Written by Staff Writer
Amsterdam-based Katekani Mabasa, who is the Global M&A Senior Finance Lead at Phillips International, explained to CFO Convo why South African CFOs are suited to international success.
“South Africa is one of the countries where Europe recruits quite a lot of accountants. However, they don’t necessarily perceive that South Africa also can produce great CFOs.”
“And that’s one of the things that, for me personally, I had to overcome. I had to tell the story of, ‘hey, look, we are not only great accountants, but we’re also great CFOs’.”
This was the perspective of Dutch-based, South African-bred Katekani Mabasa gave to the audience of a recent CFO Club Convo. Katekani made time between her job as Global M&A Senior Finance Lead at Phillips International to speak to CFOClub Africa members.
South Africa’s challenging business environment gives our CFOs an edge over finance professionals who are not used to operating in a high inflationary, low security, and energy-uncertain circumstances, according to Katekani.
“We talk about security concerns in South Africa. . .. Where as right now with the war [in Ukraine] and everything that’s happening in the world, all the CFOs globally are starting to have [to take] that into perspective.
“The fact that we produce great accountants means that also fundamentally our financial literacy skills are quite great and our environment within South Africa, with everything that happens, builds the resilience needed for a successful CFO.”
Katekani’s, own CFO journey started before birth. “My mom was pregnant with me when she was in her second year in university studying a B.Com Degree. So I always feel like I had a bit more headstart from an accounting business management perspective.”
Katekani’s embrace of international finance was thanks to exposure early in her career.
“My first company was General Electric, which is quite a global multinational within Sub-Saharan Africa. We had leaders from across the world. So every time I stepped into the office, I was exposed to the possibility of what diversity does and more so positive aspects of diversity. That made me more comfortable, and I also started enjoying the fact that I’m learning so much from all these different leaders.”
“That was the start of why I was then more embracive and prefer to be in environments that harness [diversity] because you can learn so much from leaders that are from all over the world.”
CFOClub Africa members can listen to the entire conversation, where Katekani offers insight into red flags to watch out for when considering an M&A. You can reach us for more about our membership offering here.