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Testimonials

The FD Centre has consulted with over 700 clients. Below you can find out what a small selection of our clients have to say about us:

Creative Brands

1. Please give a brief overview of your business and what it does.
Creative Brands is an e-commerce corporate gifts supplier.

2. How did you hear about the FD Centre?
From our appointed accounting and auditing company.

3. When did you take on the services of the FD Centre?
In October 2016.

4. In what areas did your company need the most help?
We needed stability and consistency in the finance department as we had experienced difficulty in finding a permanent FD that was a good fit.

5. How was the part-time FD able to help?
Dean has helped by streamlining systems and establishing a project plan. The finance team is now operating well and smoothly independently of regular leadership.

6. How much time does the part-time FD spend at your premises?
Originally three days a week; currently four hours one morning a week.

7. How has the intervention from the FD Centre changed your day-to-day operations personally?
I have many people reporting to me and all the dynamics of the manager-employee relationship to consider, but with Dean the dynamic is more independent, objectives are clear and I don’t have to constantly oversee this resource.

8. What is the greatest value the part-time FD has added to your business?
Better management of long-term cash flow.

9. Why is a part-time FD a good solution for your business, as opposed to a full-time FD?
For the current maturity of our business, it makes more sense financially to pay a part-time resource than a full-time FD. We’ve also found that the FD Centre provides versatility as placements have had experience in a variety of companies, and they are able to focus on different things as and when needed.

10. In the future, what role do you see the part-time FD playing in your business? Are you looking at a long-term engagement?
We are considering increasing the FD Centre commitment as we look more at strategic planning for the future of our business.

Nicholas Markovitz - Managing Director

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Creative Brands

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Paul Worsnip, Lexis Nexis

“FD Centre’s insight and understanding of our business provided us with the capacity to outsource a ‘business development opportunity’ whilst continuing to focus on internal priorities, at a particularly pressurised period of the financial year.

FD Centre were able to integrate their work on this project, with internal resources to deliver a report containing high quality, insightful findings which exceeded our expectations and delivered a significant cost saving in terms of scope objectives.

There is a fine line between organisational effectiveness and cost reduction as this could be damaging to the organisation in the long run. The FD Centre’s independent approach encouraged company-wide participation and assisted us in adopting pro-active position for reporting these initiatives to key stakeholders.”

Paul Worsnip, Lexis Nexis

Our client Lexis Nexis is a provider of content-enabled workflow solutions to professionals in law firms, corporations, government, law enforcement, tax, accounting, academic institutions and risk and compliance assessment.
We were called in to undertake a company-wide review of their cost structures and identify opportunities for cost reductions within the organization over the next 12 months.

In all, 74 new ideas that require planning & implementation are being investigated and 6 ideas have the potential to deliver savings of over R 1,1 million in the next 12 months. A further 14 ideas are considered as having high potential for savings in the next 12 months but will require additional work to assess and implement.

Effective cost management is a critical component of achieving financial success. There is a fine line between organisational effectiveness and cost reductions which may be damaging to the organisation in the long run. The independent approach encouraged organisation wide participation and assisted us in adopting a pro-active position reporting these initiatives to key stakeholders. FD centre provided us with an outsourced Executive perspective in prioritising the ideas generated and clarity in decision making relating to implementation of the ideas generated.

In another instance we were called in to undertake an investigation into the sales commission and royalty system to confirm compliance with policies & procedures. We completed the requested investigation and reported on all findings within the timeframes required.

FD Centre were engaged at short notice following a matter which called for direct FD attention whilst conflicting with internal bandwidth and priorities. It was comforting to know that resources were on hand to respond to the request whilst allowing the Executive time to continue to run the business. The flexibility in reporting and frequent realignment of work plans added to the quality of work delivered, at a fee which accommodated our non-operating budget constraints.
We have also been closely involved in the Assessment & Selection of an e-Learning Authoring / Course Development Tool and Learner Management System
We completed the assessment and made the selection, submitted and presented a report-back to the Executive Committee.

