Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces winning the Best Finance Team of the Year award for 2016 at the annual MENA CFO Excellence Awards held in Dubai on Monday 7 November 2016. The event is organized by the international business facilitation experts Naseba Group and the honor is bestowed on a finance team who played an instrumental role in contributing to the success of their organization.
In presenting the award, the Naseba judging panel stated that the Zain finance team, “Demonstrated a transparent and proactive approach to balancing time between managing a large amount of data and information requirements with business analysis, as well as delivering timely financial information and proposing innovative solutions to overcome existing challenges, bolstering the company’s transformation strategy to become a digital lifestyle operator.”
The role of finance at Zain Group is constantly evolving and the team is comprised of professionals who possess a transformational outlook and display an enthusiasm and curiosity to push boundaries and challenge conventions, delivering phenomenal results. Zain Group’s finance team has excelled at all the activities it undertakes, with the department’s prime focus having remained satisfying customer needs through helping all stakeholders within the organization to achieve strategic goals while managing risk and maintaining oversight regarding compliance requirements.
Appreciative of Naseba’s acknowledgment, Zain Group Chief Financial Officer, Ossama Matta said, “This is a highly skilled area of activity and we have some of the best talent working with us, which is a significant competitive advantage in ensuring the future prosperity and sustainability of the company. Utilizing and leveraging cloud-based innovative solutions across key finance and accounting processes, the Group finance team is playing a vital role across all facets of the organization in driving the implementation of the Group’s growth strategy and transformation to a digital lifestyle operator.
Matta added, “We have made “driving efficiency and cost optimization” one of our key strategic pillars and over the past 12 months these efforts are paying off as reflected in our year-to-date financial results, outperforming our peers across the region. The finance team is constantly innovating and adding strategic value to the organization by turning data and information into the insightful analysis, which assists colleagues across Zain Group and its eight-country operations in planning, strategy, and decision-making.”
Over the past year, the Zain Group finance team has passionately undertaken a range of responsibilities that the judges at Naseba identified as requiring significant skill, and these included the team having implemented and fully leveraging the latest cloud-based solutions (thus reducing the cost and time needed to deploy new finance tools) across key finance and accounting processes to support the performance agenda of all eight mobile operations. The finance team improved the control and visibility of data while being given the opportunity to focus energy on enhancing business intelligence, developing more accurate forecasts, and tightening internal controls to assure accurate financial reporting and proper compliance.
The team has also delivered specialist tax services in response to the changing dynamics of taxes in the region and has undergone intensive upskilling to cope with the many new tax regime changes.
Zain Group’s strategy to improve efficiencies has seen the finance team execute on a number of transactions in the last 12 months, securing or renewing credit facilities on more favorable terms across the Group to fund 4G network upgrades and expansion across Zain’s operations, reflecting the continuous nature of the treasury team seeking more competitive arrangements. In addition, the team has managed to cope with fluctuating currency impacts and cash-flow challenges in several key markets.
Of note is the Group Finance Team’s Investor Relations arm which has over the years been recognized for aptly managing shareholder and investor expectations, providing transparent, prompt and detailed reporting to all stakeholders and regulatory authorities in line with Corporate Governance guidelines.
Matta concluded by saying, “I can proudly say that Zain is at the forefront of strategic transformation in Finance in the Telecom industry and beyond in the region. The team is evolving to become even more proficient, allowing the formation of more strategic partnerships within the broader organization.”