By Marricke Kofi GANE
“Accountants and Finance people are boring”. That’s what my ex-girlfriend once told me. I am married now, however – shame she wasn’t the one around to realize that accountants and finance professionals (AFPs) are actually not as stiff as we are normally perceived to be.
Well, what cannot be denied though is that we are quite regimented. Creativity for us, does not necessarily mean to go wild and out of the door. For us, dealing with money simply requires that creativity itself happens within regimented parameters.
I have had the pleasure of working in both Africa and Europe, in practice and in industry and for me, the question about AFPs in Africa is this – “why aren’t we mobile with our expertise?” Although it is normal to find a few African AFPs of one African country, working in another African country which is not their home country, it is not a norm. The tendency is that these AFP migrations either happen because of relationships or family or in other common circumstances, a company one is already working for decides to relocate. Audit professionals to tend to be lucky in some cases – to travel far and wide throughout Africa, but even that is a handful. The question is, is that all about to change with the help of a newly launched website www.african-accountants.com ? (read on)
For me, it’s a lot of lost opportunities, both for the AFPs themselves and the countries that stand to benefit if there were labor mobility among AFPs. One the one hand, AFPs lose the opportunity to be able to practice their skills in entirely different contexts – social, political, economic and technological environments. This has the ability to reinforce one’s already existing skills or to gain new ones that could only have been gotten from a different contextual scenario. By all means it tests and establishes the adaptability of one’s skills and in most other cases, hone or refine it too via the process of contextual evolution. It should be easy to see by now, that new contexts will put different demands on how your skills are deployed. But beyond all of these, it is also an opportunity for one’s already gotten and evolving finance and accounting skills to add value their new localities. A wise man once said, travelling is like reading a book and staying in one place simply means you never read the book – you only read one page over and over again.
The bottom line in all of these advantages that accrue to African AFPs is this – the skills and expertise of AFPs in Africa form a very core foundation of “accountability” in the environments we work in
So, where does the newly launched www.african-accountants.com come into all of these? The creator of the site, an African Accountant himself, alleges “when I talk to my AFP colleagues in other African countries, they seem hardly aware of finance job opportunities outside their local countries and yet when I meet up with employers, they complain it is difficult to get the right AFPs in their specific countries of operation” – Since, its launch just this April 2016, I have been asking the exciting question – is this about to be the game changer for the mobility of AFP labor in Africa?
The website focuses entirely on Finance and accounting vacancies – seeking to connect AFP professionals with potential employers throughout and ONLY in Africa. Its strategic aim is to encourage the mobility of AFP labour force throughout Africa. For jobseekers, it has the unique advantage of providing access to finance jobs ALL over Africa. For employers, the site provides some very unique characteristics such as employers having access to jobseekers’ indicative personality scores in order to help determine best team-fit; comparing CVs in similar formats; the ability to set filters to shortlist which applicants can apply for advertised jobs; as well as dispatching interview invitation letters without leaving the site.
For all its worth, the site, in my view is about to change the game in AFP recruitment throughout Africa.