CFO Corner With CCI South Africa’s Anusha Ramraj

Anusha Ramraj has served as chief financial officer of CCI South Africa since 2020. The privately held business process outsourcing (BPO) firm serves over 80 clients worldwide and is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. Employing more than 15,000 workers, its largest operations are based out of South Africa with additional operations in Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Egypt and Ethiopia. Ramraj, who began her career as a call center agent and ascended to the role of CFO, recently shared insights with Global Finance.

Global Finance: What are the most important aspects of being a CFO in the BPO industry?

Anusha Ramraj: The strategic role of a CFO has grown in importance in every industry. The CFO needs to own the numbers by guiding and communicating with stakeholders. Explicitly in BPO, strategic planning is vital and involves aligning financial goals with vendor selection, contract negotiations and pricing structures. Managing cash flow is crucial—as is risk management, considering the diverse geographies, data and compliance requirements of CCI. Mitigating risks like fines, penalties and currency fluctuations is essential, especially for global operations.

GF: Labor quality is crucial across various industries, especially in Business Process Outsourcing, where services rely heavily on workers. What distinguishes your labor pool, and how does it benefit your clients?

Ramraj: We focus on impact sourcing, and partner with CareerBox Africa, a not-for-profit organization. Here, we identify and provide unique training and job opportunities to young candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds in Africa, placing them into contact-center digital jobs and focusing on black and female empowerment. In South Africa, for instance, nearly 80% of our employees are black, with 76% to 78% of them being female. With an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, our focus is to not only empower women who may face barriers to workforce entry but also enrich the communities where they reside.

GF: What keeps you up at night?

Ramraj: Compliance. It’s not that I’m noncompliant; I ensure full compliance. Maintaining operational continuity is crucial. As a CFO, while overseeing the financial well-being of the business, navigating through increased governance, regulations and compliance in an ever-changing global environment is paramount. Ensuring ongoing compliance is imperative, as any lapse could have a significant impact on the business. CCI is multinational across sub-Saharan Africa—we are on 17 contact center sites across the continent at this point, and this comes with its own compliance challenges.

GF: How important are environmental, social, and governance [ESG] goals for your company?

Ramraj: Our ESG framework is centered around our “CCI Cares” initiatives, with several areas of focus. These include our commitment to the environment through sustainability projects covering reforestation in Africa, such as our “One Job One Tree” project; measuring emission footprints; promoting carpooling for employees due to the impact on the environment; the implementation of better-quality water; recycling; working toward green contact-center buildings and other solar initiatives. But most importantly, we are committed to African society—supporting various community projects, for example, and improving schools by providing better water, sanitation, equipment, training and food programs.

GF: What is your economic outlook of Africa?

Ramraj: Africa faces many challenges but it also offers numerous opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, mining, natural resources, education and finance. Africa is one of the largest continents, with the youngest population, and its youth population is an incredible resource. Before investing, companies must conduct thorough research to understand the business environment and potential opportunities. CFOs play a crucial role in shaping this reality through investment considerations and decisions.