My grandfather was an accountant for Lufthansa Airlines, however he wasn’t chartered. I wanted to achieve more, so I decided to study economics at university and also study for the ACCA Qualification. My first job was an accountant role at a pharmaceutical company, which offered me the opportunity to work and study simultaneously. I stayed there for four years, then took a break to complete my studies.
I rejoined the workforce as a financial consultant, preparing statements for clients and engaging in financial literacy training services. Then, after two years, I landed a finance analyst role and my career developed from there. I now clocked up over 18 years’ experience in accounting, budgeting and finance across the Middle East and Africa.
A recent McKinsey study found that over 40% of a typical CFO’s time is spent on activities that fall outside the traditional role of accounting, controlling and budgeting. As a CFO, I certainly dedicate more time to strategic leadership, organisational transformation and performance management. However, I also have to drive effective change management in finance and accounting. This is the big difference between my current role as CFO and other finance roles I have had.
A good CFO must have the ability to offer predictions about where disruption is likely to strike next
As CFO, I enjoy leading digital business transformation and working as an executive partner with the CEO and other members of the leadership team.
What makes a good CFO is an extensive list. In the current global business climate, CFOs now effectively work as chief value officers too, managing volatility, delivering competitive cost advantages and developing digital strategies. I believe a good CFO must be a great people person; a listener and communicator who thrives on their social skills.
A good CFO must also be a strategic thinker. They must have the ability to offer predictions about where disruption is likely to strike next. Key to the role is finding solutions or identifying capabilities and services that the company currently lacks in preparation for future disruption. Being forward looking means asking the question ‘What comes next?’ Finally, a good CFO must also be analytical and tech-savvy, with real-world operations experience.
Businesses in Nigeria face many challenges. The most significant are access to funding at single digit rates, high operating costs due to insufficient power generation, and currency devaluation. However, there are also opportunities, such as our ever-growing population, which is a huge economic strength. More citizens means greater demand and supply in the economy, leading to large economies of scale and better return on investments. There is also increased public and private sector collaboration, and government initiatives like the Pioneer Status Incentive help to create the right environment for businesses.
If I had law-making powers, I would like to incorporate more foreign exchange control measures into binding legislation in Nigeria.
My biggest achievement has been lecturing ACCA courses across Nigeria for nearly 10 years. I have now mentored and positively impacted the lives of more than a thousand finance professionals. Their career progress and upward trajectory in life gives me joy every day.
My hobbies include music, sport and spending time with my family.