Deloitte SA Blog


5 key strategies to successfully implement project portfolio management

project portfolio management

Dr Clive Enoch of Deloitte Consulting has written an article which identifies 5 key strategies to successfully implement project portfolio management.

Project Portfolio Management – Strategies for successful implementation

Organisations continuously face the challenge of meeting the demand of doing more with limited resources. Increasingly, organisations have to get their products even quicker to market, and must be able to adapt quickly to changing environmental and legislative needs and requirements.

Management by projects has been marketed in industry as the key towards meeting these challenges, or at least help in bringing about some structure in the way work is managed in an organisation; however, projects themselves do not provide the complete solution.

While projects focus on delivering work in a focused and disciplined manner, the ability for organisations to choose the right projects in the first place will help them go a long way in maximising their resources on investments that will bring the most benefit.

Click here to download the article

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion, feel free to contact Dr Clive Enoch at

The ins and outs of business rescue through the lens of the construction industry downturn


by Wanya du Preez (Deloitte) and Trevor Murgatroyd (Nimble Group)

  1. Introduction

In recent times, a spate of local construction companies has been featured in the news due to financial pressures. Due to the slow rate of fixed investment and many construction companies experiencing financial difficulties, one is led to believe that the industry is in distress and that many companies face the possibility of financial collapse.

Construction companies globally have been affected by the global financial recession, however due to the fact that South Africa was hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, government spending contributed to infrastructure development probably being at its highest leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Following the World Cup, the effects of the global recession and reduced government spending on infrastructure development filtered through to the construction industry.

When a construction company underperforms, it is not only the company itself that is in distress, but the ripple effect is also felt by the ecosystem that is served by the company. This includes all the smaller local suppliers to the industry and the more than 1 204 000 (according to Stats SA) people being directly employed by the construction industry.

In the recent Deloitte Restructuring Outlook Survey 2014, Construction was listed as one of the top 3 industries predicted to be in distress in 2014.

In the past, companies in financial distress faced liquidation or judicial management, with little likelihood of survival and/or recovery for such companies. However, the new Companies Act (Act Number 71 of 2008) came into effect on 1 May 2011, which includes a chapter on business rescue, Chapter 6. This provides a potential solution and help to companies in financial distress. This entails a company filing for business rescue and with the help of a Business Rescue Practitioner (“BRP”) returns the company to a profitable and/or sustainable operating position, if identified early enough.

  1. Overview of the current state of the construction industry

Since the introduction of the Act in May 2011, a number of sizeable construction companies have commenced business rescue proceedings. The success rate of these business rescues remains disappointing, rendering the question whether the objectives of business rescue has assisted the construction industry to protect their businesses or alternatively whether it has provided a better return to their creditors by not filing for liquidation immediately.

One of the prominent cases to date has been the business rescue of Sanyati Holdings. Sanyati Holdings and its wholly owned subsidiary Sanyati Civil Engineering and Construction filed for business rescue in June 2012. One of the contributing factors to their financial distress was long outstanding payments from provincial governments totalling approximately R79 million. In July 2012, the operating company was liquidated due to the lack of post commencement finance to continue operating and continued to incur substantial losses. Unfortunately, in excess of 2,000 jobs were lost as a result of the liquidation.

Subsequently, a host of other construction companies have filed for business rescue. These include Civcon (including Erbacon) who filed for business rescue on 20 June 2013. Fortunately, on 15 November 2013, they announced that they have terminated business rescue as the approved plan had been substantially implemented and that 772 jobs were saved.

Others include Rainbow Construction (filed September 2012), Stedone Group of Companies (filed April 2013), Cosira (filed in July 2013), and hot off the press, Protech Khutele (filed for business rescue in the first week of June 2014). Business rescue for Stedone is ongoing and proving to be problematic, while Cosira was subsequently liquidated. This is an indication of the level of distress in the industry.

  1. Reasons for distress in the industry being  

One of the key ways to avoid the failures and liquidations experienced in the industry is to understand the reasons why companies in the construction industry become distressed. Following this, plans can be put in place early enough to ensure the company’s return to financial health.

