The importance of Data Governance

Data describes the facts and figures that a company processes, it only becomes valuable information after it has been processed to add relevance. Data governance is the overall management of information available, it provides context for using the correct data, defines policies and standards for the proper use of data, and ensures that data management is aligned to the strategy of the entity concerned. It is important to develop a policy that specifies who is accountable for the various portions of data within a business and how accurate it is. A set standard and procedure must be followed, so as to ensure ongoing compliance with governance regulations.

Previously, data was managed solely by technologists. However, business intelligence is fast advancing, key decision makers are now required to have sufficient and accurate business data to make logical and profitable decisions. The interpretation of business assets, liabilities and equity is key information to a prolific business. A Data Governance programme is designed to shape the corporate philosophy of data acquisition, management and archiving. Business advances now require both business and IT components of the business to syndicate in order to define data elements. New data-orientated business functions and roles will emerge, and this should present accountants with a good opportunity, as they are well placed to fulfill some of these functions and roles.

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The Automotive Industry- South Africa’s premier employer

South Africa has one of highest unemployment rates in the world, sitting at a high of 26.5% at present. High levels of unemployment put pressure on the general efficiency of an economy, affecting even the employed. When there is diminutive money to spend, a cyclical economic problem forms. Businesses and employees are affected by a decline in the number of goods consumed.

Despite all these factors, South Africa is still considered one of the Top 10 most developed countries in Africa, it has an economy that is ranked the second largest in the African economies. This is mainly because South Africa has multiple industries contributing to its economy, the Automotive Industry being a giant amongst these.

The Automotive Industry contributes over R210bn in the South African annual GDP, placing over 660,000 jobs and R84.5bn in wages. It is largely based in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Populaces in these provinces rely largely on this industry and its sub-industries, according to the AIEC’s report, it is estimated that each direct automotive job supports at least five other indirect jobs. The modern automotive industry in South Africa was launched in 1995 and has since continued to advance.

The financial responsibility for unemployed persons in South Africa falls largely on the government, with this realisation, the Government has put in place the Automotive Production and Development Program (APDP) which is designed to support and grow one of the country’s premier employers. The APDP hopes to achieve local production of 1.2 million vehicles annually by 2020 thus increasing employment opportunities.

The Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness Initiative (ASCCI) was launched in 2013 as a measure to enhance localisation, production and supplier capabilities. Competition in this industry has significantly grown, more activity within an industry is always positive for the economy. However, global competition has also increased, thus creating difficult and challenging circumstances for the local Automotive Industry. Manufacturers are required to enhance quality, increase organisational efficiencies and drive innovative features into their products while keeping manufacturing costs minimal.

This prolific industry requires a wider source of investment, the Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS) has facilitated more public sector incentives purposed to develop and assist in the manufacturing of automotive components.

The Automotive Industry is a crucial financial contributor in the South African economy, it is responsible for a significant decrease in unemployment. Expectedly, the government has put immense drive and effort into the advancement and success of this industry, ensuring thrive and profitability. Undoubtedly the programs and initiatives put in place have contributed to the increasing growth of the local Automotive Industry.

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Three cars manufactured in SA READ

Digital Darwinism, entrepreneurship and technology

Darwin wrote about natural selection and the need to evolve in order to survive. The same can be said for both digital technology and entrepreneurship. With ongoing technological advances playing a significant part in economic growth, entrepreneurs, if willing to adapt, can benefit significantly from an ever changing digital landscape.

At a recently hosted event on entrepreneurship, ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) along with leading industry panellist raised significant trends into the technology and digital tools that will help entrepreneurs succeed.

