Managing effective (and credible) financial projections of a startup

The role of a startup Chief Financial Officer (CFO) goes beyond traditional financial management to creating a roadmap for growth and longevity. "Not only does the CFO role demand the efficient and effective deployment of resources that result in maximum returns – it's just as critical to design and implement processes to ensure the financial department seamlessly integrates with the Aura's operations," notes Patrick Gilbride, Chief Financial Officer at Aura – South Africa's most effective, accessible and affordable emergency response platform for the security and medical services industry.

Navigating the startup environment and operating in a near constant state of flux is a time of invaluable opportunity for a new CFO. "Financial forecasting in a startup is always the most challenging task. Aura needs to remain as dynamic as possible, and that often requires a complete change of direction. A big part of my role as CFO is to provide a clear picture of the current state of affairs that enables the management team to make informed decisions," adds Gilbride.

Having credible and effective financial projections is hugely significant to the success of any business, but for a startup it's the golden thread that drives growth, strategy, and an organisation's vision and purpose. "Being involved in an organisation that moves quickly and isn't afraid to make mistakes is the perfect environment for someone who wants to grow as much as possible. I believe Aura is the tool that will bring the security industry into the 21st Century. According to Numbeo's 2020 Crime Index South Africa is the third most dangerous country in the world. Aura is a solution that can bring every South African the security they deserve."

Patrick Gilbride
Aura
Kramerville, Johannesburg.
14 September 2020
Photograph: John Hogg

Gilbride is the newly appointed Chief Financial Officer at Aura.

About Aura
AURA was born out of the critical need for more efficiency within the South African Security industry in order to combat the growing crime rate facing all of us. AURA achieves this efficiency through smart, disruptive and scalable technology, which creates a WIN-WIN-WIN for all parties involved. The customer receives affordable and effective services; the security provider increases revenue and its client base; and AURA fulfils its mission and vision. AURA is driven by a young entrepreneurial founding team with extensive experience within the security and technology spaces.https://aura.services/

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Growing and Preserving your Wealth for Financial Sustainability

Financial freedom through integrated wealth management solutions
Whether you are retired, starting your first job or working out what you want to achieve with your money, deciding where to invest and adjusting your portfolio can be daunting. The choices you make around planning for your future are some of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

Taking control of your quest to build wealth is not a nicety, it is a necessity says Craig Kiggen, Managing Director of Consolidated Wealth (a Licensed Financial Services Provider). Craig and his team of tenured, highly-qualified financial advisors have been using global investment strategies and a multi-disciplinary goals-based approach to help individuals, families and companies manage their wealth for more than 20 years.

“There are many definitions for wealth management but for our team it is about growing and preserving the wealth of our clients. It is the process of planning your future today by looking after the wealth that you have created or are looking to create so you can achieve financial sustainability in the years to come,” Craig explains.

The Consolidated Wealth team are unique in their approach to financial planning and wealth creation. They view their client relationships as a partnership and the management of their wealth as a journey they walk together. Craig says that the sooner people get started on this journey, the better, regardless of their financial situation.

“We focus on a cradle to grave partnership that starts as early as possible and as a result, our clients range from university graduates to high net worth individuals and companies. The same approach is used for everyone: we start by understanding them and their relationship with money and tailor a researched, bespoke solution for each,” Craig explains.

Too often, people place emphasis on the markets and returns, adopting of a short-term view to investment portfolios rather than a long-term strategy that is financially sustainable. Craig says that Consolidated Wealth encourages their clients to build a holistic, integrated financial plan attuned to their circumstances, needs and priorities at every stage of their lives.

“Every client has a different lifestyle, cash-flow requirements and wealth preservation goals. That is why we work collaboratively with them to design solutions that support their unique investment objectives, integrating both their corporate and their personal investments to build a strategy that aligns with their priorities and their relationship with money.”

He adds that wealth creation means different things to different people and this is reflected in how they choose to invest. Some people are aggressive in their approach and have higher earnings expectations while others are more cautious, opting for stable returns that deliver in the long-term. “The key thing here is the acknowledgement that every person is different. In fact, our new brand identity celebrates this; our logo, for example, is a fingerprint that symbolises the uniqueness of each client’s situation and the tree trunk rings are a visual symbol of growth year by year.”

This priorities-based, highly-individualised approach has resulted in long-standing relationships and has earned Consolidated Wealth an enviable 96% client retention ratio – unheard of in the industry. Headquartered in Durban, the team manages an international portfolio of clients and an asset base of more than R2-billion.

Craig believes the team’s relationships with their clients are the reason for the company’s ongoing success. “Some of our clients have been with us for more than 20 years. We’ve been with them in the trenches and we’ve also celebrated alongside them as they reached their financial goals,” he explains.

“These long-standing relationships are incredibly valuable to our whole team and combined with our growing client base, we view this as a positive indication that we are delivering on our vision to build the world’s most trusted Wealth Solutions business so that every life we touch is financially secure.”