As with most other companies in distress, cash constraints are often the number one signal that a business is in financial distress, signalling that action is required to bring the business back on course.

However, if key stakeholders of the business are on the lookout for some of the early warning signs, there is still time to save the business. Some of these signs include:

  • Poor quality, insufficient or “layered” management information that loses key messages between the site and the Board
  • Consistent underperformance and failure of management to address below target divisional performance
  • Operating profit not translating into cash
  • An over-recognition of contract revenue and expenses not being matched to the appropriate period
  • Management incentives focused on P&L performance, rather than cash flow
  • Market rumours around project performance and supply chain payment complaints
  • Increasing advance payment requests from the supply chain
  • Signs of key clients making significant reduction in supplier numbers
  • Evidence of reputational damage emerging from press coverage
  • Reducing staff numbers across management and delivery functions
  • Increasing numbers of claims (for or against the business)

Contractors and other key stakeholders face increased financial and operational risks if mitigating controls are not implemented to counter the effects of deteriorating market conditions.

If financial distress is identified early, then business rescue is an ideal tool for a business to restructure itself under the protection of a legal moratorium.

  1. Options for construction companies and their suppliers 

If you suspect that a construction company may be in financial distress, these top 10 questions should be asked of the management teams to determine the extent thereof:

  • Is there confidence that commercial and financial reporting and controls are providing an accurate reflection of the business and not masking the true financial position?
  • Are formal guidelines in place and are they adhered to for the recognition of turnover, costs and profit.
  • What proportion of revenue is derived from government contracts and is the forward order book realistic and reflective of the impact of public sector cuts?
  • Are forecasts being stretched, based on expectations that a contract will always turn the corner?
  • Are realistic margins being secured against new contracts and will they deliver sustainable and long term financial performance?
  • What is the business doing to diversify and counter its exposure to public sector cuts, and are delivery and contractual risks of pursuing a diversified strategy fully understood?
  • Are trade insurers continuing to support the business, or are there reduced credit facilities and increasing demands for advanced payments?
  • How will the business address demands for renegotiating long term contracts and what can it do to minimise this potential impact?
  • What has been done to reduce overheads and “right-size” the business for future operations?
  • Does the business have strategies in place for the immediate mitigation of reputational damage?

If a party has concerns as to the financial situation of a construction company, they are advised to take action and challenge management around how they plan to address the current market pressures.

In order to maintain good health of the company, the most significant issue for management is the need to balance short term cash requirements with the security of long term and sustainable turnover.

  1. The silver lining: Africa 

On the positive side, the infrastructure development boom across Africa has attracted investment spend totalling US$ 222.7 billion on a total of 322 projects. Currently, the top sectors, rated by investment value, are energy and power (36%), transport (25%), mining, real estate and water, followed by oil and gas.

Africa, and indeed the world, is hard at work building, modernising and strengthening the African infrastructure, which will lead to greater African self-sufficiency and global competitiveness.

New energy generation hubs are being forged, transport and logistics corridors are being built and basic social infrastructure is being invested in. Telecommunications connections are being strengthened and development is now starting to touch the commercial property sector on the continent. 

  1. Conclusion

In order to increase the chances of success of business rescue for construction companies it is important that the distress is identified before it is too late. The turnaround of a construction company in a business rescue would typically depend on a white knight and/or a cash injection, failing which a turnaround will be extremely challenging with many obstacles.

Management should be alert to the potential distress in the business earlier and not wait until it is too late and the business has run out of cash. Business rescue proceedings should commence when there is still cash available for the operations to continue. Ideally a pre-packaged business rescue plan should be attempted. Once a company has identified that it is experiencing financial difficulties, steps should be taken to endeavour to secure an investor and/or additional funding, which may even be conditional upon approval of a business rescue plan. Although the business rescue practitioner will apply his/her own mind to the process, a pre-packaged option is more likely to succeed.

In order to improve the likelihood of a business rescue succeeding, the following aspects are important:

  • Management should identify the financial distress and commence business rescue proceedings before it is too late;
  • The choice of business rescue practitioner has a bearing on the success and should be a person with a good reputation and an understanding of and experience in negotiating with larger creditors, often the banks; and
  • The business rescue practitioner should be supported by a competent and reputable financial advisory and legal firm.

