When I was young, I used to think I’d like to be an airline pilot. I imagined myself making the pre-flight announcements and setting the best angle-of-climb speed for take-off. In the end, though, I fell in love with piloting of another kind, at the controls of finance in business.
It began when I asked my neighbour, a banker, what qualifications I would need to pursue a career like his; he suggested accounting and finance. I was good with numbers so, with the support of my parents, I opted to study accounting at university.
Despite being costly, an MBA is a worthy journey for any finance professional
It was my first employer, EY, that pushed me to pursue the ACCA Qualification. Of course it was hard work, but my time at EY was an important period for my professional growth because of the learning, challenges and insights it provided. Later, I was inspired to do an MBA, at Heriot-Watt University. It was an innovative online learning programme, which was hard to find elsewhere at the time. Despite being costly, I believe an MBA is a worthy journey for any finance professional. Six years on, I still find the knowledge and networks I developed very useful.
Having left EY, I worked my way up through various finance management roles in the banking and finance sectors in east Africa. Then, in 2018, when I was internal audit manager at microfinance company Platinum Credit, my boss asked me to take on the management of the parent group Platcorp’s financial reporting and financial statements for its 12 subsidiaries in three countries. This was certainly a step out of my comfort zone as I lacked experience, but I was able to harness my ACCA knowledge to successfully manage the exercise. That first time was a long, bittersweet, sleepless month, but I delivered within the timeframe.
I currently lead a brilliant team of audit and finance professionals responsible for audit processes, business advisory, governance and group financial reporting. It’s a hybrid role, covering Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
If something is good for the environment and for people, it usually makes good business sense
Uganda faces many challenges. Inadequate levels of affordable long-term financing, poor technical financial and management skills, and a lack of professionalism all combine to stymy the country’s growth. There is also insufficient research and planning, and too much taxation. That said, there are opportunities in tourism, property and new product development. We also see value addition in agriculture with large-scale production, agro-processing and agribusiness. Further opportunities exist in minerals, mining, energy, and oil and gas.
If I had law-making powers, I would take action on several fronts. I would reduce income tax and have term limits for members of parliament. There would be heavy penalties for corruption. Most importantly, there would be laws tackling climate change. Instead of just maximising shareholder wealth, I would push the environmental, social and governance agenda as a priority at both individual and company level, to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. If something is good for the environment and for people, it usually makes good business sense.
I like the flexibility of my job. The unpredictability makes it interesting
I like the flexibility of my job, which spans many aspects of the company’s finance. If you asked me what I’d be doing next week, I’d probably know about 45% of it. The unpredictability is what makes it interesting.
My proudest achievement is my progress in the past three years. When I was brought in from internal audit to lead group financial reporting, the process was not streamlined. My team and I made changes and have consistently completed the financial reporting, and other processes, for over 15 subsidiaries every year since 2018. We are also a key reference for all new IFRS Standards implementation and emerging trends in finance.
In my spare time I enjoy swimming, music and time with my family. I love watching movies with my wife and I regularly run 40km a week. I also do volunteering and community service with ACCA Uganda, Herriot-Watt University and my church.