One of the biggest challenges we face as a business is the level of expectation placed by key stakeholders on Executive bandwidth and the need to balance day-to-day strategic and operational priorities against new opportunities and initiatives which require investigation and review. FD Centre’s insight and understanding of our business provided us with the capacity to outsource the business development opportunity whilst continuing to focus on internal priorities at a particularly pressurised period of the financial year. FD Centre were able to integrate their work.

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Lexis Nexis

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Alexander Forbes Group Services

Alexander Forbes is a JSE-listed financial services group with its head office in Sandton, and business interests in Africa and Europe. Alexander Forbes offers integrated retirement, investment, life and insurance solutions to create, grow and protect wealth and assets.

My division is responsible for the financial reporting of the Alexander Forbes group. Earlier this year, as we were heading into our year end, one of my key people was promoted to another division. Facing a resource gap, it was perfect timing that Hylton Surat from the FD Centre contacted our CFO to see if our company could make use of the FD Centre’s services. They placed Lynn Preece with us on a full-time basis for three months.

Lynn’s experience was exactly what we needed for the preparation of our 2016 annual financial statements. She got on top of our processes very quickly and produced quality financial reports with great attention to detail. Lynn’s personality and leadership skills made for a pleasant working relationship, as she related well to the staff and also played a mentoring role.

With Lynn so capably filling the gap, I was able to oversee the year-end process more effectively without having to focus on every detail. It eased the pressure for me in what is typically an extremely pressurised period.
I would definitely consider using the services of the FD Centre again should we need another short-term placement in the future.

Bruce Bydawell: Financial Director, Alexander Forbes Group Services

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Alexander Forbes Group Services

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ICR Electrical

Craig McBain
Non-Executive Chairman

What does your company do?

ICR Electrical, one of the largest electrical service organisations in South Africa, prides itself on its extensive expertise covering all aspects of the electrical construction industry.

What prompted you to take on the services of the FD Centre?

I approached the FD Centre in June 2011 to help us stabilise the accounting functions of ICR in light of the imminent departure of the company’s chief financial officer. During this time the company was facing significant structural and cash flow challenges and was busy with the financial year-end audit.

Has having FD Centre on board specifically benefited your business?

The team provided by the FD Centre, Mike Jordan and Yolande Jansen with the support from the Regional Director, provided stability to the company from the first day. They reacted swiftly to our needs and displayed significant awareness and understanding of the challenges the company faced. Once stability was achieved the FD Centre team implemented further improvements to the financial and executive team functioning of the company.

Mike and Yolande’s ability to deliver tangible improvements in a challenging and pressured environment has significantly contributed to the company’s success in the second half of 2012.

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ICR Electrical

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MotorOne

Brad Maynard
Managing Director

What does your company do?
MotorOne sells motor vehicle accessories to motor dealer groups that are directed at generating dealer profit.

What prompted you to take on an FD Centre FD?
We had a financial manager taking care of day-to-day things, but our business was growing and we needed some help with strategic and business modelling.

How has having an FD Centre FD specifically benefited your business?
We had been involved with a couple of acquisitions and Duncan Hastie from the FD Centre was instrumental in helping us build models to understand the value of the transactions and how the business model would work after the acquisitions. He also gave input on how we could run our business better and improve our extraction of financial information.

Cashflow used to be a concern for us but Duncan’s cashflow modelling interventions have made a big difference in that area.

In what ways is having a part-time FD an effective solution for your company?
Having a part-time FD allows me to focus on other priorities. Duncan adds great value to our team while the part-time nature of the arrangement makes it a highly cost-effective solution for a company like ours.

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MotorOne

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Michaelhouse

Damien Rautenbach
Bursar

Michaelhouse is a senior boys’ private boarding school in the Kwazulu-Natal midlands. Distributions from the well-administered Michaelhouse Bursary Endowment Trust provide bursaries and scholarships to at least one third of all learners at the school, allowing a diverse range of boys to benefit from a Michaelhouse education.
In 2014 I took up the position of Bursar from the previous incumbent of 17 years. Besides the school’s main accounts, there are three Trusts that require significant administration and investment management. I wanted to update the accounting system to streamline the investment reporting and also enable improved outputs such as interim financial statements.

