Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze: The Accountant Using Technology To Power SMEs

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Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze The Accountant Using Technology To Power SMEs

Do you know one of the best-kept secrets on Facebook? As a start-up business owner, you are not yet ready for your entrepreneurial journey if you’ve not learnt the rudiments of business accounting from Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze.

Daily, hundreds of business owners are positively transforming their accounting processes by flocking to her Facebook page to glean precious business nuggets in informal and free-of-charge updates.

Business 101 tips such as this gem on February 3, 2019:

Dear CEO of a small business, yes, you are Chief Everything Officer now; but not for too long o.  You must master the operations part of the business; put a beautiful process around it, teach others to do it and move away from it, as quickly as possible. If you stay too long doing operations by yourself, you become broke. Yes, broke.


Are you a caterer, if you have to cook by yourself alone, you cannot grow or execute much, so, you soon become broke.

Are you a chartered accountant, you run an audit firm with you alone, bro, you probably will end up having 3 to 4 clients only, you will become broke.

Are you a mechanic, you have no boys, only you going around and fixing cars, you will probably make 50k or less in a month, you are a broke man.

The reason that executives are paid high in organizations, even when it seems like they do not do the hard work, is because money is not made from doing operations; money is made from doing the strategic things at the top.

A bricklayer works very hard and earns 1500 to 2000 per day of work. An Executive sits in an air-conditioned office, signs two cheques, takes decisions and earns a hundred times over, in one day.

As CEO of a small business; some of us dwell too long in the operations and never free up ourselves to move up to the strategic level.

At the strategic level, the CEO speaks at events, writes Proposals, holds meetings with clients, strikes partnerships, maps out strategy, builds funnels of growth, seeks investors, does high-level marketing/business development. These are the things that grow the business.

When you start your business, almost immediately, you should get a helping hand with the operations. I remember hiring Chinyere even before registering Accountinghub with the CAC. I knew that I needed to get the jobs, teach someone what to do, and immediately set out to get another job, then come back to review what has been done. If I sit down doing the job, the business will not grow and I will make very little money.

A lot of us are caught in this web. You are chief everything officer, no single staff, you spend all your life doing ‘operations’, not ‘strategy. I am sorry to announce to you that you cannot achieve much that way.

I know your next question; how will I pay salaries when I am just starting? Yes, you can start alone, but don’t stay alone for too long. Starting alone allows you master the operations, so, you can supervise it properly, when another person takes it over. I personally do not like CEOs who know nothing about the operations. The business may suffer poor quality of output, because you cannot give what you do not have.
So, master the operations, do it yourself for a while, but not for too long.

Delegate it quickly, build a good process around it, if possible automate it, then move up to the strategy level; for that’s where money is made.
Chief Executive Officers make money; by doing executive things.
Thank you.

Mrs Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze could be considered a techie-geek who is uncompromising in her belief of how social media could be used for more productive things than to just while away time or share pictures.

The success of Accountinghub.ng, a virtual and retail tech- accounting firm which deploys technology to address the market needs of SME’s on bookkeeping and auditing – which she founded and is chief executive officer of – is a testimony that she truly walks her talk.

Of how much Social Media has helped her business of helping businesses, Ifeanyi-Eze posted thus:

“The power of social media is mind-blowing. At a live session last night (January 28, 2019), I taught over 1000 business owners about taxes. This morning, we have 108 signups to outsource their tax to Accountinghub. Someone harvested massive prospects/customers in one hour on Social Media while you’re still arguing about social media being a place for children and rubbish things. There’s massive business here. Leave others to use their own page for selfies and abuses, use yours for business.”

Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze The Accountant Using Technology To Power SMEs

SMEs are the future…

These figures, for a business which has serviced over 300 clients in less than three years, are mind-blowing but hardly surprising for somebody who’s dedicated to her craft and willing to help as many people as possible to change their life circumstances around for the better.

