The Nigerian startup disrupting traditional Accounting models

August 3, 2016
6 min read

Our quest to bring to you another inspiring featured story, this time, took us all the way to Lekki Phase 1 where we had an interesting conversation with Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze. In detailing her story, we find it more intriguing to begin by taking an excerpt from a post she once contributed to Techpoint.

Suggested ReadHow did you ever launch your Startup without an Accountant?

“The overall reason for being in business is to make money, grow the money-making into a profitable level and then grow the profitability into wealth for the owners”.

If you're currently trapped in the web of confusion or perhaps smiling over such lofty ideals about entrepreneurship, all the same, the question that follows from the same excerpt puts all of that to bed.

“But how then do business owners know that they are actually making money, generating profit or even growing wealth if there is no form of measurement?” she asks.

Good enough that she followed with the question, as it is a true reflection of the reality that many entrepreneurs today are living a life of illusion; considering their inability to even realize the need for an active and proper accounting function in their business. And for those who simply understand the need for accounting function altogether, they are not just skilled enough to do it themselves or are probably engaging the wrong personnel. This, amongst others, is a validation of Accountinghub’s value proposition.

By the way, Chioma herself happens to be the founder of -- a professional services online shop, focused on offering brilliant bookkeeping and tax support to startups and small businesses. Accountinghub helps "small businesses" set up accounting systems quickly, painlessly and affordably.


The ever increasing need to measure business performance

Just like the proverbial lamb heading for slaughter, the emphasis most businesses place on profitability, at the expense of a need to have credible numbers, means they are already doomed from the onset or should be bracing up for a big disappointment.

In Chioma's views, measuring a business’ performance is next to having credible numbers. More importantly, these activities are both a step in the right direction for every entrepreneur who seeks to match their entrepreneurial pursuit with profitability, sensibly speaking.

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Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze, founder of Accountinghub

Strangely enough, some businesses occasionally cook up numbers to buy off investors' interest. A detestable practice like that, if avoided, can be influential in building credible numbers and making businesses bankable. That is to say that it increases their chances of successfully applying for a bank loan against all odds.

“To measure your business numbers, you need to measure how your business is doing. And to measure is to keep the record,” says Chioma.

So, between transiting from an idea to maturation and enjoying the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur altogether, it is important to track all spending and setup costs to ensure that they are in line with the business’ financial model. These then translate to having a valid record.

Creating a value chain centered around Small businesses

While Accountinghub can best be described as a professional service enterprise, their affinity with small businesses is another thing that makes their proposition attractive. It is true that no business should be denied the services of a good accountant, but the truth is that not many small businesses can afford to pay for it.

On the reason why Accountinghub focuses on small businesses, Chioma says, “small businesses are the ones mostly deprived of professional accounting.” She adds that there are over 40 million SMEs in Nigeria and over 90% of them are small businesses.

That being the case, the likely question that would now be on anyone’s mind is how Accountinghub manages to offer quality accounting services to a market that barely could afford the service. According to Chioma, this is achieved by “exploring the benefits of having a shared service theory; where many small businesses come together and afford good accounting”. By this Accountinghub has successfully developed a model where it serves the most number of people with affordable prices.

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Virtual retail meets tech accounting

In a bid to eliminate the need for small businesses to recruit or train in-house accountants, Accountinghub has specialized in cloud and virtual accounting to enable them offer simple but professional accounting services.  If you ever wonder whether this is anything like the regular accounting services most businesses get, the answer is "no".

Using a range of technology tools, carefully selected to meet the specific need of each small business, Accountinghub is able to allow clients have access to login into the cloud and access their account anywhere in the world. When you also consider that the same process can be used by one’s investors and shareholders to access shared information, then I’d say it’s a whole new brilliant life of accounting. But in spite of this, the ultimate aim is to get credible numbers. “However your business is, we use some technology to wrap around the processes to help us with credible numbers,” says Chioma.

Defying obstacles to becoming a financial tech guru

There is no gainsaying that the current local educational system seems quite obsolete compared to other developed nations. Having passed through the same educational system, Chioma's little beginnings have been shrouded by her over 11 years experience in bookkeeping, finance and consulting spanning over several industries of the economy. She holds a first degree in Accounting and masters in Accounting and Finance. She has also been a Chartered Accountant for 10 years and Chartered Tax Practitioner for 5 years. But I can only imagine how difficult it has been to attain these positions.

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“A lot of things that I am today are self-learnt. I had to make a lot of effort to self-develop myself. I’m not a technology person, but I am very techie. I had to learn technology to apply it in accounting to get a blend of what Accountinghub prepared for us to do”.

According to her, what most graduate accountants are taught in school is far from practical in real life. So the graduate accountant has absolutely no clue about what happens in real life. As a result, finding good accounting talent has been a major problem. “After thirty interviews, you find one accountant; that one, you even have to manage,” she remarks. Surprisingly enough, not everybody in her team has an accounting background. However, they are trained to become accountants.

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Outside of this, Chioma describes the overall experience and client feedback as amazing. She quit paid employment a little over a year ago to embark on this journey and already, Accountinghub is serving over 64 small businesses.
And talk of encouraging women to be actively involved in entrepreneurship, Accountinghub has just recently signed a contract with a women group (of about 2000 women) with a mandate to help setup the accounting of at least a 100 amongst them by December.

What else is there to say? If you already found yourself in need of professional accounting systems or services or even feel the need to re-examine your business' current performance, then you may just want to remember

Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.
Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.
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Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.

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