Updated: Jun 28, 2018
Meet Francisca Chinyamakobvu, former Convent girl and University of Pretoria graduate. She's currently working as the Finance Manager at Harare Receivables Exchange, the only receivables focused trading company in Zimbabwe and she's agreed to give us a look at how she spends her days and what exactly being a finance manager entails.
05:15 – I wake and get ready for the gym. To be fair, I usually hit the snooze button and wake up at 05:25 because the gym is five minutes away. Gym is about an hour and then I get ready for work.
07:30 - This is the time I leave home for work. I stay 3 minutes from work (depending on traffic) so by approximately 07:35 I am at the office. Work technically starts at 08:30 but getting there earlier helps me get ready for the day without too many distractions. My first go to is breakfast which is usually oatmeal. That and a cup of green tea (trying to be healthy). Once settled, I check my emails and clear those. I update my diary with any action items as I go through them.
09:00 – Every Monday morning we have a meeting. Here we discuss any significant events from the past week from a trading, risk and finance perspective and any issues that need to be addressed. I work for a trade finance company called Harare Receivables Exchange. Just to explain the work that we do, one of our main products is invoice discounting and this entails us advancing funds to a supplier of goods or services based on an invoice from a reputable debtor. This is a form of working capital financing and this ultimately helps businesses grow as it eliminates the period they would have had to wait for invoices to be settled.
09:30 – I cannot say that my day follows a routine every day in terms of my work. Finance is the lifeblood of a business so one will find that the work that needs to be done will depend heavily on what is happening in the company at a point in time. A common feature of my days however is processing and authorising payments. No money comes in or out of a company without Finance’s knowledge. Outside of that it’s dealing with audits, preparing budgets and preparing financial statements among other things.
My major role as Finance Manager is literally managing finances daily. This essentially means matching revenue and potential revenue to expenditure. This dictates the timing and prioritization of payments. An extended role of that is to then guide the trading department with regards to how much they need to push for in terms of revenue for us to be able to cover our costs. Through budgeting, projections and monthly management accounts, we are then able to track our progress based on goals set out. This ultimately speaks to our strategy as we take on different clients.
Another key part of the business is risk management. Whenever a new client is taken on, the credit committee, which I am a part of, sits to assess the Due Diligence report based on different criteria.
Image: Shay Leonora
13:00 – Lunchtime! The halfway mark of the day. HRE is more a family than a company. At lunchtime we tend to have lunch together (dinner table style and everything), chat and catch up. I genuinely could not ask for a happier working environment and better team mates.
16:30 – Official time when work ends. Me leaving at this time depends on my workload. If I still need to clear my desk I will stay until I am done.
I genuinely believe that it is important to enjoy what you do. The late nights and long hours which will come from time to time will be worth it. Last year I was studying for my level one CFA examination and my days went from 0600 to 0000. But because I enjoyed what I was doing and like where I work, I managed to get through it all i.e. pass my exams and get the work done.
18: 30 – Every second Monday I attend meetings at Old Georgians for the Rotaract Club of Borrowdale Brooke at which I am a member and Finance Chair. Tuesdays I am at Pariah Avondale for Trivia Tuesdays supporting the Rotaract Club of Harare West. Wednesday I have Cell Group with a group of friends and Thursdays and Fridays are usually nights in. It helps to still have a life outside of work, all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl.
22:00 – Bedtime. Rest wake up the next day and repeat.
About the Author
I studied at the Dominican Convent (Harare) until sixth form, after which I attained my BComm in Financial Management Sciences from the University of Pretoria. I had originally wanted to study accounting however I got a place in Financial Management and after that I could not quite find the strength to switch to accounting and here we are. At UP I was involved in quite a few extra-curriculars; President of the Zimbabwean Society in my second year and Founding President of the Rotaract Club together with involvement in multiple residence activities every year. After university I tried to revive the accounting dream and began a journey towards Chartered Accountancy by doing a postgraduate diploma in accounting sciences. I again realised after passing it (for real this time) that accounting was not where my heart was and subsequently wrote and passed my CFA level 1 examinations in December 2017. I hope to acquire the charter in 2020. Apart from the serious stuff, I managed to find a Rotaract family in Harare at the Rotaract Club of Borrowdale Brooke. That plays a key part in me having a semblance of a social life. I have also recently become interested (not quite obsessed as yet) with fitness. It appears to be the best alternative to dieting (not an option as I love my food). I am huge on travelling, seeing the world and meeting new people. My motto, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up." - Regina Brett