that I can trust and share my company vision.’

Through her success, Annja was selected as one of the finalists for the Goldman Sachs GIBS 10 000 women entrepreneurial programme, a fully sponsored mentorship with 300 fellow South African business women.

‘It was an absolute eye-opener and I learned so much about women in South African and how difficult it is to be a mother and entrepreneur in this country.’

Her dreams: ‘I would like to do a master’s degree in SME development or a similar qualification. I would also like to branch out Anlo internationally.’

Annja is passionate about youth development and is involved with various non-profit organisations. Anlo started out doing Gauteng Opera’s yearend audit pro bono to assist them, and she now sits on their board as the independent financial director.

‘Our vision is to produce operas that will appeal to a wide variety of audience members and develop young talent in the process.’

To celebrate Anlo’s fifth anniversary, she is planning an elaborate cocktail event with three amazing singers from Gauteng Opera.

‘I absolutely cannot wait because I believe one should celebrate these milestones that I would never have been able to achieve without the dedicated support of a loving husband, family and friends.’

AYANDA SEPAMLA

Business Manager for the Managing Executive of ABSA Business Banking at Barclays Africa Group

Ayanda Sepamla is passionate about driving women’s personal and professional growth. Her mantra is to learn something in every environment and at any given opportunity and in any circumstance.

‘My early learning experiences at the University of Cape Town were in the fast-paced basketball first team and later as an elected member of the Commerce Student Council. My takeaways were teamwork, shared trust and the privilege and responsibility of being elected to represent and be the voice for the interests of others.’

Moving on to her formal career as a CA(SA), she chose Ernst & Young for her articles, a firm renowned for servicing global, complex and high-profile clients and allowing capable and driven juniors to rise through the ranks. Her performance rewarded her with access to some of its largest clients, decision-making and management oversight, proving that she thrives in high-pressured team environments.

Not resting on her laurels, Ayanda’s ability to demonstrate a fresh approach to banking, an intellectual curiosity, and a proven ability to assimilate into new environments resulted in her landing her current position of Business Manager for the Managing Executive of ABSA Business Banking at Barclays Africa Group.

Ayanda has always had a desire to give back by engaging, enabling and empowering women. This drove her to co-found Mbewu Movement: a thought leadership, mentorship, and community engagement body aimed at exposing young people and women to inspirational leaders and development opportunities. She is also the lead contributor for the Working Gal blog on Under5foot.co.za, which provides career development and financial literacy advice via a real-life-engaging digital forum. And finally, she is the CFO of Thought School – a body that provides English and mathematics tutorship for disadvantaged students in Cosmo City on the West Rand.

Apart from being a spiritual being, spa junkie, and travel enthusiast with an eye for fashion and all things feminine, something most people don’t know about her is that she was a drum majorette for eight years and represented both Gauteng Province and the junior national team.

BRONWYN CORBETT

COO and CFO at Delta Property Fund

With her father being an entrepreneur, Bronwyn Corbett says they lived their lives through his successes and downturns, and even as a child he gave her insight into deal-making and strategic negotiation skills.

‘I have a vivid memory as a three-year-old child living on a farm going with my father to purchase cattle and watching his negotiation skills intently. I always had a passion to build my own business, but I wanted to ensure that I would grow something that was sustainable.’

Owing to financial constraints she was unable to attend university. However, through her mother who worked at Ernst & Young, she got to know the partners who recommended her to BDO to commence with articles straight out of school while also studying. Her first milestone was achieving a first-time pass for her honours degree and both board exams while working and paying off her loan.

‘I then made the big decision to move to Johannesburg, the next catapult to my career. I was fortunate to be put in a position in an auditing firm where I was exposed to a property client that required ten years of financial accounts to be reconstructed and this is how I “fell” into the property sector and what has become my career in property.’

Bronwyn and her partner acquired their first asset six years ago. Owing to market conditions they listed the portfolio in November 2012 consisting of 20 properties at R2,6 billion. In exactly two and a half years they have grown the portfolio to over R9 billion comprising 101 properties in South Africa, represented in every province. In 2014, they listed Delta International, with a fund size of US$226 million focused on African real estate outside South Africa. Bronwyn is one of four female executives in the listed property sector.