Transforming the construction industry and with it, the country, is seen by the industry as a business imperative. Business rescue is a potential solution to this.


Chapter 6, Companies Act

Deloitte Restructuring Outlook Survey 2014

Deloitte publication: Construction Lending-Handle with Care June 2011

Deloitte publication: Construction Industry Outlook November 2011

Deloitte publication: African Construction Trends Report 2013

Statistics SA March 2014

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion relating to business rescue, contact Wanya du Preez at   


What is your duty as a Director?

duties of directors

The Deloitte Centre for Corporate Governance has produced three articles which may interest you. Introductions and links to the articles have been provided below.

Duties of Directors

The Companies Act codifies the standard of directors’ conduct. The standard sets the bar high for directors, with personal liability where the company suffers loss or damage as a result of the director’s conduct not meeting the prescribed standard. It is important to take note of the requirements of the Companies Act, King III and the JSE that relate to directors and prescribed officers, and to ensure that all directors and prescribed officers are aware of the implication and potential consequences of non-compliance with the Act.

Click here to download Duties of Directors

Audit Committee Resource Guide

The Audit Committee Resource Guide provides insight into the leading practices for Audit Committees. The guide can be used to help assess Audit Committee practices, discuss agendas and other considerations, and provides useful tools to facilitate the work of the committee.

Click here to download the Audit Committee Resource Guide

Risk Committee Resource Guide

The Risk Committee Resource Guide aims to assist board members of companies in designing, developing, and operating a risk committee. In terms of the King III, it is recommended that the board should assign oversight of the company’s risk management function to a risk committee. The guide provides insight into the leading practices for risk committees. It can be used to help assess risk committee practices and to discuss agendas and other considerations.

Click here to download the Risk Committee Resource Guide

The Deloitte Centre for Corporate Governance offers a collection of resources for executives, directors, and those who are active in governance, and can be visited at

How to earn trust to initiate offline engagement using B2B online marketing

BHKXXE Businessmen signing up a contract

In my article titled What you should be doing online to attract new business opportunities, one of the points I raise relates to building trust with prospective clients. People ask for advice or make purchasing decisions from trusted advisors, and trust has to be earned and takes time to develop. Once trust is lost, it is exceedingly difficult to regain, if at all.

A good comparison that I will use for the purpose of this article is that of the dating game. I have listed five stages in a human relationship and equated these with B2B online marketing, in order to demonstrate how you gain trust by treating prospective clients as you would your first date, and your ongoing relationship thereafter.

1. The introduction

Introductions are generally facilitated by mutually known friends, colleagues or family members. In most cases, the introducer knows you well. This generally occurs in business too. A client, colleague or business partner who can vouch for your honesty, credibility and trustworthiness will introduce you to prospective clients without prompting or upon your request. If trust has not been earned, there is little or no chance of this happening.

2. The first date

The first date either makes or breaks a potential relationship. There are many determining factors which include similar interests, shared values and the all important “chemistry”. When asked what is important most people do not talk about looks. They want the person to be themselves (i.e. genuine), they should display an interest in the other person and they should make the other person laugh.

When we equate dating with online marketing, you should focus your efforts on “being genuine” with no hidden agenda, display an understanding and interest in the potential client’s industry and the typical business challenges they have to deal with. I suggest that you DO NOT talk about yourself in terms of your company’s products, services and solutions. This information should be available on your website and the prospect will have a look at this information when the time is right.

3. Subsequent dates

If you follow the rules there is a good chance that there will be a second, third and fourth date and your relationship will grow and strengthen. During this process you are getting to know each other more and more which will result in a mutual knowledge of each other’s good points and flaws. Generally compromise and understanding comes into play because no-one is perfect. If at any point trust is broken, this could end the relationship for good.

To get the second (and subsequent) dates, B2B online marketers have to present the potential client with a compelling reason to continue the relationship. This is best achieved by generating value-adding, interesting, compelling business-related content which the prospect will have access to through an email or blog subscription or engagement and interaction on social media.

