Back in 2016 I joined KPMG in Lusaka, Zambia, which is where I grew up and my career started. At KPMG I gained experience in audit and in finance and advisory services, working in various industries, but mainly the financial services sector.
My inspiration to join the profession stems from my parents who are both accountants. I saw them provide for our family and teach us how to be financially literate. I am proud to say that I was the top-scoring ACCA student in Zambia and one of the top scorers in the world.
Your qualifications will get you a job, but what keeps you advancing is your attitude, character and people skills
After three years at KPMG and having worked with many clients in financial services, I was keen to gain experience from an industry perspective. So I switched to banking, working first as a credit analyst in Lusaka, then as a banking analyst from a base in South Africa. I learnt a lot during this time but was eager for more challenges and greater diversity in my work. I decided to go back into practice, joining my current employer The Shard in Johannesburg. Through this process, I have realised that your qualifications will get you a job, but what keeps you advancing is your attitude, your character and your ability to engage with people.
For African economies to grow, we need determined entrepreneurs who are able to grow their businesses. The biggest challenge is a lack of sufficient capital. With economies struggling, there is less money available from investors, so it’s critical that entrepreneurs are fully prepared for any opportunity to pitch for funding.
Young entrepreneurs may be well motivated, but often do not have enough knowledge about their business or sector. They lack financial and legal knowledge and an understanding of how to conduct business. Having good mentors and attending networking events with people who are on the same journey would help individuals get into the right mindset. They also need to further their education and gain credibility through some form of certification, or by attending short courses or even obtaining a degree.
Alongside my work, I started a non-profit, Help a Child in Zambia, to provide children with basic resources, such as textbooks, extra tutorials and exam fees. I care passionately about children, so I wanted to assist those who are not going to school because of a lack of financial support. It takes time to plan a fundraising strategy and build up a team of supporters with a similar vision and passion but I intend to replicate this initiative in South Africa.
If I had the right influence, I would introduce more informal ways for organisations to interview candidates. Interview technique is very difficult to get right. We try to pre-empt what an interviewer is likely to ask, and many candidates get anxious regardless of their ability. This can't be the best way of picking the right candidate.
I would also introduce universal psychometric tests to help predict a child’s suitable profession at a young age. Relevant subjects linked to the real world could then be introduced from early grades. The business-minded among them would then be more financially literate when they leave school. We could also conduct science projects for the more scientific, while giving teaching responsibilities for those with a quick grasp of subjects to stretch them.
What I enjoy most about my job is the fact that I never stop learning. I like working with organisations and clients from various industries, backgrounds and markets. I also enjoy speaking at business networking events.
If I was not an accountant, I would have been a fashion designer, or perhaps a model, content creator or an actress – I already feature in TV commercials for beauty products. I also enjoy cooking, photography and travelling, and I hope to obtain a private pilot licence.