Riaan Viviers is the Head of Finance at Arysta LifeScience South Africa (Pty) Ltd. He specialises in General Financial Management.

A Day in the Life of a CEO

An average day

Riaan holds meetings with the finance team around planning for audits, monthends, cashflows, profits, etc.  He does simulations and negotiations around businesses that are being sold and bought.  Also included in his list of tasks are making financing arrangements, analysing monthend and yearend numbers, authorising and guiding stock variances, initiating changes to ERP systems and the taxation of the company.


Riaan studied an Honours Degree in Cost and management accounting, and is studying towards his MComm in Computer Auditing. He is registered as a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) – March 1999.

 Journey to success

He started with his studies, did articles and then started working as an accountant, Financial Manager, Group Financial Manager.  He is currently busy with HDip in Tax in order to specialise in Taxation.
He did not plan to be in Durban, but had to choose a few years ago between having a healthier way of life in Durban with less career oppurtunities and more career oppurtunities in Gauteng.  He chose the first option as he had to consider his daughter’s future and the way that she grows up too.

Preparing and qualifying for this job

Riaan originally started working as a Financial Manager after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. Through obtaining years of experience, he reached the role of Head of Finances.

Personality Profile to match

This role definitely requires an analytical person with a driver background.  Introversion will not disqualify one for the position, nor will extroversion.  You need to have a sound mind, self control, be a team player, be assertive and be analytical and hardworking.

Advice to the ambitious

If you intend to become a Chartered Accountant, specialise in banking or tax, alternatively to an MBA.

Challenges to face head on

Coordinating supply chain in finance in the company is quite challenging.  Different departmental cultures makes it challenging too.  The standard costing system is quite complex as well. 

Show me the money!

In Durban this position pays around R900k per annum, whereas in Johannesburg the same position would pay around R1,5m per annum.

Years to reach this level

15 years (working an average of 10 hours per day).

In conclusion

Everything about this role is exciting and challenging, but being in control of the numbers gives you a competitive edge above other departmental heads.

About The Author

Leoni Viljoen earned a Certificate in Cobol Programming, SAP Implementation and SAP Business One Development. She is Targeted Selection certified and an affiliate of APSO. Her background includes 6 years programming experience. She has also worked on SAP Business One Implementations and developed SAP Add on Products for ISB Global. With her strong interpersonal, communication and analytical skills, she has a proven track record in building small company client databases, circulating newsletters and keeping the company brand visible. Her experience include marketing through social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), internet, advertising and campaigns. You can connect to her on LinkedIn.


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