This week we start off with a great question. Is today’s finance ready for tomorrow’s demands? McKinsey conducted a research on the state of preparedness of the finance function in December 2016. Whilst some local practitioners may be struggling to address today’s demands; the global finance leaders are now shifting their focus to preparing for the tomorrow’s demands.

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Tanzanian Proverb; Photo by Maximilian Weisbecker on Unsplash

The ongoing discussion about whether to embrace or reject digital currencies that use blockchain technologies has revealed that whilst some of the key decision makers in the developing world are resisting blockchain technology and its usefulness, due, to some degree, to the lack of regulation capability, the Australian, Japanese and Indian Accounting Standards Boards have conducted an in-depth review of the economic impact of transactions emanating from these technologies and have submitted their representations on how to account for distributed ledger technology transactions to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). …


The evolution of the finance function has undoubtedly impacted change across roles within the function. In our last instalment we investigated the top core soft skills that support staff needed to develop and utilise for the finance function to be effective and efficient. Our research and experience point to the centrality of communication at the heart of the new role that an effective finance function is expected to occupy within the organisatin.

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Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

Our local research study on the views of finance leaders regarding soft skills of importance to their functions, coupled with global research on the same subject, are showing that leaders now value support staff who possess not only technical skills, but are well rounded professionals with the accompanying soft skills. …


For years, organisations have been attempting to study top performers and establish criteria on which to base future selection and retention decisions. In a journal article titled The Blame Game: Accounting Education Is Not Alone, published in the Journal of Education for Business, the authors highlight that since the 1950’s, there has been considerable discussion pertaining to the appropriateness of accounting education in terms of its ability to produce ethically sound leaders.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This week we focus on further understanding the key non-technical skills which are important in a modern finance function. Qualities, such as attention to detail, accuracy, a highly-developed sense of discretion and confidentiality, have traditionally been deemed indispensible within the finance function. …


This week we focus our attention on skill sets which human beings can do better than machines, at least for the foreseeable future. Shiv Khera says “there are good leaders who actively guide and bad leaders who actively misguide. Hence, leadership is about persuasion, presentation and people skills.” These are all examples of soft skills.

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Olga Gryygier-Siddons, CEO of PwC Central & Eastern Europe noted that “while technology speeds up and improves the gathering and analysis of data, judgment and decisions about what to do with the results of that analysis is a function that can only be provided by humans.”


From last week we noted that technology is increasingly becoming important in the finance function from data input, processing, output, storage and retrieval. With advances in technology, we can expect greater accuracy, less risk of manipulation in processing and reporting, more efficiency and faster decision making through the enhancement coming from artificial intelligent systems.

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Finance and accounting practitioners must increasingly plan for their future careers by considering skill sets which will likely be in demand when mainstream organisations begin to embrace technology focused on automation of routine tasks and elementary decision making. …


Previously, we covered how finance leaders, and their functions, have to adapt by providing insights that are both credible and timely. This will energise their organisations to gain a competitive advantage in both regional and global markets, since Zimbabwe’s economy is increasingly embracing global players, without hindrance. This week we specifically focus on profiling the various technologies being applied in the finance function in other parts of the world.

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As the information age continues to evolve, we now are undoubtedly in the era of automation, big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and finance functions that do not take deliberate steps to embrace these essentials will inadvertently condemn their organisations to the annals of the corporate graveyard, which continues to grow from business failures. …


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Welcome to the fifth instalment of our Practical Financial Management Insights (PFMI) Thought Leadership Weekly Series. This week we focus on understanding how the finance and accounting function is evolving.

Traditionally, accounting and finance functions were focused on the procurement and optimal use of finance resources. Deloitte defines the traditional roles as those of steward and operator. As stewards, CFOs focus on protecting the vital assets of the firm, ensuring compliance, financial accounting reporting, and communicating value and risk issues to investors and boards.

To emphasise the predictability of this traditional role, Anouk Vleugels, of the Next Web Blog in 2018 noted that up until about ten years ago, choosing a career in accountancy was considered a safe bet. It came with a decent salary, plenty of job opportunities and all sorts of benefits. …


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In last week’s column, we focused on the growing need for professionals to embrace continuous and agile learning. We covered how the traditional school system has failed to produce graduates ready for the workplace, as well as how learning has evolved over the years.

The thought of going back to learn often haunts professionals. They picture, with dread, the classroom environment and accompanying tests of the traditional school system.

Even if executives commit to the learning and development of their support staff, the question that may bother them is this: How can the learning I provide to my team be more effective in deriving the highest return on investment? …


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Last week we focused on the following truths:

- The business world is fast evolving and finance functions that do not change with it will contribute to their organisation’s demise,

- Traditional learning institutions (lecturer and pupil) are lagging behind in developing polished entry level candidates, in terms of technical and soft skills, that can effectively contribute to the peak performance of the finance function in the workplace,

- A gap exists between the finance function leadership and their support teams, in terms of expectations and delivery,

- The responsibility rests with the finance function leader of ensuring each team member’s competency is assessed consistently and a development plan is implemented. …


In last week’s column, we analysed the evolution of leadership within the context of the finance function and how this affects the rest of the organisation. In summary, we resolved that “everything rises and falls on leadership” whilst noting that “the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

The world is increasingly converging, with effects of localised transactions being felt globally, coupled with greater analytical capacity and automation, increased focus on risk management and regulations, more demand for faster transaction processing and greater complexity of transactions.

Therefore, a finance function that remains firmly rooted in traditional methods, as opposed to learning from emerging trends, peers and from its own past, will soon contribute in the demise of the organisation it seeks to serve as its effective business partner. …

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SAFiM Africa

The School of Applied Financial Management | Blended Learning Experience | Pursuing Peak Performance

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