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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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Vantage Capital

Johnny Jones
Partner

1. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your business.

I am a partner at Vantage Capital. We are a mezzanine fund investing in businesses using subordinated funds across Africa, with R9 billion under management.

2. Describe your business before The FD Centre got involved and some of the issues that have been addressed since the Principal’s involvement in your business (describe your experience with The FD Centre).

Our investment portfolio includes Bay Realty, a Ghana-based property business which owns three buildings, two of which are commercial and one residential, with a total of 30 tenants. We asked the FD Centre to second a Financial Director to handle the transition when we took over the business in March 2018. The Principal, John Kizito, was tasked with managing financial accounts, looking over documents, engaging lawyers, auditors and tax experts and making legal arrangements.

3. What value do you feel The FD Centre / Principal has brought to your business during their time working with you?

John had a thorough understanding of the business and the detail included in all relevant documents. His interactions with the auditors revealed him to be an excellent negotiator. He also found a suitable property manager. He flagged several risks as well as opportunities for the company.

4. Talk about the relationship you have with the Principal you are working with/have worked with.

John worked with us for four months. It was a great experience; in fact, it surpassed our expectations. He’s an excellent self-starter; although we provided the scope of work, he added responsibilities of his own volition. He has a sound understanding of business operations.

5. What impact has the Principal / The FD Centre made on your business?

We didn’t have the resources to send one of our own staff members to Ghana, so it was helpful to be able to second someone who could perform the services we needed; especially someone who is evidently an overachiever.

6. How has the Principal supported and developed your Finance Team during their time with you?

Although he arrived in Ghana without any contacts, John had developed an extensive network in four months. This enabled him to identify potential candidates for the role of a permanent accountant. He also conducted interviews for the role and ultimately found an excellent candidate, evaluated him and created his scope of work.

7. In closing, would you recommend The FD Centre and the Part-time FD offering?

Yes, definitely.

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Vantage Capital

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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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Cross Fire Management (Pty) Ltd

Anton Kriel
MD Africa

1. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your business.

Cross Fire Management provides fire sprinkler systems. We operate throughout Africa, with businesses in Ghana and Mozambique. I am the MD of the African operations.

2. Describe your business before The FD Centre got involved and some of the issues that have been addressed since the Principal’s involvement in your business (describe your experience with The FD Centre).

Our relationship with The FD Centre started in 2013, after we won contracts to work in Ghana and Mozambique. This was not our first foray into cross-border business; however, until then we had been able to work and bill from South Africa. Shortly after we won the contracts, new legislation was introduced requiring us to change this model. We now had to work in country and receive payment in the local currency. I was tasked with setting up operations in Ghana and Mozambique but, although this seemed like a simple undertaking, I soon realised that there were severe limitations to my knowledge. We therefore requested that The FD Centre supply a Principal who was aware of the nuances of doing cross-border transactions and understood the unique business challenges we were facing.

3. What value do you feel that The FD Centre / Principal has brought to your business during their time working with you?

Our major problem was our lack of knowledge about cross-border transactions. Issues like transfer pricing, or the functioning of other countries’ accounting systems, were beyond our grasp. Because of this, we made several unfortunate mistakes. Our Principal, Burgert Blom, was well-versed in these matters, and he swiftly helped us gain a better understanding of the complexities of the business landscape.

4. Talk about the relationship you have with the Principal you are working with/have worked with

Burgert is not only highly skilled; he is also very personable. In fact, we have become friends. He’s very easy to get along with.

5. What impact has the Principal / The FD Centre made on your business?

He’s repaired and reversed the damage resulting from our earlier poor business decisions and helped us get to grips with a business environment that was very foreign to us.

6. How has the Principal supported and developed your Finance Team during their time with you?

He has helped all of us understand the business environment and ensured that the business operates appropriately within this context.

7. In closing, would you recommend The FD Centre and the Part-time Finance Director offering?

Yes.

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Cross Fire Management (Pty) Ltd

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Prime Product Manufacturing

Mike Rigby
CEO

1. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your business.

I am the CEO of Prime Product Manufacturing; a company which focuses on manufacturing cosmetics, toiletries and models. As third-party manufacturers, we sell our products to retailers or multi-level marketing companies: our job is to take a brief for a new product, fill that brief and sell the resulting product to clients so that they can sell it on to their customers. Our business is an integrated model that involves several aspects, from customer service to research and development, production and costing. We have been running for several years and employ 250 people.

2. Describe your business before The FD Centre got involved and some of the issues that have been addressed since the Principal’s involvement in your business (describe your experience with The FD Centre).

I first heard about The FD Centre when I received a cold call, asking if I would like to hear about their services. A company our size doesn’t necessarily require a full-time financial director, but we still need someone to oversee our daily challenges. The FD Centre’s services fitted our needs exactly.

3. What value do you feel that The FD Centre / Principal has brought to your business during their time working with you?

Our Principal’s contribution is invaluable. Because he operates in various capacities across several different industries, he has accumulated a wealth of insight and experience.

4. Talk about the relationship you have with the Principal you are working with/have worked with.

Our relationship with Burgert Blom stretches back several years. We’re impressed by how well he has come to know our company. This knowledge has been cultivated through his practise of attending our quarterly meetings.

5. What impact has the Principal / The FD Centre made on your business?

One of the areas where his contribution has been most valuable is supplementing the skills that are lacking in our own company, because of its size. Burgert has obviously developed a sound understanding of business processes thanks to his vast exposure, and he has applied this to our own company so that we have a better understanding of our own operations and areas for improvement.

6. How has the Principal supported and developed your Finance Team during their time with you?

Burgert is currently training and mentoring one of our staff members who is being groomed for a financial position. Although she has all the required competencies and qualifications and is already involved in the financial management of the company, his input is a great help in ensuring she has the relevant skills and knowledge. We have found his role in this skills transfer especially helpful.

7. In closing, would you recommend the The FD Centre and the Part-time Finance Director offering?

Yes, especially if yours is an organisation where certain skills are missing (for example, if your Financial Director post is suddenly vacant and you need to fill the gap before you find a replacement). The FD Centre’s team is able to slot in quickly.

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Prime Product Manufacturing

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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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SBV Services (Pty) Ltd

Andrew Meerburg
Former CFO

1. Give a brief introduction of yourself and your business.

SBV Services is a cash in transit business worth R2.9 billion. We have a fleet of 1 000 trucks, and four cash centres throughout the country.

2. Describe your business before The FD Centre got involved and some of the issues that have been addressed since the Principal’s involvement in your business (describe your experience with The FD Centre).

We called upon The FD Centre to provide assistance when our business in Nigeria faced some unique business challenges.

3. What value do you feel that The FD Centre / Principal has brought to your business during their time working with you?

We needed to locate a top quality individual to address an extremely difficult situation at very short notice. Our finance department didn’t have extra capacity, and we weren’t able to identify, recruit and onboard someone of this calibre within a limited time frame. The FD Centre was able to provide a highly skilled Finance Director who was able to take on the work at pace.

4. Talk about the relationship you have with the Principal you are working with/have worked with.

The Principal, Carl de Klerk, found himself in a hostile situation, and was met with a lot of resistance from his Nigerian colleagues. Such was his skill that, during his two years at the post, he had befriended key staff members and helped to diffuse the situation.

5. What impact has the Principal / The FD Centre made on your business?

We appreciated The FD Centre’s ability to provide a quick solution to a pressing problem.

6. In closing, would you recommend the The FD Centre and the Part-time Finance Director offering?

Yes.

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SBV Services (Pty) Ltd

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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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