Bronwyn’s passion is women in property, and she is the largest contributor to the Women’s Property Network bursary programme.

Her most valuable lessons learnt: ‘Have all the passion and energy in the world but be focused and avoid distractions. Never say die and believe in your end goal.’

CUAN CHELIN

Founder and CEO of Super-Brands Holdings

Immediately after Cuan Chelin wrote his final board exams in 2004, he took up employment with Chemical Specialities (Pty) Ltd as an executive.

Being the driven individual he is, within a few months, at the age of 23, he had already identified and presented an opportunity to structure a management buyout of the company. The buyout took place and Cuan was promoted to CEO of the company’s retail division, the House of Paint.

However, after a few years, he and a friend identified an opportunity to start an online sports-betting business – it would be the first of its kind in South Africa, fully licensed and regulated.

He also had an opportunity to partner with another business to build a brand distribution business. His businesses rapidly grew until the Super-Brands Group was formed, comprising four businesses, including a sports brand distribution business that owned  the distribution rights to Canterbury, Dunlop, Slazenger, Mizuno and a number of other brands for Southern Africa. It was sold in 2014 to a subsidiary of a JSE-listed group.

Cuan currently continues to build on their other businesses which include Sportingbet, South Africa’s largest online sports-betting website, as well as Toy Kingdom, a chain of toy retail stores that is expanding across Africa.

He is also involved with a joint venture with the South Africa Golf Association where they run golf handicaps in South Africa under a business called Handicaps Network Africa.

His inspiration comes from a variety of different business people. ‘I have looked up to Jack Welch’s management principles, President Barack Obama’s leadership and public speaking skills, Richard Branson’s attitude and public relations skills, and Steve Jobs for his perfectionism and what was an incredible ability to drive innovation.’

Cuan is the driving force behind the CSI projects within his businesses. These vary from working with disadvantaged kids in various sporting programmes where they coach and sponsor equipment to a programme that provides holistic care for orphaned kids.

DHEREN SINGH

Executive Assistant to the CEO / Corporate Finance and Commercial Executive of Value+ Nettwork

At the age of 14, Dheren Singh wanted a pair of Nikes. With South Africa facing an uncertain future, a pair of overpriced Nikes was his parents’ least concern, but for Dheren it represented a dream. Determined to raise the money himself, he soon noticed his parents returning soft drink glass bottles for R1 a bottle. Needless to say, after going from door to door in the neighbourhood, within six months he was not only able to buy himself a pair of Nikes, but for his friend too. This led to a few other business initiatives in school and sparked his love for business, eventually landing him a bursary to become a chartered accountant.

Post articles, Dheren broke into the tough world of investment banking. At the age of 30 he was a dealmaker in the Strategic Client team at Standard Chartered Bank with a mandate to conclude high-profile investment banking transactions for their top 50 African clients.

Although he had a fairly entrenched career in investment banking, Dheren had a deep desire to get involved in an entrepreneurial technology business. He resigned from his investment banking job to figure out how to turn this vision into a reality. During his ‘jobbatical’ he started advising technology start-ups that he came across. ‘I did this work for free and utilised my skills gained as a CA to add value to these businesses’. Simultaneously, he ran a successful consulting business – he advised on the successful listing of Attacq Properties and consulted to another large corporate on their international expansion strategy.

Recently, he has been appointed a non-executive director of four companies in the Value+ Nettwork Group, a media technology innovator, with a view to becoming a shareholder.

Dheren also joined Mensa and formed the Mensa Business Group to facilitate business networking and discussions. He is passionate about his broader community and is involved in multiple community social initiatives, as well as exploring ways on how technology can benefit society at large.

In his spare time, he focuses on keeping fit and constantly learning by reading and travelling.

DONALD FISHER-JEFFES

Director (CA(SA)) at Webber Wentzel

As a boy, Donald Fisher-Jeffes dreamed of being the next Stefan Edberg, the professional tennis player. But after reading The Firm by John Grisham, and with various family members’ passion for law, he set his sights on becoming a criminal lawyer.