In 2015 I approached the FD Centre to assist with these tasks and also to complete our 2014 year-end financials. They appointed Lana Scott-Robertson to help us. Besides wrapping up the year-end reports, Lana developed a new financial accounting model with superior functionality that enables regular reporting and administrative transparency. These features are very important for the Board of Trustees to fulfill their duties.

Thanks to Lana’s intervention the school is now in a robust position to manage its funding with greater flexibility. Our association with the FD Centre will continue as we review future requirements.

It might be generally considered that only businesses, not schools, need the sophisticated offering provided by the FD Centre, but any school’s accounting management system could benefit from the FD Centre’s professional service. I would not hesitate to recommend the FD Centre to any school or organisation needing external support.

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Michaelhouse

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Imperial Health Sciences

Tjaart van der Walt
Financial Director

Imperial Health Sciences is a leading pharmaceutical warehouse, distributing in South Africa and Africa on behalf of multinationals and other pharmaceutical manufacturers. The company started in 2000 and was part of the RTT group before being bought by Imperial Group at the beginning of 2013.

As the financial director of Imperial Health Sciences, I look after the commercial side of the entire business. In 2010 we took on the services of the FD Centre. Our Africa division, also known as the Imperial Health International division, was growing rapidly with extensive expansion into Africa. We needed somebody in a senior position to manage the division’s finances.

Bruce Milne from the FD Centre came on board, initially for three days a week, and provided all the financial oversight and detail that the division needed in terms of accounting, controls, reporting and strategy. He did such a good job that we ended up employing him on a full-time basis. We could have gone the route of hiring somebody at a lower level but then they would have needed a lot of coaching. It was enormously valuable for us to be presented with a person of the right calibre – Bruce had all the necessary experience and insight to take charge from day one.

I would definitely recommend the FD Centre to other companies. Bruce plays a vital role in the running of our Africa division and it gives me great peace of mind to have him as part of our team.

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Imperial Health Sciences

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Kokstad Medical Admin Trust

Dr Brett Craig
CEO

What does your company do?
The Kokstad Medical Admin Trust is a medical practice supported by a trust that provides administrative support services, and tied into this is a majority shareholding in Kokstad Private Hospital. I am also the CEO of a second business, a hotel.

What prompted you to take on an FD Centre FD?
When we took on the services of the FD Centre we were experiencing massive growth on the medical side, and large losses as big capital investments were being made in the hotel.
Our immediate need was for robust systems and controls, up to date, accurate and reliable monthly management accounts, and help with managing the delicate transition from a partnership to a business with a profit motive.

How has having an FD Centre FD specifically benefited your business?
Rob Craig from the FD Centre used his skills as a chartered accountant to introduce a sustainable monthly business process that gives us timeous and reliable management accounts. The FD Centre also introduced us to one of their distribution partners who has played a constructive role in the change management aspect of our evolution, particularly at board level.

With the basics in place, the focus is now on cash management, enhancing profitability in order to enhance value, and developing and implementing strategic and business plans. Wayne Jaggard, who replaced Rob at the beginning of 2013, is providing valuable input into the current high level and strategic finance requirements.

The FD Centre has moved us into a different league from an accounting perspective. We now have a financial roadmap whereas before we were thrashing around in a bookkeeping mess.

How has the arrangement benefited you personally in your role as director?
The intervention from the FD Centre has elevated me from being involved in the day to day business processes and dealing with internal and external accountants. I am able to negotiate the challenges of dealing with professional partners more confidently as the figures, projections and accounting logic are in place.

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Kokstad Medical Admin Trust

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On The Dot

Paul Oosthuizen
CFO

What does your company do?
On The Dot is a logistics business which focuses exclusively on the media market segment, serving mostly group companies. As CFO I oversee the business performance management to ensure that we reach our financial goals and manage risk across the landscape.