Ifeanyi-Eze is a big supporter of Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) and committed to use her accounting skills to help them make better business decisions that will help them grow into profitability. As a matter of fact, she started Accountinghub as a response to the needs of small businesses. No wonder the pay-off of her company is: the small business accountant!

“I saw a vacuum in the industry; there are over 9,000 accounting firms in the country and each of these firms, especially the small ones, works for one to 10 businesses in Nigeria where we have over 40 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs). You can see that there is a huge gap between the number of SMEs and the number of accounting firms that are servicing them. Unless you use technology you cannot work for many SMEs; the old accounting practice was done in a way that they would come to your office and spend days and days looking through your books. But using technology I do not need to come to your every day to do accounting for you and I can work for up 100 SMEs and more businesses can have credible numbers to make their decisions. These businesses need credible numbers for their taxes; for their business decisions and for their businesses to be sustainable,” she told the Daily Independent newspaper in an interview about how she started.

Thus, Accountinghub was officially registered in January 2016 and the impact has been instant. It worked for more than 250 businesses and trained more than 20 accountants in the first two years. She refers to her service as “Tech Accounting”, deploying the power of technology and accounting so that every business owner can on his own keep his records without papers that could be torn or records that could be destroyed.

Startup lessons…

A former banker, Ifeanyi-Eze is conversant with the questions often asked by would-be entrepreneurs.
How do I start a business? From where do I start? What kind of business do I start?

She reckons the answers to these questions haven’t changed, even if the manner of doing the businesses has evolved over time.

“Start with an entry offering for an entry market. Take the very basic things you know how to do very well, weave it into a business. You will be shocked at how many people who do not think it is ‘so basic’. Guess what? Even my nice handwriting has sold market. I arrived at a meeting and scribbled some processes as I speak with the client. The woman offered to pay to take the sheet of paper from me after we finished!,” she wrote on yet another Facebook update.

Whatever you do, she insists, get your business online for more visibility.

“For those who own businesses, if only you will commit to putting up a social media poster each day, you’ll notice an increase in your enquiries and sales up to 20% within 3 months. The rate will keep growing and your skills at making the posts will keep improving,” she reiterates.

Whether on or offline, punctuality and dedication is a mantra Ifeanyi-Eze will not trade for anything if a business must survive.

“One of the unspoken rules of business: show up every day, not some days. Every single day.”

Who can argue with this.

So, if you’re not visiting Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze’s Facebook page every day, you’re missing out on the most prestigious informal business school out there.

For those who do, they may not get a certificate but surely they come out better equipped with knowledge that helps them get better at their trade. And, most importantly, it is knowledge gleaned at no cost to you.

Challenges…

Ifeanyi-Eze reckons getting talented accountants is the biggest challenge confronting her because of the huge gap between the education the accountant gets in school and the requirement of the workplace.

“They (accountants) go to school but they do not learn enough. If you want to recruit one accountant, you need to do 40 interviews. You do 40 interviews and only two look as if they know what they are doing. What they teach them in the school is different from what the workplace demands; there is a wide gap between what is taught in the school and what obtains at the workplace.”

Lack of regular power supply is also a major concern as she spends a fortune to power her processes and other relative activities.

Background…

Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze, married with children, is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Tax practitioner who holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria and also has a Masters Degree in Accounting. She has over 11 years post-qualification professional experience on bookkeeping, finance and business consulting from several banking and finance industry.

In 2016, Ynaija listed her as one of the most 100 innovative persons in technology and she was part of the 1000 entrepreneurs for the 2016 class of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Advice to the youth…

Business is supposed to be learnt; people assume that they know business but they do not know business. The young people who have ideas should go and learn business; pick interest in entrepreneurship; go online and study.

My dear friend who is thinking of what business to do, are you noticing the huge inefficiencies around you? It could just be your license to ‘find your gold’. I found my gold from inefficiencies and I am still finding my gold.

Go find your gold, buddy.

Arise!

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