Donald entered university with the intent of pursuing a career in commercial law with the initial objective of gaining an undergraduate degree in commerce. But based on the advice of an array of people, he decided to pursue chartered accountancy instead as it appeared to open up international opportunities and provide a better opportunity to cut across different industries.

‘I thought that was sage advice at the time, as I have always enjoyed travelling and I am glad I followed it. Ironically, I am now working at a law firm in tax advisory.’

During his first four years at Ernst & Young, his focus was on financial services and treasury operations, and after that he moved on to transaction tax advisory. He was seconded to Mumbai, India, as a manager for four months, where he was primarily involved in structuring inbound and outbound investments into African jurisdictions.  ‘At the end of 2012, I moved to Webber Wentzel’s tax department where I have had the opportunity to work on some of the biggest private equity deals in South Africa and where I was promoted to director.’

His advice: ‘Do not seek to move too quickly into managerial positions. Ensure that you have mastered your technical expertise and gained valuable, in-depth technical experience first before getting into management.’

Education is also a great passion of his and has led him to get involved with Central Johannesburg College, a public TVET college with more than 10 000 students. This has afforded him a fantastic opportunity to work towards improving the level of education in South Africa. In 2014, Donald was elected vice-chairperson of Central Johannesburg College’s board and chairperson of the finance committee.

Emanating from his wife, Anna, and his initial involvement in St Nicolas Children’s Home near Sophiatown almost eight years ago, they are now, despite their young age, parents to three great teenage boys aged 14, 16 and 17.

DWAYNE SMITH

Vice President at Musa Capital

Dwayne was among the Top 20 in his BCom Accounting class and was selected to do his academic articles at the University of Cape Town. During this time he was a member of Habitat for Humanity and was involved in building homes in previously disadvantaged areas in the Western Cape.

He is integrally involved in the start-up and development of various business ventures, three of which are social impact investment projects in the agriculture and construction sectors. As part of these projects, Dwayne aims to develop and integrate black-owned and managed SMMEs within private equity portfolio company supply chains by providing skills development, input financing, and business formalisation. The aim is to create sustainable small businesses and bridge the gap between the formal and informal sectors with a total of R180 million allocated to the projects over a three-year period. In its first year, the projects enrolled 25 SMMEs and created more than 200 jobs, largely drawing on rural communities. The initiative aims to foster sustainable empowerment and community upliftment from grassroots up.

The Agri SMME development project, in which Dwayne played an integral role, was highlighted by the South African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) as a stand-out initiative and was included in the annual SAVCA ESG publication. The publication showcased initiatives which the South African private equity industry is making toward positive environmental, social and economic development in South Africa. In Grade 11, Dwayne burst an artery in his leg while on the cusp of being selected for the first rugby team. After extensive surgery and many months of rehabilitation, he literally had to learn to walk again. Although he missed the rest of the season, Dwayne was determined to come back with greater impact in his matric year. This proved to be an experience that would instil in him the ethos of dedication, commitment and diligence. He matriculated with five distinctions earning him full colours for academics, and sport – for rugby.

Something most people don’t know about Dwayne: ‘I am an undercover, avid Blue Bulls rugby fan!’

EVITA NYANDORO

Vice President: PC Governance and Controls at Barclays Africa CIB

Evita Nyandoro believes everyone has a story to tell and tries to learn one thing from everybody she meets, even those she doesn’t necessarily click with.

Evita completed her articles with Deloitte with her focus mostly on banks. After completing her articles, she struggled to get work, partly because of the scarcity of jobs after the 2008 financial crisis as well as not yet being in possession of a South African residency.

‘I decided to go to the UK to widen my horizons and get international experience. It turned out to be the best thing for my career as the experience not only broadened my horizons but also  exposed me to experiences that I might not have had in Africa.’

She worked for three years at Deloitte and Santander UK, where she was responsible for liquidity and funding reporting for the group with a £300 billion balance sheet.

Heading back to South Africa as a resident, she took on her current role of review and implementation of Governance and Controls at Barclays Africa CIB which gave her the opportunity to work with 12 African countries, especially around the policy space that had to be rolled out.