What prompted you to take on an FD Centre FD?
When we took on the services of the FD Centre in 2012, the business was mature, and had to start a process of reinvention. I had joined the company after an ERP implementation didn’t go according to plan, and I was tasked with improving governance and controls. The finance team was stuck in the paradigm of ‘scorekeeper’ and so we had to regenerate and rebuild it into a ‘business partner’ function.

How has having an FD Centre FD specifically benefited your business?
We had three newly appointed finance managers (FMs) who were technically sound but lacked the experience necessary to manage and direct a team of finance specialists. Cliff Warren, the part-time FD from FD Centre sat alongside me to mentor the new FMs. He has created depth in the finance team, created perspective for the team and myself by acting as a sounding board, and added another dimension to our journey to excellence.

Without the FD Centre’s involvement it would have taken longer to rebuild the finance department. My own experience is supplemented and complemented by the FD Centre, and their role in our business is invaluable.

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On The Dot

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RTT Group

Dr Iain Barton
CEO

The FD Centre played an integral role in helping us create two of the most exciting black empowerment enterprises in their fields. Safeea Rahiman worked tirelessy to pull all the relevant stakeholders together, tie up loose ends and facilitate closure of these transactions.

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RTT Group

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Sheraton Textiles

Saleem Mowzer
CEO

1. Please give a brief overview of your business and what it does.
Sheraton Textiles was established in 1919 and is a manufacturer of quality household linen and accessories. We supply many upper-end retailers in South Africa as well as major hotel and hospitality groups, and also cater for small independent businesses, boutique hotels and guesthouses.

2. How did you hear about the FD Centre?
I was referred to the FD Centre by a colleague who had used their services.

3. When did you take on the services of the FD Centre?
January 2018, until the end of July 2018.

4. In what areas did your company need the most help?
Our financial manager had resigned and was unable to work out his notice period, so we urgently needed someone to help on a short-term basis until we could make a permanent placement.

5. How was the FD Centre able to help?
They placed Kim Harrison with us who took on overall responsibility for the finance team. A qualified CA, she fitted in perfectly from day one. We were just commencing our annual audit, and she jumped into that straight away.

6. How much time did the part-time FD spend at your premises?
Kim was with us for four days a week.

7. How did the intervention from the FD Centre change your day-to-day operations?
I met with Kim regularly, often daily, and because of her calibre and competence, I was freed up significantly to meet my other objectives as CEO.

8. What was the greatest value the part-time FD has added to your business?
Kim is an outstanding individual. In her short time here she stabilised the finance function and earned tremendous respect from her colleagues. Her character, resilience, leadership, qualifications and experience made her an invaluable member of our team.

9. Why was the FD Centre placement a good solution for your type of business?
It meant engaging with a company that was reputable, and having the right person placed to fill the gap with immediate impact.

10. In the future, what role do you see the part-time FD playing in your business? Are you looking at a long-term engagement?
We would have loved to have employed Kim as our permanent financial manager, but her future is with the FD Centre. We have a new incumbent taking the role and Kim has arranged an exceptional handover, facilitating a seamless transition. Should we ever find ourselves needing a part-time resource again, we would definitely approach the FD Centre.

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Sheraton Textiles

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Richard Levine: Managing Director, Executive Solutions

Executive Solutions is an ICT system integrator and service provider.
We learnt about the FD Centre through LinkedIn, and started using their services in August 2016 to help with our financial management and reporting. John Kinghorn was assigned to our company for two days a month to develop the necessary reports and dashboards that would enable us to keep a close eye on the financial pulse of our business.
John formalised the financial management of the business, and provided monthly financial reviews which are invaluable. We now have an accurate understanding of the financial position of the business at all times.
A part-time FD is an excellent option for us. For a company the size of ours, a full-time FD is typically too expensive and could also find themselves underutilised at times. We are currently looking at a one-to two-year engagement with the FD Centre, and thereafter as and when required.

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Executive Solutions

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