The unique, caring relationships with their clients embodies the ethos of Consolidated Wealth. Pouring ingenuity and passion into everything they do ensures that the company continues to outperform agreed benchmarks resulting in what is one of life’s most fulfilling experiences: delivering long-term, sustainable financial freedom.

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Latest Momentum claim statistics paint a different picture for women

Momentum's 2019 claim statistics reveal continued cancer and mental health related risk for females

Between January and December 2019, women made up just below R1.3bn (28%) of Momentum's claims with cancer and mental health related claims remaining among the main concerns.

A quarter of all female cancer deaths are from breast cancer

According to Jenny Ingram, Head of Product Development for Momentum Myriad, death claims made up the largest majority of Momentum claims in 2019 at a staggering R3.3bn. Although 30% of the number of death claims were for women, the rand amount of death claims paid to females was only 23% due to females generally still having lower insurance amounts in place than their male counterparts. The majority of female death claims were due to cancer (42%), with breast cancer accounting for 25% of all female cancer related death claims.

This compares differently to men, where death claims were primarily as a result of cardiovascular disease. "This is consistent with the 2018 findings. Men continue to suffer primarily from cardio-related illnesses while the majority of female related death claims are as a result of cancer, specifically breast cancer," says Ingram.

Cancer is still the most critical illness for women

41% of critical illness claims in 2019 came from women. Breast cancer was the most prevalent cause of claim at 50%, which remains a trend year on year. In 2018, 54% of all cancer-related claims were for breast cancer.

"It is worth noting that prostate cancer was the major cancer claimed for by men. This trend highlights a great need for both men and women to ensure regular check-ups to catch cancer early when it is far more likely to be treatable," says Ingram.

Women make twice as many critical illness claims as men

Much like 2018's statistics, women up to the age of 39 made twice as many critical illness claims than men. "What makes the diagnosis of a critical illness in women especially traumatic is the emotional and financial impact that it has on families because at these ages, the children are typically still attending school and living at home," says Ingram.

From a financial point of view, Ingram says these are very productive years for most breadwinners and having to cope with the additional expenses, or reduced income, because of the illness can completely ruin families financially. "It is important for women who have been through this to own their success and share their journey with others who are struggling to stand firm, walk tall and run the show. A critical illness doesn't have to dismantle your life, there are support systems out there."

Mental health related disability claims three times higher for women

When it came to lump sum disability claims, the trend continued as the main cause of claim for women was once again cancer related. Although, only 38% of all Momentum lump sum disability pay outs were claimed by women, Ingram believes historically, and even now, women are not as comprehensively insured as men, even in cases where they are the primary breadwinner. Given the important role they play in society it is important that they have comprehensive life insurance cover in place.

From a psychiatric morbidity point of view, 12% of female disability claims related to mental health conditions. Ingram says, "What makes this statistic most concerning is that it is almost three times greater than mental illness claims made by men over the same period. Women are under a lot of pressure and clearly need to pay more attention to their own mental health."

Psychiatric trauma continues to trend as Momentum's claim statistics indicate that the most claims for income protection for women occurred between the ages of 40 and 49 and related to mental illnesses such as major depression and anxiety.

Ingram anticipates 2020 mental-health related income protection statistics to rise given the economic stresses brought upon by COVID-19, she says women will likely be at the forefront of this. "We all need to keep tabs on ourselves to recognise when these risks emerge. Many of the issues that affect women, like cancer and mental health, are preventable and treatable if caught early and managed correctly."

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Zanele Mbokazi – Mentor, Mother and Matriarch

Women play many roles in their daily lives. We are loving mothers, adoring wives, dedicated daughters, driven professionals, and caring mentors to name a few. Success in all these sections of our life depends on keeping a healthy balance between them. Author, mentor, and mother, Zanele Mbokazi, tells us how she manages to find inner peace through balance.

Zanele is a passionate believer that Faith plays a core part in success. Encouraging people to have faith and believe that everything they have ever dreamed is possible, is the cornerstone of her workshops. Her ability to add a uniquely feminine touch to the process of dream realization has earned her the title of 'Midwife of Dreams' from her past students.

Here are Zanele's top 5 hacks for other budding superwomen:

Dream big and start small

If you don't know where you are going, how are you going to get there? Life-altering actions always begin with dreams, big dreams, that are based on a big picture of what you want and why you want to achieve what you want. Once you are grounded in your dreams, you need to translate them into goals that are simple, achievable, measurable, and timebound so that you can see your progress and stay motivated.

Plan everything and write it down

Any successful woman knows that planning is essential. Zanele's to-do list includes everything from family time, business commitments, self-care rituals, and much more. She knows from experience that detailed planning allows her to fulfill all her roles, be there for everyone who needs her, and still reserve some energy for herself. Attention to detail, quickly executing each task, and having a written record of your plan is key to avoiding getting side-tracked.