Evita sits on the inspections committee of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) and also on the board of RBA Holdings, a JSE Altx-listed company, as an independent non-executive director, chairman of the social and ethics committee, and member of the audit and risk committee.

‘These appointments I truly hold to heart as they come on the back of memberships of organisations such as AWCA [African Women Chartered Accountants], which strive to enhance the number of women in leadership positions.’

Evita still aspires to run a successful large business in Africa: ‘As a continent we are still playing catch-up to the rest of the world and we have the right calibre of people to lead the right businesses.’

FRANCIS KWAHENE

Head of Accounting Department at Walter Sisulu University

As a student tutor at the College of Accounting at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Francis Kwahene was rated among the top tutors for two consecutive years. It was during this period that he really began to understand the difference he could make in people’s lives by doing what he really loved.

His performance as a tutor provided him the privilege of being selected as an academic trainee in 2009 at UCT, working under the mentorship of seasoned professionals like Professor Jacqueline Kew and Mr Jimmy Winfield. ‘They gave me direction and guidance and assisted me greatly in focusing my passion and developing my skills as a tutor, facilitator, lecturer and –most importantly – young academic.’

Even during articles, while employed by KPMG, Francis would spend his evenings and weekends at the University of the Western Cape tutoring students on the Thuthuka programme.

Francis was handpicked by the re-accreditation steering committee to drive the SAICA re-accreditation initiative at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, His passion, commitment and problem-solving nature made him the perfect candidate to drive the programme. WSU lost its SAICA accreditation many years ago and the initiative aims to regain SAICA accreditation while providing students from less privileged backgrounds the opportunity to become chartered accountants in their home region.

Despite his limited experience, Francis has managed to consistently exceed people’s expectations. Under his leadership, the programme at WSU has outperformed similar programmes at other historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs), as well as most Thuthuka programmes.

Mentorship has played a pivotal role in Francis’ life and he names his parents as the most influential people in his life. ‘My parents immigrated to South Africa from Ghana when I was only two years old. They left their homeland for an uncertain future in a country whose future was uncertain. Their courage and determination to provide a better life for my siblings and I has always inspired me to embrace the unknown and to chase my dreams.’

Francis continues to lead a team of 14 CAs(SA) as they endeavour to get the programme accredited while helping hundreds of previously disadvantaged students realise their dreams.

GREGORY VAN DER WATT

Director of Finance of the ELMA Philanthropies Services (Africa)

Gregory van der Watt says he didn’t even do accounting at school. He took one lesson, ran to the secretary, and opted for art instead. But being CA(SA) is different, and he wouldn’t be one if it were boring.

After studying business science finance and a obtaining a postgraduate diploma in accounting at the University of Cape Town, he completed his traineeship at Deloitte, Cape Town, and established a great base to build a successful career. At the end of articles he took some time to reflect and being guided by his faith, Gregory started to aspire towards a career of not only success but also of significance.

‘This time to reflect led me to apply for a position as a finance manager at the ELMA Philanthropies, which saw me going through five rounds of interviews!

The rigour was definitely worthwhile as I have discovered a field that allows me to pursue a career using all the skills I have acquired as a CA(SA) as I try to shape a career of significance.’

Over the past five years, Greg has played a leading role in helping the ELMA Group of Foundations to become the largest child-focused private philanthropy in the health and education sectors in South Africa. Greg works with the programme teams in analysing and structuring investments and handles transactions involving grants, loans, and equity investments that lead to improving the lives of children by improving health and education.

ELMA Group is a highly regarded philanthropic investor in 16 Southern and Eastern African countries. ELMA’s portfolios have grown from 22 active investments in 2009 to 129 active investments in 2014, and a further 47 recommended in the first half of 2015.

‘I hope to inspire more professionals to engage in creative ways to make a difference, or even enter the development field as a career.’

Something most people don’t know about him: ‘In high school I played guitar in a band that got play-listed on 5FM. We thought we were really cool!’

HERMAN VIVIERS

Senior Lecturer at North-West University (Potchefstroom)

Having participated in school plays and eisteddfods and been part of the Alabama Student Company at varsity, Herman Viviers sees himself as a born performer. ‘Now I have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience every week – standing in front of my students during tax lectures. I just love it!’