4. The proposal

If all goes well with your dating, at some point, the question of a more permanent arrangement will be initiated. The process normally involves “going steady” followed by a marriage proposal. This will either be accepted or rejected.

B2B online marketing, if executed properly, is an ideal way to build credibility and trust over time, and in so doing, you will be seen as a trusted advisor who will stay “top of mind” through continuous value-adding online interaction. If the content and interaction with prospective clients resonates with them, there is a good chance they will contact you should they require assistance or advice and request a proposal. If you are using the appropriate tools to monitor online interaction, you will be able to identify individuals who are consuming your content and you can request a meeting.

5. The wedding

The wedding or close may take place online or offline, depending on whether you are selling products, services and solutions online or not. This article is aimed at companies that sell professional services, products and solutions that are not sold online. You can build a certain level of credibility and trust online using B2B online marketing however the relationship needs to be taken offline in order to meet your prospective client face-to-face.

If you use B2B online marketing effectively, this will assist you in initiating offline engagement. The plus factor is that when you have the first offline meeting, credibility and trust has been developed already.


B2B online marketing can be a very effective tool to build credibility, stay top of mind with prospective clients and to initiate offline engagement, if executed correctly. Remember that you are interacting with human beings with whom you need to develop a relationship and an emotional connection. Remember to be genuine, share content regularly that resonates with the prospect, do not talk about yourself and be patient.

This article was written by David Graham, Digital Engagement Leader at Deloitte Digital

David is a thought leader in the Business to Business (B2B) digital marketing, relationship marketing and content marketing space and is the “go-to” person at Deloitte Digital for businesses who wish to connect, interact and influence business decision makers online, in order to initiate offline engagement. David has more than 20 years in sales and marketing roles at leading global software and management consulting organisations, engaging with executive decision makers and providing them with solutions to business challenges.

If you would like to have a more detailed B2B online marketing discussion with David Graham, connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter or email at

Follow Deloitte Digital on Twitter or visit the Deloitte Digital website to get a taste of how Deloitte Digital can help digitise your brand

Data Analytics Trends for 2014

analytics trendsFew areas of business today are changing faster than analytics. From big data and visualisation to predictive modelling and more, analytics represents a rapidly evolving world of technologies and tools that few have time to keep up with. Which trends really matter and which will prove short-lived, which are hype and which will deliver tangible, timely business value?

For all the uncertainty in the field, business leaders still have to make decisions and choices about the future.

The trends highlighted in the report are:

  • The rise of the Chief Analytics Officers: A few years ago there was no Chief Analytics Officers (CAOs). Today there are many in the tens. With the e-commerce on the rise, organisations have created these roles. How does this help oganisations succeed?
  • Machine Learning find a big data niche: Deep automation is still in the pre-Henry Ford stage, but the concept is likely to take off just as fast as conventional manufacturing did
  • A picture is worth a thousand numbers: General movement toward management wanting greater involvement with analytics and data driven decision making – visualisation is a key enabler.
  • Data products run amok: Almost every offering from Google to LinkedIn is a data product. These offerings have led to considerable gain in customers and retention levels.  This can turbo-charge your business—or your competitor’s
  • Is the enterprise data warehouse dead? More companies are now able to gather data from their operations, analyse it, and make it all available to customers. The rise of “in-database analytics” has made EDWs even more popular.
  • Data discovery platforms: The new R&D lab? Discovery is essential in science-based research, development, and product innovation. But it’s no longer restricted to the lab. Increasingly, discovery focuses on data management and analytics. Leading organisations are adopting data discovery platforms—technology environments that make big data manipulation relatively easy and inexpensive.
  • Analytics drives entertainment: Analytics prospered first in well-structured domains like pricing and supply chain optimisation. Next came marketing organisations, where data and statistics found a place alongside creative content. Now one of the last bastions of pure creativity—the entertainment industry—has begun to explore the ways analytics can help human judgment determine which movies, television programs, plays, and books customers want.

