BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

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.”


Louw’s 3-pronged approach to innovation at OCFO 

People
A company’s ability to scale depends on its ability to attract and grow enough leaders who can anticipate and delegate well. Our people function is built on innovative mentorship and leadership programmes (both personal and technical), guerrilla marketing-style recruitment, continuous training and massive investments into company culture and vision casting. Every employee at OCFO has innovation on their KPI list, which compounds into high levels of innovation in each function of the company. 

Tech
Technology is enabling us to do more faster and better. We continuously seek out new ways to integrate the latest technologies to create cutting-edge solutions for our clients. Tech innovation is a cornerstone of what we offer to the market and also a core focus of our internal operations. 

Marketing
We push the boundaries of how a financial  services firm markets to clients. We have some of the most engaging social media platforms  in our industry and arguably the best video strategy of its kind. We reach tens of thousands of founders every month, with hundreds of hours of video content being consumed by our target audience. Using the latest channels to communicate our story, along with our value proposition, an increasing amount of new conversations are constantly being created and shared online.