In his third year of studies he was exposed to tax for the first time: ‘I fell in love with the subject, and I knew that this was the subject that  I wanted to specialise in.’

At the end of the second year of his articles, Herman received the award for the best trainee accountant in the auditing division at PwC Kimberley. Being part of the team responsible for IFRS, tax and other technical updates within PwC, he realised that he enjoyed the training tremendously and that he had a passion for teaching and learning. At this time he also took on his MCom degree in taxation.

After taking up a position as a lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch (US) in May 2008, Herman was voted by students as the best tax lecturer at the US in 2010. Two years later he was appointed senior lecturer at the Potchefstroom campus of North-West University (NWU), where he received the Institutional Vice Chancellor’s award for being the best lecturer on all three campuses of the NWU for 2013. Herman is indeed a man passionate about his students and a host of other awards, such as the HETLASA award in 2014, prove this to be true.

As a young researcher, his work has been published in both accredited academic and popular scientific magazines and journals, and he has presented research papers at both local and international conferences. He received the prize for the best tax paper presented at the Southern African Accounting Association Central Regional Conference in September 2014.

Herman sees himself as a creative and innovative person. He thrives on making the teaching and learning process a fun and enjoyable experience that will touch the lives of others.

‘Like true art is intended to do.

GUGULETHU SIGASA

CEO at Ncube Investment Holdings

Gugulethu Sigasa likens the CA(SA) journey to running the Comrades Marathon. ‘We all prepare for the journey, training, eating well, and ensuring we have the supplies needed take on the 90-kilometre challenge. Come the day of the race, each runs his or her own race, whose ultimate outcome will only be determined by yourself.’

During articles at Deloitte, Gugulethu received the Deloitte Way award, an accolade granted based on nominations from colleagues for going the extra mile, above the call of duty, as well as being selected for a secondment in Dubai. This was followed by her appointment as manager in Deloitte’s national audit learning team.

A big career turn came when she joined the newly established Africa Nerve Centre at Deloitte where she was part of the team that successfully achieved objectives such as establishing common reporting and finance structures, and ensuring alignment of strategic vision and direction of the firms in Africa. This experience has fuelled her dream to lead female-focused industrialisation across Africa.

She joined Imperial as COO of the Cargo Motors division, where the executives of the automotive retail division in Imperial rated her as one of the three chartered accountants showing the most promise.

Gugulethu has since started Ncube Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd (NIH) with a view to assisting small, medium and micro entities to improve the quality of their financial records and ensure they adhere to legislative tax requirements.

‘At NIH we have an extensive focus in the renewable energy space where we provide advisory, distribution and installation services of solar and biogas energy products. We are further looking into contributing to offering healthier and environmentally friendlier transport solutions, to reduce the pressure currently placed on our environment by carbon emissions,’ she says.

Gugulethu prides herself in her community involvement. She is the chairperson of the Johannesburg branch of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA) and sits on the ABASA National Board. She is also a member of the Tshwane Hub of the World Economic Forum Global Shaper community and mentors students and young professionals.

KC ROTTOK CHESAINA

Publisher, Consultant and Entrepreneur

KC published his first book when he was just 12 years old. In his first year of high school, he wrote an essay that was used as an example for matrics of ‘how it’s done’. He went on to become chairman of the Dramatic Society of the Alliance High School and wrote a play winning him provincial honours.

Although his mother understood his gift for writing and the media, she encouraged KC to study something different so as to be more versatile. He obtained his undergraduate accounting degree with distinction.

Obtaining a CA(SA) qualification has opened many business and consulting opportunities for him. At age 28, he was appointed partner of RSM in Johannesburg, an audit firm affiliated to a network of 37 000 staff in 112 countries.

He continued to pursue his postgraduate studies and obtained three journalism certificates from Wits University.

In 2010 he founded The African Professional magazine with his wife Carol. This quarterly business publication has an audited circulation of 5 000 copies per issue and is aimed at promoting the corporate image of immigrant professionals. It also offers networking opportunities such as charity golf days, women breakfasts, and an annual dinner. Apart from editing The African Professional, KC frequently contributes articles to Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper.

