Embracing digital culture from the get-go, Outsourced CFO (OCFO) is an online accounting and financial consultancy firm that services its clientele from cloud-based technology. This digi-solution has provided businesses and entrepreneurs with access to seasoned advisors, who help manage everything from cash flow and company tax to financial decision-making.
Along with Co-Founder Dana Pretorius and Director Jacques Le Grange, Co-founder Louw Barnardt has pulled together a strong team of qualified chartered accountants and tax practitioners. With a wealth of expertise that amounts to over 70 years of experience in the field, they make up the very essence of OCFO.
“We are able to keep scaling at this rate because of three main things. Firstly, the focus is on leadership in the team,” Louw says. “Secondly, we are building highly scalable infrastructure for our team to flawlessly execute without friction. And thirdly, we have a very strong branding and marketing effort that keeps attracting more and more conversation to the business — new staff, clients, and network partners and mentors.”
When it comes to doing business in South Africa, Louw harbours mixed feelings. The landscape for entrepreneurs is rocky from a political and economic point of view, often killing off startups before they’ve had a fair chance to form. “The current economic climate makes it very difficult for new ventures to successfully get off the ground. Big amounts of capital outflow from SA makes cash flow tough for all businesses,” he says. “The failure rates among new ventures are staggering and there are many challenges that an entrepreneur needs to overcome if they are to survive and then thrive in the local market.”
Even so, there remains a bright light at the end of the tunnel for those who are willing to persevere. “For the go-getter entrepreneur, support, mentorship, capital and many other resources can be amassed to build something special in South Africa,” says Louw. “Starting up in South Africa with an eye on the global market also makes for a resilient and exciting business model.”
Innovation is a critical component to this resilience and is something OCFO has successfully weaved into its business philosophy. “At OCFO, innovation is a part of who we are; it’s in our DNA. It is also included among our seven core company values and forms the base from which every function of the company runs,” Louw says. “For us, innovation means pushing the boundaries of what can be done in your industry — and that is what our company continuously strive to do.”
Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.