Is your management reporting supplying the information you need to make decisions?

management reporting

This article compares management reporting with that of a relationship and provides valuable insights to assist you to derive more value from your management reporting.

Communication by management reporting

You are now undoubtedly wondering what a relationship and management reporting have in common. Quite a lot, actually! Management reporting can be used in your company as a tool for communicating a message to a large number of recipients aimed at encouraging action.

In communication through management reports, just as much can go wrong as in a conversation between partners – people talk at cross purposes, words are not followed by action, key topics are not addressed or people simply don’t formulate what they are trying to say in a comprehensible manner.

If you correctly use management reporting as a communication tool, you can exercise considerable influence over the management and success of your company.

Reporting is a vital instrument for measuring the degree of target achievement and gives important indications about how your business strategy should be implemented. It is crucial that you use your reporting as a means of communication effectively and efficiently.

However, if you have the impression that your management reporting is unable to meet the complex need for information in your company, then – like in a relationship – it is high time to talk.

Click here to download the article

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion on your organisation’s management reporting requirmments, contact Carryn Tennent at

Africa could attract more international investment by boosting efforts to combat financial crime


African nations, including the continent’s largest economies of Nigeria and South Africa, can boost international investor sentiment towards their markets by ramping up efforts to combat financial crime such as money laundering, fraud, insider trading, terrorist financing, market abuse and general bribery and corruption.

Financial crime will inevitably migrate to countries where the implementation of anti-money laundering regulations is perhaps lagging behind the rate at which their markets are developing. As the risk of financial crime increases so too does the level of regulatory scrutiny, so it is in the interests of both companies and countries to continually improve their efforts to combat such criminality.

Corporate and government entities should tackle financial crime in an integrated manner. They need to ensure that they partner with the right strategic partners in order to build an effective deterrent to financial criminality. Financial institutions in particular need to ensure that they have the proper systems, processes and procedures in place to combat financial crime in a cost-effective and sustainable manner that offers both them and their customers a suitable degree of protection.

It is essential that companies operating in Africa learn from the experience of their international counterparts by migrating from a rules-based approach to financial risk and compliance, towards a risk-based approach that takes a more selective approach towards client risk assessment. The risk-based approach embraces the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines to prevent an organisation from falling foul of money laundering activity. The risk-based approach is essentially augmenting a company’s internal rules and compliance processes with an element of common sense towards the assessment of customer risk and the level of scrutiny then applied to that customer.

Companies can do this by taking into account risk factors elements such as:

  1. Geography e.g. private companies headquartered in offshore tax havens generally require far more scrutiny than publically-traded companies, which typically undergo far more public scrutiny in their day to day operations.
  2. Inherent Customer Risk e.g. companies that hide behind layers of legal and jurisdictional complexity are more likely to be trying to hide something.
  3. Distribution channels e.g. companies that distribute their goods or services on a face-to-face basis are more likely to be open and transparent than those that do so at arm’s length.
  4. Industrye.g. companies that distribute high risk products associated with terrorism, bribery and corruption such as arms may require extra levels of financial scrutiny.

The landscape of financial crime is dynamic and ever-changing, so an efficient and effective risk-based approach needs to evolve constantly in order to act as an adequate deterrent. Further more, one should not underestimate the role of technology and advanced systems that enable intelligent checks for weighing economic, political and criminal risk indicators to enable a country to radically improve its anti-money laundering capabilities. This can result in countries becoming a lot more attractive to international investors.

Visit the Deloitte website for more on financial crime

Failure to develop leaders is one of the biggest threats to global business growth

Leadership image

Deloitte ran a global human capital survey in October 2013 in which 266 South African organisations across all industries participated. Based on the results from the survey, Deloitte has published a Human Capital Trends report for South Africa. This communication introduces the first trend which is Leadership.

Leadership remains the number one talent issue facing organisations globally, with 89% of South African respondents rating the trend as urgent and important.

The challenge is to develop leadership pipelines that are global, broad and deep, reaching to every level of the organisation.