In 2013, KC left RSM and formed his own accounting consultancy, Mueni Management Consulting (Pty) Ltd. He is also a performing artist and has appeared in the popular TV series Jacob’s Cross as well as several print, radio and television advertisements. In 2014 he delivered a TEDx talk in Johannesburg and became a television presenter on the DStv documentary channel ED. In the same year he launched the bi-annual South African Professional Services Awards held at Emperor’s Palace recognising the best professional and best professional services firm in South Africa.

‘I look up to my mother who raised four children all on her own, is a holder of six degrees, a former ambassador, and a university professor. Another mentor is Brian Eaton, managing partner of RSM. He embodies the kind of business leader I would want to become.’

HENICO SCHALEKAMP

Partner at PKF (VGA) Chartered Accountants

Feeling that becoming a professional tennis player may be beyond him, Henico Schalekamp’s interest veered towards business and he began researching exactly what a chartered accountant is. He liked what he found – especially the flexibility it offered.

Straight after matric he commenced with his studies while working part-time doing his articles. Within three years he was promoted to audit manager with a division of some 30 staff.

Three years later, in 2008, he was appointed a director. In 2009, he moved to BDO as an audit manager working on listed and multinational clients.

In 2010, Henico decided it was time he started his own practice: ‘I built up a substantial client base, but within a year it was no longer possible to practise on my own.’

He then did a transaction in 2011 with VGA Chartered Accountants. ‘My vision was always to bring an international network to the firm where I was working. We considered many different options and in 2014 we decided to join the PKF International network. This was a necessary strategic decision as with the advent of the new Companies Act the audit practices as we know it today had to be changed. Clients did not require audits any more and more emphasis would need to be placed on other services rendered to your clients.’

Being the managing partner, head of corporate finance and international liaison officer at PKF (VGA) Chartered Accountants in Johannesburg, Henico has played a fundamental role in the negotiation for his firm to join the PKF International brand.

He has further being instrumental in adding two new member firms to the PKF network resulting in the firm now focusing more on corporate clients and international referrals from other countries.

Henico’s ultimate long-term goal: ‘To be the CEO of PKF and to grow the network internationally.’

And his dream of being a great tennis player hasn’t died either. Henico is still passionate about the sport and spends much time practising with the hope of soon playing international tournaments on the seniors’ tour.

LOUW BARNARDT

Founder and Managing Director of Outsourced CFO

With no network, no clients and not much to fall back on, Louw Barnardt successfully launched financial management boutique Outsourced CFO along with a friend and fellow CA(SA), Dana Pretorius, right after finishing articles in 2013.

‘The first few months were challenging! We needed to meet new people and get our names out. Setting up offices in a prominent business incubator provided a good base for networking. We also spent material hours into the evenings attending networking and entrepreneurial events and exhibited our offering to make sure that everyone who is anyone on the Cape Town entrepreneurial scene knows who we are.’

Outsourced CFO was accepted into business incubation at the Bandwidth Barn, the oldest technology and business incubator in Africa, and was selected as the youngest of 20 companies to receive full sponsorship from the Western Cape government to attend the Find Make Grow Realise Course.

‘Since then, Outsourced CFO has grown by leaps and bounds. We employ ten full-time staff members, all in their twenties, with qualifications from prestigious universities. Three of them are qualified CAs(SA) and a fourth recently wrote Board 1. Our current annualised growth rate is in excess of 150% and we are profitable after less than two years of operations.’Outsourced CFO has assisted multiple private companies across industries to run compliant, growing, profitable and investable companies by making high-level financial management inputs accessible to their management.

His client base currently consists of more than 150 companies, as well as boasting big clients nationally and internationally from Australia, Europe and the USA. Outsourced CFO serves as the national financial management service provider to Microsoft’s BizSpark programme, thus enabling Louw to mentor to their exciting portfolio of technology, IT and innovation companies country-wide. Louw and his team at Outsourced CFO also host regular workshops on various financial topics for entrepreneurs free of charge.

‘I knew that if I wanted to follow my calling and become a brilliant businessman, I would need the best knowledge, technical skills and experience one could get in business – the seven-year chartered accountant route.’