Head of Finance, South Africa


Job Reference





Business Professionals


Johannesburg, South Africa

The role

International mindset, local focus, business acumen and technical expertise – is what we need to ensure that our Johannesburg office is operating at an optimal level.  We’re looking for a leader providing strategic input, guidance and management to ensure continuous business improvement and innovation.

Apply for the role of Head of Finance, South Africa, to become a trusted finance business advisor, impact the dynamics of the team and leverage your understanding of the markets in which we operate, as well as the firm-wide matrices and operating model.

Head of Finance, South Africa will drive the effective implementation of the firm’s and the Johannesburg office’s strategies by providing Finance & operational management of the Johannesburg office, working in partnership with the Country Managing Partner (CMP), local Practice Group Heads (Location Heads – LHs) and Business Services Business Partners. The role will hold responsibility for Finance Business Partnering as well as the local Finance Team.

It will lead and provide strategic oversight and guidance to help design and achieve the strategic plan and budget for Johannesburg, with a primary focus on:

  • Clients
  • People
  • Alignment
  • Quality
  • Radical change


  • Be a Finance Business Partner to CMP, LHs and to other Services Business Partners
  • Help implement Firm’s Finance, Risk & Compliance Policies and Standards
  • Oversee the country Finance team in Johannesburg supporting business growth, monitoring working capital & performance and managing pricing & profitability 
  • Oversee general accounting duties, local statutory accounts, local to group report, financial analysis, reporting, treasury, billing & collection management
  • Ensure that statutory audits and trust account audit is completed timeously for each financial year
  • Responsibility for compliance with financial controls, local accounting reporting requirements, tax regulations
  • Review the ways of working impacting the office financial performance and propose improvements / changes, where necessary, to existing processes to maximize productivity and revenue potential
  • On behalf of the CMP have oversight of the budget process for Johannesburg, working closely with key stakeholders (Regional Head of Finance, MEA, Location Heads and CMP), with the aim of setting ambitious, consistent and achievable targets
  • Contribute to the financial success of the country and achievement of KPI’s by recommending and implementing remedies, innovations and improvements, including recruitment, restructuring and service delivery
  • Provide commercial and financial support to the CMP on the existing business and new opportunities to ensure the optimal return for the business
  • Identify savings and areas of improvement for the Johannesburg office


  • Measure and report on the overall performance of the country and individual local groups against budgets and forecasts, recommending any necessary corrective actions to ensure delivery against them
  • Work with leaders of the Johannesburg office to ensure that all stakeholders understand the local and international strategic plans, priorities and objectives, and to ensure they are operating in a manner consistent with them
  • Manage the strategic/business planning process for Johannesburg at country and local practice group level, including analysis, design and implementation
  • Work with international group leadership to ensure implementation of any International Practice Group strategic plans as they relate to Johannesburg


  • Collaborate with the CMP on aligning strategic and operational initiatives with International Practice Groups
  • Ensure collaboration across all practice groups, particularly in relation to ways of working, priorities, the referral of client matters, etc.
  • Ensure any service areas interacting with the country are aligned to deliver the operational priorities of the firm and the country


  • Advise and support the CMP in setting partner performance and remuneration proposals
  • Coach partners on a broad range of business, commercial, strategic and internal policy issues
  • Collaborate with local HR regarding any strategic employee-related issue, including remuneration, promotion and succession, secondments etc., which arise within South Africa
  • Help structure and also deliver Finance training / impart Finance awareness to new joiners
  • In collaboration with other stakeholders, including the relevant practice group HOO, Head of Partner Recruitment and Head of HR, contribute to the recruitment and integration of lateral partners (coordination, support, financial analysis & strategic note for the Board, integration plan)
  • Work with the CMP, international group leadership and HR team to drive the partner promotions process
  • In collaboration with OGC, HR and the Partnership Accounting team support partner exits and associated finance activities
  • Role model the firm’s values and support and mentor others to do the same

Operational management 

  • Supervision and management of P&W employees
  • Preparation of the annual Property & Workplace budget, including monthly monitoring and quarterly reforecasting
  • Supervise sourcing, approve and monitor important / critical suppliers
  • Review and approval of office supplier contracts,  invoices, including the monthly rental invoice 
  • Ensuring the efficient and cost effective provision of services in the Johannesburg office including front of house, health safety and environmental compliance
  • Include responsibility for expansion of office space / locations


