My eureka moment came at a tender age of 8 (while in primary/elementary school) when I visited a bank with my dad to cash a cheque. Prior to this time, an acquaintance has directed us to the bank accountant so we can be attended to on time – it was in the day of ‘arm-chair’ banking in Nigeria which was characterized by long-queues in banking halls and necessitated that banks issue tally to their customers.
There I found my destiny in an image of this man who was well mannered, eloquent and immaculately dressed in an opulent office.
I was so inspired by his brilliance and amiable personality that I had to ask my father when we left the bank what the man did for a living and I was told he was an accountant. That was when I made up my mind to be one too, just to fit into that personality I was intrigued by.
I was so driven by this dream to be an extraordinary accountant and set out to do just that.. I didn't deter or fazed at any moment. This singular encounter was what guided and shaped my choices of subjects and courses in schools and institutions that I attended!
With dint of hard work and resilience, I gained admission to study accountancy and enrolled for professional examinations simultaneously. The result – I qualified as a chartered accountant in record time - as an undergraduate and graduated, on top of my class (as the best graduating student in my set). Hence, the commencement of my journey to the pinnacle of my very exciting career which has seen me worked across many multi-national and world-class organisations playing different Finance Leadership roles.
Passing all professional papers of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria at a very tender age and as an undergraduate positioned me in a very unique space amongst my peers and this assisted boosted my chances of getting better jobs amongst several choices that I had at the onset. I became a technically sound accountant! Soon after, I realized that technical soundness isn’t enough in today’s global economy and was hungry for global relevance, looking for a qualification that will give me a potent blend of strategic insight, strong leadership skills and finance expertise. ACCA came to the rescue!
The qualification gave me the expert skills that I need to make better financial decisions, build strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and became more effective leader in organisations that I worked for. The impact of my contributions became very visible to all my colleagues to the extent that they earned me a lot of respect even from those senior to me in organisations that I have worked.I was able to, amongst other things:
- Develop strategic skills specific to financial leadership
- Transform myself from information provider to strategic partner
- Gained a deeper understanding of current trends in finance
- Improve my negotiation, conflict management and communication skills
In the course of my career, I have also discovered new techniques and methodologies in finance, strategy and leadership – all these have well-equipped me to develop long-term vision and strategy framework.
Today, I am indeed an accomplished accountant - a complete finance professional - although still working on my masterpiece
If I have to relive being a child again, I will indeed take perspective steps towards being an accountant again and again!
I am an award-winning CFO with almost two decades of well-diversified experience in Finance Leadership, Strategy and General Management roles in global and market positions across major listed multinational companies. I currently work as the Chief Financial Officer at Mantrac Nigeria Limited. In this role, I have built an excellent reputation valued by business leaders - providing decision support to the Board and senior management with my broad expertise in finance, rock-solid control background and strong commercial acumen. I was awarded CFO of the year in my industry in 2016.
Previously in my career, I have worked with Guinness Nigeria Plc - a Diageo company as Reporting Manager and garnered great track-record of improving processes, systems and controls with ability to organise a team effectively, recruit, develop talent and motivate teams to deliver great results.
I have also worked in Financial Control and Strategy Departments of three listed Nigerian banks and as Chief Financial Officer in FBN Merchant Bank (formerly Kakawa Discount House).
My well-diversified career also includes about 5-year stint at Nestlé Nigeria Plc– which provided a foundational platform for my exemplary performance around budgeting, reporting, credit control and business unit controls.
Giving back to the profession
As someone who is very passionate about developing people, I teamed up with other colleagues to start the first ACCA tuition centre in Nigeria (SWOT Associates) in early 2000. After about 5 years of lecturing ACCA students in Lagos and Ibadan, I co-founded and became the Chief Promoter and First Director of Studies at Synergy Professionals – the first ACCA Approved Learning Partner (ALP) to achieve Gold and Platinum status in West Africa until 2015 when I moved on to co-found The New Synergy Specialists - another Gold ALP in Nigeria.
Using the above platforms, I have had the rare privilege of tutoring and preparing over 12,000 ACCA students across all examination levels and mentored over 600 Affiliates to membership in the last 16 years. I have equally contributed immensely to development of members by facilitating at several CPD events sharing experiences and best practices.