Prioritise and focus

To make sure you are working towards achieving the goals you need to take a step back often to check if what you are doing every day is in line with them. To ask yourself if what you have planned to do today, is taking you closer to your dream tomorrow. Only then can you prioritize which to-dos are most important and focus your energy on a realistic path to achievement.

Recognize your inner voice

We all have that inner voice that can be our biggest critic. It is important not to ignore it, instead recognize it, and accept it, and you remove its negative power. Zanele has given her inner critic the nickname 'nunu' and will repeatedly tell that negative voice 'not today nunus' as a way of claiming power over potentially negative thoughts and reinforcing faith in yourself.

Find your tribe

No woman is an island and you cannot do everything for everyone all the time. Pay attention to those around you who are able to help and delegate them responsibilities and tasks in your home and professional life. Empowering those around you, creating a sense of agency and giving gratitude to those who help you makes them feel valued and gives you a way to balance your time. If you can't pick up the kids from school, somebody in your tribe should be able to. In life and business, your tribe will support you and make sure you don't buckle from the stress of trying to do everything.

Zanele's story is, without doubt, one of resilience and dedication.It is her faith, her ability, her family, and her tribe that allow her to see possibilities in places of crisis. As a mother, mentor, and matriarch Zanele believes in leading by example. She wants to make us aware of the powerful influence we have over our children, our colleagues, and our confidants in what we say, how we carry ourselves and what we do professionally. When speaking of her family, Zanele bursts with pride not only for her children but for herself and the faith she had to be capable of raising giants. Self-belief propelled her to be able to stand on any stage in the world and helped her see herself as more than simply Zanele from Thornwood.

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A Healthy Heart Matters This World Heart Day

The COVID­19 pandemic has brought many challenges on a global scale. It has affected our health and our livelihoods. It has changed our behaviours, the way we work, socialise and take care of our health. Most people who are at a higher risk of dying are those already living with underlying health conditions, especially cardiovascular disease, upper respiratory disorders, diabetes and hypertension. Other co­morbid conditions like hypertension and obesity are also associated with more severe COVID­19 symptoms.

In South Africa, 255 people die from heart diseases every single day, despite the fact that 80% of heart diseases and strokes can be prevented. Healthy food choices can positively impact cardiovascular health and immunity in a matter of weeks and along with moderate physical activity, can reduce the risk of heart disease and play a vital role in maintaining an optimal immune response.

Prof Pamela Naidoo of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa states: “Smoking or vaping, drinking too much, diets high in salt and sugar and high cholesterol all contribute to declining heart health, among other influences.” She continues, “We cannot overlook the fact that people are also genetically predisposed to selected medical conditions depending on their family history, and these people especially should heed the advice to take heart health more seriously.”
As such, it is advised to not revert to old unhealthy habits after the pandemic to protect not only your immune system but also your overall heart health. These habits include lack of physical activity, consuming large amounts of processed foods, alcohol or increasing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.
The problem with processed foods
Most of the food we eat today is processed in some way or another. It could be a salad mix, precooked ‘healthy’ meals, frozen dinners or even fruits and vegetables. Some processed foods have added ingredients, and others are fortified to add nutrients. Some are prepared for
convenience, and some are packaged to last longer or for food safety. Even food labelled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ can be processed.
The good sign is that more people are paying attention to processed foods. According to Heart.org, 74% of consumers are opting for less sodium in processed foods, and almost 50% have tried eating fewer processed foods. When considering your diet, it is important to read food labels, look for heart­friendly products and make healthier choices, whether it’s cooking more meals at home, swapping highly processed foods for its less processed counterparts or even growing your own fruits and vegetables at home. Nutrients from real food over supplements
Many experts agree that eating the right food is one of the most important steps to a healthy heart. The nutrients you get from certain foods, like fibre, folic acid, magnesium and omega­3 fatty acids, can not only protect against heart disease but provide added benefits to improve your overall health.
Omega­3 fatty acids, like those found in Lucky Star pilchards and sardines, are particularly important in maintaining heart health. Omega­3 acids assist in reduced blood pressure and blood clotting, as well as irregular heartbeats. It can also decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure, although the key benefits are as follows:
Healthy brain – Choosing healthier food options will benefit our memory and brain function, as well as our mood. Omega­3s are also crucial for brain growth and development in infants.
Healthy heart – Omega­3 fatty acids have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and high blood pressure while raising ‘good’ cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Healthy bones and joints – Omega­3 fatty acids are known to improve the health and strength of joints by increasing the amount of calcium in bones, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Omega­3s also help to reduce pain and stiffness in joints. Continues Prof Naidoo, “Products like Lucky Star are accessible and affordable for most consumers and a brilliant way to add more Omega­3 fatty acids into the diet.” Lucky Star is also the only canned fish brand endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation as part of their essential eating plan. “Eating real food is always better than taking supplements. Nothing can substitute it. Lucky Star pilchards and sardines are an ideal way to incorporate more Omega­3 fatty acids into your diet, and to assist in taking care of your heart health,” she concludes.

Article written by freelance writer Megan Nathan

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