  • Be a point of escalation for any complex financial and operational issues relating to Johannesburg
  • Have an understanding of what we need to do in order to achieve objectives and support the CMP in identifying measures to achieve and track progress
  • Have influence over key decisions that impact the direction of the country relating to financials, key strategic hiring decisions, and new investment.  
  • Provide a project management overview of all major and strategic projects in South Africa
  • Compile and present regular management reporting information
  • Provide local project management leadership for global projects as appropriate


  • Chartered Accountant (SA) with approx. 10 years of relevant experience 
  • Experience in a legal or partnership environment will be an advantage
  • Track record of delivering effective finance Support in international, complex and matrix-management environments – with proven operational results and project management skills
  • In depth knowledge of and experience of South African accounting rules, VAT legislation, Taxation and preferably of International Financial Reporting Standards and local statutory reporting requirements
  • Possess a high level of commercial acumen and analytical skills
  • Understand the impact of financial control on the business and an awareness of the key issues facing the firm
  • Experience with SAP and Elite will be an advantage
  • A self-starter, able to work on own initiative as well as being part of. and leading, a team, with a strong client service orientation
  • Comfortable multi-tasking and working to conflicting timescales on multiple priorities in a robust and fast-paced environment
  • Technologically savvy, including a good working knowledge of IT tools
  • Strong and collaborative interpersonal skills and experience to work with colleagues throughout the International firm
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, with an innovative mindset on tactical and strategic issues
  • Sensitive and courageous in challenging the status quo
  • Resilient, patient, proactive, pragmatic, energetic and principled
  • Have a sound understanding of contemporary operational practices
  • Have a track record in delivering effective operational solutions in international, complex and matrix-management environments – with proven operational results and project management skills
  • Have strong coaching, counselling and consulting skills, combined with the ability to influence, negotiate and persuade
  • Be able to build and maintain strong relationships, both within and outside the firm, acting as an effective brand ambassador for DLA Piper
  • Be comfortable operating in sometimes ambiguous situations, demonstrating a flexible and collaborative personal working style

DLA Piper South Africa
The Johannesburg office undertakes work across South Africa, operates as a hub for work in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and forms a support base for the continued growth and development of the highly regarded DLA Piper Africa group across the continent. The office focusses on business generated domestically, regionally and internationally, leveraging off DLA Piper’s global presence and client base. 
The Johannesburg office is staffed with South African lawyers, who will (as needed) team with lawyers from our offices around the world to handle international/cross-border assignments.

DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers and business service professionals located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Our global reach ensures that we can help businesses with their legal needs anywhere in the world. We strive to be the leading global business law firm by delivering quality, service excellence and value to our clients and offering practical and innovative legal solutions to help them succeed. Our clients range from multinational, Global 1000, and Fortune 500 enterprises to emerging companies developing industry-leading technologies, as well as government and public sector bodies.

In everything we do connected with our People, our Clients and our Communities, we live by these values:

  • Be Supportive – we are compassionate and inclusive, valuing diversity and acting thoughtfully
  • Be Collaborative – we are proactive, passionate team players investing in our relationships
  • Be Bold – we are fearless and inquisitive, challenging ourselves to think big and find creative new solutions
  • Be Exceptional – we are strategic and driven, exceeding standards and expectations

At DLA Piper, diversity and inclusion underpins how we live our values and everything we do. We believe that everyone has a voice, and that everyone’s voice counts. We know that the rich diversity across our firm makes us stronger, more innovative and creative, which helps us to better serve our clients and communities. We are committed to providing an inclusive working environment and culture across our global firm, where everyone can bring their authentic self to work.

Diversity of perspective, thought, background and culture combine to make us the leading global law firm; that’s why we actively seek to build balanced teams. We welcome the unique contribution that you will bring to our firm and actively encourage applications from all talented people – however your talent is packaged, whatever your background or circumstance and regardless of how you identify.

We recognise that people have responsibilities and interests outside of their career and that as a business, we all benefit from working flexibly. That’s why we are open to discussing with candidates the different ways in which we are able to support requests for agile working arrangements.

In the event that we make an offer to you, and where local legislation permits and where relevant, we will conduct pre-engagement screening checks that may include but are not limited to your professional and academic qualifications, your eligibility to work in the relevant jurisdiction, any criminal records, your financial stability and work-related references.