Click here for a summary of the highest ranking trend in South Africa which is Leadership

Click here to download the Global Human Capital Trends Report for South Africa

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion on your organisation’s leadership development requirements, contact Werner Nieuwoudt at


What does Protection of Personal Information legislation mean to Enterprise Mobility?


Recently South Africa passed new legislation, whereby companies are accountable to provide governance over the protection of personal information; both company and employee related. This legislation is known as the Protection of Personal Information Act, or PPI. The PPI (Protection of Personal Information) Act, refers to the Data Life Cycle, providing rules and guidance for the following “states” of information within this life cycle: collection or creation of data; processing, marketing and cross border transfers; purpose specifications; further processing; retention requirements; destruction or archiving.

With the increasing growth and expansion of technology in our world today, many boundaries are being broken down and distance becomes irrelevant in the world of data and information systems. The cyber highways contain a wealth of information that travels round the globe in an instant. Current news articles are read seconds after they are published digitally and this form information is part of our daily lives.

Today email on a smartphone or tablet is a “must have” and employee’s can submit leave requests, claim expenses or access internal systems while on the move or while sitting at the airport waiting to catch a business flight. The problem with such vast amounts of information scattered round lead to the question “How do I ensure that my company and personal information is adequately safeguarded.

With the advent of mobile devices; laptops, smart phones and tablets, providing this information any where, any time, has a significant impact on personal information governance. From an enterprise mobility perspective, the picture looks like a piece of Swiss cheese, full of holes. They posed great risk in this information marathon to become PPI compliant.

In the event of an information “breach” companies must be confident in answering the following question, “What was done to protect this personal and company information?”

Click here to download the full article

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion relating to topics raised in this article, feel free to contact Marc Rossmann at

Deloitte releases the 2014 Human Capital Trends report for South Africa

Human Capital Trends 2014

We are pleased to release the 2014 Human Capital Trends report for South Africa. This report is a country-based summary and should be read in conjunction with the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014 report, which provides an extensive breakdown and interpretation of the findings of our 2014 Global Deloitte Human Capital Trends Survey.

This year, we had a record response from our clients in South Africa to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends Survey, with 266 respondents. This makes it a very valid reflection of how these trends are affecting South African businesses across the industry spectrum.

In addition, we have surveyed a number of other countries on the African continent. A survey for Africa incorporating the responses from these countries will be released later this year and will be available on our website. This will provide an ideal addition for those clients of ours who are active on the African continent and for whom people issues are top of mind.

Our Global Human Capital Trends 2014 survey is one of the largest organisation development, human-resource and talent-management surveys of its kind, with 94 countries participating this year. Against the items surveyed, it is clear that most global organisations are grappling with the same people issues and in many cases are not fully prepared to deal with these major trends that are reshaping the workforce.

In this report, which is aimed at the South African market, we highlight the five trends that we believe should be top of the agenda for executives and human resource teams in respect of finding, retaining, leading and developing their people over the next few years.

From the 12 trends identified in the Deloitte survey, three strategic focus areas or themes have emerged:

  • Lead and develop
  • Attract and engage
  • Transform and reinvent

South African respondents recognised the following top five trends in terms of the importance index:

  • Leadership (77%)
  • Retention and Engagement (71%)
  • Diversity and Inclusion (70%)
  • Workforce Capability (70%)
  • Talent Acquisition and Access (69%)

Despite these being the most urgent trends, many of the companies surveyed expressed reservations about their ability to address these issues in the short-to-medium term.

The 2014 human capital trends demand change, investment and focus if companies in South Africa want to effectively compete both as employers of choice and as competitive businesses in a human-resource-constrained market. We trust that this report, along with the 2014 Global Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, will serve as a useful guide for strategic human capital management in the coming year. Please feel free to contact us to discuss the reports in more detail. We would be delighted to assist you and your teams.

We look forward to engaging with you around the findings and to helping to unpack their implications for your human capital, HR and talent management decisions.

Click here to download Deloitte 2014 Human Capital Trends report for South Africa

If you have any questions, require more information or would like a more detailed discussion relating to the findings in the report, feel free to contact Werner Nieuwoudt (Human Capital Leader, Southern and Western Africa) at


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