Our Guest Mentor:

Arno Wakfer is a finance professional with over 15 years commercial experience as CFO, controller, manager as well as in finance business partnering & leadership roles across various industries, in well know organisations such as Dimension Data, Autodesk, MoreGolf & GIBS Business School. During his career in both South Africa & Australian Arno has lead & developed financial strategies, built high-performance finance teams, implemented business improvements & facilitated change management programs.

Arno has also published 130+ LI Articles on a range of finance topics aimed at driving sustained profitable growth in business and also on creating value via finance business partnering and co-piloting on decision making.

Arno holds a CA designation, is a certified financial modeller and valuation analyst and lives in Brisbane, Australia with his family.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“[On small business] they are the ones who feel the most pain, because they can’t afford the [financial] experience or expertise.” [05:04]

“[On the importance of values] Values are very important in a business, there’s no point you hiring people who don’t have the same value and share the same passion in the vision and the mission statement because one is going to go left the other one is going to go right so you’re not going to go in the same direction, it’s about getting the right people onto the bus.” [08:54]

“[On the role of accountant in small business] For me as an accountant it’s getting people out of the business and say listen, let’s work on the business … and that’s the role of finance, you don’t work for the business you work with the business to help them to create a sustainable business, and it’s an ongoing process it never stops.” [09:56]

“[On how to engage] Talk to people, find out what they’re doing and how you can help service their business better.” [13:04]

“[On importance of mentoring] A mentor gives you the short cuts, not the lazy cuts, think about all the times I went too much into the detail, when I needed to step back, have the right mindset, where to look, who to talk to, someone to bounce some ideas off of, or offer a fresh perspective or different angle, which allows you to think differently and you learn more quickly about business.” [18:33]

 (Other resources and how to connect with Arno below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • Arno shares a story why he wished he had a mentor after he qualified
  • His seven learnings (value drivers) accountants get when running their own business.
  • Why reporting isn’t adding value and why Arno is excited about automation.
  • Why finance professionals need to be visible and how Arno does this
  • Arno shares a story of the best criticism he ever received and how it helped him.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[02:50] – Arno shares his passion for accounting, numbers and storytelling through his journey from audit in practice to financial management in commerce & industry; divisional finance; CFO and business ownership.

[06:13] – Arno shares his seven learnings (value drivers) accountants get when running their own business.

  • Increase number of leads coming in
  • Conversion rate
  • Average transaction value
  • Number of transactions
  • Gross profit margins (pricing or discounting)
  • Trim overheads in a lean way
  • Then the strategy part / holistic business planning

[08:48] – Arno deconstructs what he means by business strategy and why execution is important.

[11:33] –Arno shares a story how he stumbled across the usefulness of business partnering via engagement.

[12:20] – The two customers of Finance.

[13:50] – Why reporting isn’t adding value and why Arno is excited about automation.

[15:42] – Why finance professionals need to be visible and how Arno does this.

[18:33] – Arno shares a story why he wished he had a mentor after he qualified and his free mentoring program.

[23:06] – Arno shares a story of the best criticism he ever received and how it helped him.

[24:40] – Best bits advice to a younger finance professional.

[26:50] – Why automation is making us lazy and the importance of validation checks.

[28:07] – The resources Arno recommends finance professionals check out and why.

[30:55] – How best to connect with Arno.

[31:38] – Arno’s parting thoughts.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • Work Less, Make More: The counter-intuitive approach to building a profitable business, and a life you actually love (2017), by James Schramko
  • What Is Your WHAT?: Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born To Do (2013), by Steve Olsher
  • Superfast Business (podcast)
  • Strength in the Numbers Show (podcast)
  • Arno’s Finance Business Partner Mentoring Program (contact)

Connect with today’s guest:

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