Roelf van der Laan is currently employed at Barloworld Power as a Financial Director. He is a Finance Expert that studied to be a Chartered Accountant.

An average day

A Day in the Life of a Financial Director

An average day for Roelf consists of attending meetings, assisting staff with job related issues and supporting the Business Unit mangers with company specifics such as structuring deals, debtors issues, cost savings, budgets and many other general issues.

Journey to success

After matriculating, I attended the University of Stellenbosch to study a Bcom Accounting degree. I then went to the University of Pretoria to study a B Comm honors, after completing my honors I completed a certificate in Theory of Accounting (CTA) at UNISA and then wrote the SAICA Board Exam which I passed. I had to complete a three year article at an Auditors firm which enabled be to obtain my CA(SA) registration. This was a journey of 7 years.

I completed my articles at Den Boer and van der Laan (both of my parent’s family members firm) as an articles clerk, after three years I worked as an Audit Manager for a further three years. After that I decided to join the corporate world and joined the Barloworld Group in 1996 (known as Barlows at that time). I joined one of their divisions called Barloworld Equipment in Middelburg as an Accountant.

Personality Profile to match

A Problem solver (can be extrovert or somewhat extrovert but a confident person in his capabilities) and someone that can handle stress.

For this job you need to be able to work under a lot of pressure as all your colleagues look at you for advise. To get this qualification you need to be prepared to work and study hard and overcome disappointments.

Challenges to face head on

Someone that likes attention to detail, working in a structured environment, someone that can see the bigger picture, an analytical person and team player and someone that likes to solve problems.

The biggest challenge is to be on top of your game as the auditors, internal and external look over your company’s results, your bosses expect returns and your colleagues look to you for sound advice.

Did you plan to reach your position?

No, not really. My parents guided me into this direction. With how they prepared me by being self sufficient in creating my future without them pushing me assisted me in being able to complete my studies after leaving home without dropping out of University and completing my many careers. Also one DNA makes up of what you like to do, like for me being successful, drove me to be successful and success breeds further success.

Years to reach this level

I am 17 years with the Barloworld group and it took me 12 years to reach this level.

Average working day

I leave home around 6am (driving 45min to work), work till 5/6pm and then drive home again, call that a 12 hour a day.

The Environment

I am involved in all areas of the business (no one knows as much as the FD) which enables me to offer good solutions across functional business areas. I also like being involved in developing solutions for clients whereby we win through sales and the client wins through buying what he requires (with my analytical abilities and experience through studies and being in the business) , I can develop a solution for a client.

In Closing

Working hard and being on top of your game will bring success.

About The Author

Yolande Wissing has an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management. Her career started in the Hospitality sector as a Front Court & Banqueting Manager. She then spent 2 years at @lantic in Events Coordination and Marketing where she won Top Performer award for Marketing in 2010 and 2012. You can connect to her on LinkedIn.


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