Interview with Grant Robson of The Finance Team.
Q: Grant. You’re an absolute legend for sponsoring an all-women’s team for one of the toughest still water fly-fishing festivals in SA, what inspired your decision to do so?
A: I have been a fisherman for as long as I can remember but only started fly fishing at the age of 28 which is just over 20 years ago. It was my girlfriend at the time who actually introduced me to Fly Fishing at Millstream. She was an accomplished fly fisher in her own right. Back then it was not that common to see woman fishing / fly fishing but that has certainly changed over the past 20 years. I still think a lot can and should be done to encourage and develop woman in this fantastic sport. Of all the different facets of fishing, fly fishing is probably the best suited to woman for a number of reasons. I would not be surprised if a woman was to become the overall world champion in years to come. Fishing is a fantastic sport that the whole family can participate in. The bonds that I have seen forged between fathers and children through fly fishing has been a joy to behold and I think its high time that mothers get in on the act. There is no better way to spend quality time with your children than on some beautiful lake or stream surrounded by scenery that takes your breath away.
While the Corporate Challenge is very competitive, we feel that the WIW team is equally competitive and as competent as any of their male counterparts and we are confident that they will make the finals of this prestigious event and hopefully place in the top 10. We hope that this team of ladies goes on to inspire a new generation of female fly fishers. For us, this was enough inspiration to sponsor WIW at this year’s Corporate Challenge and hopefully many more to come.
Q: I understand you fish yourself & your team did an (expected) impressive job of placing in your leg of the Tops Corporate Challenge last year. Where did the love for fishing begin with you?
A: As mentioned above I have been in love with fishing generally for as long as I can remember. I fondly remember a 3 week Christmas holiday at the Clansthal caravan park on the south coast when I was 5, where I literally spent 12 hours a day on the rocks with my newly acquired Christmas present catching small fish and just absolutely loving life. I had to be dragged off those rocks every evening and was back on them the next day at first light. I still get those feelings today as I head out in the early morning and feel the adrenalin surging through my veins and hearing my heart beat thumping in my ears in the quiet of the early morning. It’s something that is difficult to explain to somebody who has no interest in fishing or has yet to feel the rush of that moment when a fish hits your fly. Priceless!!
Looking back further than that, I would say that I probably got the fishing bug from my Mother. At 79 she still takes every opportunity she can to watch me fish from the banks or on the boat and jumps at the chance to retrieve a fly that I have cast for her. She recently landed 7 beautiful rainbows from a lake at Trout Hideaway near Lydenburg. I have no doubt that given the opportunity to go back and do it all again she would have made a fantastic angler but things were different back then.
Q: We’re excited to add a little colour to our gear this year in the form of the TFT logo. Why the blue, pink & green?
A: Great Question. The simple answer is that we just wanted something that was a bit different that stood out from the pack. As a consultancy mainly consisting of Chartered Accountants I think most people were expecting a dull, boring, black and white, “professional” looking logo. We wanted colours that really stood out and grabbed ones attention.
Q: Can you tell us a little (a lot) more about what it is you do. What can The Finance Team do for us?
A: The Finance Team is a professional consultancy that specialises in the provision of part time and interim financial managers and CFO’s. We exclusively retain the services of highly trained and experienced individuals and supply these critical skills to clients that don’t want, need or can’t afford a similar resource on a full time basis. Our clients include SME’s that lack the above mentioned skills as well as larger listed companies that require these skills on an interim basis to complete ad hoc projects and to “hold the fort” during times of temporary absence. Our Associates all have no less than 15 years’ experience and are hand-picked by us to represent our brand and deliver the level of service our clients demand. The majority of our Associates are semi-retired individuals and individuals that are not primary bread winners that have made certain lifestyle choices that merge well with the unique solution that we provide.
Q: You are frequently travelling for work, but where is TFT situated and how can people best get a hold of you?
A: Our Head Office is in Bryanston (Johannesburg) but we also have offices in Durban (Umhlanga) and Cape Town (V+A Waterfront). We have a team of 35 Associates at present with the largest team obviously based in Johannesburg. I can be contacted directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can obtain more information from our website at thefinanceteam.co.za.
Q: How many years have you been in the biz (business)? And what do you feel has been your greatest working achievement?
A: Richard (My Business Partner) and I are both qualified Chartered Accountants and we have both been in this industry for 10 years. We started The Finance Team in 2013 and are in our 7th year of business as The Finance Team. I don’t think that either of us can pin point one specific achievement to date but I think I speak for both of us when I say that the one thing that we love about what we do is making such a big difference to the clients that we get involved with. Most Entrepreneurs are brilliant at conceptualising, strategizing and selling but fall short when it comes to the administration, financial control and details that comes with running a successful company. This is where we step in. We put the financial science behind the Entrepreneurs’ gut feel and support the business while he / she gets on with what they are good at.
Q: Give us the 411 on the year TFT won the TCC. We have pretty big shoes to fill 😉
A: The Finance Team has entered a team in the Tops Corporate Challenge since 2014 so this will be our 6th event. What makes this one special is that this year it is an all-female team which we are just thrilled about. We have made the finals in all 5 previous events and have placed 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th in previous tournaments. NO PRESSURE LADIES. We actually won the event on the very first attempt which was a massive surprise for all involved including the organisers from Wild Fly. To be honest we were lucky enough to have Wayne Stegen in our final team that year as one of our team members could not make the final. Wayne was instrumental in our win and his knowledge and experience of the local waters was a game changer for our team who were fishing the area for the first time. For those who don’t know this, Wayne’s Wife (Roxy) and Sister (Bridgitte) are 2 of the members of this WIW / TFT team. I hope that Wayne has been giving some pointers and tying some expert flies for the tournament.
Q: So, not only are you not fishing this year but you are also making a come-back as our ghillie 😉. Are you ready for the job?
A: Absolutely ready for the job. I am actually looking forward to taking a back seat this year and helping wherever I can. Hopefully get some more time to enjoy a few more beers in the pub without having to worry about getting up at 5AM in the Notties Winter. We are planning on bringing a drone, GoPro’s and Cameras so that we can document the whole event so that we can release a short video clip on social media on our return. Watch this space.
Q: What’s next for TFT in the fly-fishing world?
A: Well the hope is that our ladies team make it into the final of the tournament and then make it into the top 10 overall. I think this would be a fantastic achievement. We are looking forward to this year’s event and a long association with the WIW team into the future.
We cannot wait to for the 6th of June, see you there and thank you once again for everything you have done for team WIW. We will do our best to make you proud!