Based on the event’s discussion theme; digital technological evolution in business, ACCA used the event as an opportunity to present the report ‘Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change’. This report focuses on 10 key digital based technology trends that may have direct bearing on business ownership and entrepreneurship:

 

  1. Mobile: Anywhere, anytime access to broadband connectivity from a range of devices, wireless networks, operating systems and applications.
  2. Big data: The massive quantity and variety of structured and unstructured data from internet-connected systems, devices and physical objects.
  3. Artificial intelligence and robotics: The broad range of machines and computer systems that demonstrate limited characteristics of intelligence.
  4. Cyber security: Protection from new forms of cyber risk, attack, crime and terrorism caused by increased reliance on personal and professional digital devices and data.
  5. Educational: Trends and tools that are changing and enhancing educational achievements, developments, techniques and possibilities.
  6. Cloud: Internet-based technology resources – such as software applications, computing power and data storage – provided remotely as a service.
  7. Payment systems: New, evolving and emerging internet-enabled software applications, currencies, payment platforms, devices and services.
  8. Virtual and augmented reality: Technologies that use computer modelling to simulate, overlay and supplement reality and enable people to interact.
  9. Digital service delivery: New technologies used to provide online, interactive, self-service, business processes, software and services.
  10. Social: Technologies that support social interaction and are enabled by communications technology, such as the internet.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY BY UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMERS

Notwithstanding the merits of the 10 digital trends outlined above, it is important to mention that entrepreneurs should be aware of their market, and choose the right technology for their business. There is no need to embrace all 10 technologies, or to over-engineer digital products, rather be selective and with the help of a clear business plan choose the right technology that can help move your business forward.

Knowing your customer’s needs and preferred technological platforms will help reduce the choice of technology you may need to engage with.

Understanding of your customers, market and your key performance indicators is as important as choosing the right technology that can help your business move forward.” – Zolani Ngange, Chief Executive Officer at NexBrill Capital

For further details on ACCA’s entrepreneurship initiatives and up and coming events, e-mail:  Nomsa.Nkomo@accaglobal.com

Visit http://bit.ly/2nY5cZv to read on ways to deal with technological impacts.

Crowdfunding for CFOs

Acca

The business world has a different face than it did years ago, more and more companies are working at recognising and cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit in the employees they employ.

ACCA’s report, Culture and Channelling Corporate Behaviour, suggests that individuals are loyal to the following three factors: mastery of one’s subject, autonomy and psychological relatedness of their values. The latter is evident in that a lot of employees are not satisfied in just doing their day-to-day jobs but they desire to serve their community by relating they job activities with the needs in society. “The entrepreneurial approach” has found fame in the corridors of business and more and more employees and businesses are enjoying the benefits of this approach.

CFOs and their team leaders that aim to cultivate this spirit in their employees are often faced with the challenge of financing projects proposed by employees. Crowdfunding is one of the ways that SMEs around the globe are financing their projects. Crowd funding can be used by CFOs that do not have the budget to finance all the projects employees desire to engage in.

Crowdfunding is by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” This is not a new phenomenon, the only difference is that it is now web-based and the pool for investors is much greater than before when one had to approach individuals they hoped would invest in their cause.

How does it work? There are web-based platforms that CFOs can go to or direct their employees. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Onevest are some of the well-known ones globally that project creators utilise; in South Africa the phenomenon is still at its young stages, but there are platforms that have been established to cater for this need: startme.co.za, thundafund.co.za, jumpstarter.co.za, findfund.co.za. Project creators can create a profile typically containing a short video, an introduction to their project, a list of rewards per donation, and some images to elaborate. The idea is to create a compelling message that readers will be drawn towards.

Crowdfunding offers a lot of benefits to employees that seek to integrate their passion into their work and also to CFOs that want to avoid some risks associated with funding projects proposed by employees. Forbes presents the following as benefits of crowd funding:

  • It provides access to capital
  • It hedges risk
  • It serves as a marketing tool
  • It gives proof of concept
  • It allows crowd sourcing of brainstorming
  • It introduces prospective loyal customers
  • It’s easier than traditional applications
  • It’s free PR
  • It provides the opportunity of pre-selling

It is free