Forty Out of 100 (40%) – 1996 Our Principles of Accounts teacher handed out the final test results of the mid term. Mr Bwalya paused as he gave me a stare down which said “I know you can do better that this” as he folded my transcript in half and handed it over. The test was around constructing an Income Statement (Profit and Loss) and Balance Sheet for a small business. I failed. Mr Bwalya took us through the Principle of Accounts through graduation and went on to become Headmaster whilst I proceeded to pursue training and a career in accounting (Management Accounting).
Paper Tigers and the School of Hard Knocks- 1999 I had secured myself an appointment with the Chief Accountant for one of the major trucking firms for the position of accounts clerk. This gig came just after completing the first semester of college and I desperately needed cash to pay next level of studies. A lot was at stake. I walked into the interview rooms and went through all the niceties of checking the certificates and a few technical questions. The final questions of the interview came down the questions whether I was familiar with Excel to which I agreed to the affirmative. I was handed over a piece of paper from an excise book with formulars and was asked to present the report by 12PM. This was 10AM. I was handed over to one of the veterans in the accounts office who gave me a PC and full windows 95 glory excel to knock my self out.
After 6 hours and countless cups of free Tea, Coffee and ream of paper, I conceded and handed over the exercise. They never called.
“I am in Oil – 2004“This is your big break-Prog Lloyd Chingambo” . My defining moment was when I met Prof Lloyd Chingambo. The PSPF had been going through a recaptilisation process under a program financed by the World Bank in 2003. This process required the fund to clear any outstanding pensions obligations owed to retiring civil servants across the country. The fund came looking for students on part time jobs to beef up the staff compliment and clear the backlog. I managed to get the gig and after the six month period required something more permanent. It is during this search that I was fortunate enough to meet Prof Chingambo (Prof), then General Manager of the LuSE.
Prof was running a chain of service stations from Lusaka through to Kabwe. The business was expanding and he needed someone for accounting expertise to be part of the management team.
Training Day – In 2004 I was appointed as Account for Lloyds Investments limited, overseeing the finances of the whole operation which included 5 service stations 3 fast food takeaway shops and a 24/7 convenience store with over 150 employees on our payroll. This was my first real job which gave me the opportunity to learn, experiment, fail, dream and grow.
Leap of Faith – Professor Lloyd Chingambo gave me the opportunity of a life time. He took a risk on an unknown inexperienced accounting student and gave me the runway to find my voice and place on both my personal and professional life. I am forever grateful.
Bringing All Together
Principles: Failing my Principles of Account test reminded me of value of understanding and applying with religious rigour the principles of accounting and by extension finance. Every consumate entrepreneur and business person need to understand and apply these principles to achieve long term success. Accounting and finance form basis for all key business decisions whether you for or not for profit, expanding a new product line, engaging the government on a new policy decision, lending, borrowing or inviting partners and investors to participate in a venture. The principles of accounting and finance are the basis on which the impact of decisions and action are evaluated and tested in tangible economic terms. We will explore emerging trends in this very interesting areas covering capital structure, new forms of finance, impact of taxation and trade incentive of a venture.
Technology: Coming from an accounting background you realise early in your training the need to have the ability to interact with technology tools in transaction processing and decision making making. The ability to command technological tools to do your bidding is a price of entry to the market place.Technology now allows us to build more accurate and efficient model of business performance opportunities and risks. Growth in mobile and internet connectivity is creating new business models and ways of using publicly available data to steer your business and investments in the right direction. We will be exploring new ideas and innovations data science, cloud, mobile and e-commerce.
Design: Design influences how a customer or consumer experiences a product or service. In the oil marketing business design influenced the layout of the forecourt, the lighting, the positioning of the mast head (main bill board) the interaction between the staff and and motorist and the time it takes to serve. In modern hyper competitive market which most businesses are operating in design thinking impact every aspect of the customers journey from sales, fulfilment and after sales support. Global technology players live Google, Facebook and WordPress designed the business around seamless customer experience and engagement. We will be sharing insights and new thinking and application of design thinking to product and business models.
The triple threat of Finance, Technology and Design will drive the success of the next generation and breakthrough business ideas we are excited about the potential and opportunities this presents. To be continued……..