• Friday, February 23, 2024
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Self development, key to building sustainable business – Folorunsho

Self development, key to building sustainable business – Folorunsho

Albert Folorunsho, a member of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee is a Managing Consultant at Kreston Pedabo. In this interview, Folorunsho spoke about the humble beginnings of Pedabo, the achievements, leeway for organisations trying to build a trans-generational legacy, Nigeria’s debt profile as well as the many steps the country is taking towards tax reform.

Can you provide an overview of Pedabo’s operational profile?

Kreston Pedabo is a professional firm that engages in audit, tax and advisory services. The primary motivation came from our desire to not only add value to the profession of accounting and tax services, but also to impact others by setting up a firm that we can truly separate from what is the norm. We wanted something different outside of the big audit firm and the others that are relatively unknown. So what we were determined to do was to come out of that category and find a way to stand out and also add to the profession. We came up with a couple of missions and visions that we have lived up to, and which we are still living up to, which is to have a firm that will be client centric, that will be available for the clients at any time, to manage relationships with our clients in the best possible way. We wanted the go to kind of organisation. Over time, we have seen ourselves grown into that even for services that are outside of our view, most clients still want to come back to ask us questions. A lot of clients now see us as partners, and confidantes in every respect of their businesses.

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How would you describe the past 25 years for Pedabo and your achievements far ?

The past 25 years have been eventful. If you look at our little beginning and how we have metamorphosed to where we are, the successes along the line and the challenges we have been able to surmount, we will say it has been very eventful. It is very interesting how we navigated along with the well established bigger firms. We have also survived the demands for resources, particularly human capital resources. The past 25 years have been very eventful.
Our major achievement is the fact that we have been able to make a statement in the professional space as a firm that provides outstanding services like most of the multinational in the business. We have had at least up to 1000 employees coming in and going who have become established on their own either as setting up their own firm or being established in the industry and going into other businesses and all of them have always come back to say thank you for the foundation they had here. So those are things that keep you going. Those are things that make us happy and encourage us to sustain a culture of excellence.

You transitioned from being a member firm of Morison Global to joining the Kreston Global Network. Can you detail the benefits of this change for your organization and Nigeria, particularly in terms of promoting indigenous firms with a global presence?

When we turned 10, we recognised that we needed to have an affiliation with a foreign firm, particularly because of the demand of more jobs coming our way. We had multinationals that were willing to use our services and hoped that they would be able to have reference to one affiliate or the other. So, we started with Morrison global. That was an association of firms that were trying to midwife their individual firms to excellence. We have been with them for years and they’ve been very beneficial. We have used some of their templates, we have also used their influence.
However, we have gotten to a level where we think we need more and if you need more, you look for a better association, and that is why we have transmitted now to the Kreston Global, which is more of a network than an association. Looking at their profile in Europe and other places, we believe there is much more for us to benefit from them than they would benefit from us. It’s just a starting point, but we can see it. So we believe that they’re going to add so much to our profile and sources. We expect a stronger Human Resources and referrals in terms of jobs. We believe that there will be growth and so we expect that that will be a springboard for us as a company, which will also impact Nigeria because we will be able to support Nigeria. I am a member of the Presidential Committee on fiscal policy and tax reform, and of course, all of those experiences will be brought to bear in my contribution to the committee which will definitely impact Nigeria.

 Folorunsho

 

What is bedeviling businesses to rise in Nigeria?

Well, I think it is a lack of professionalism. A lot of people are in a hurry to make millions instead of building the values, the profession and the resources that will make them to be well established. A lot of people come to our firm and ask how they can set up an organisation like ours. This is not something you do overnight, it’s something that matures over time. It is brain work, which means you need to continue to develop yourself. Self development is key. You need to be able to speak authoritatively on any subject matter that you profess. So most of our people may have money to set up the firm, but they don’t have the resources, they don’t have the knowledge. So those are major mistakes I have seen. I have a couple of people who have come and our partnership has lasted this long. We started as two and now we are 10 and we have a director making it 11 and we are managing ourselves because we are focused to develop ourselves. We focused on enhancing our resources. Our members and staff are growing and we are making them partners. We’re making them know that this is not a firm of Folorusho or Fashina, it is a firm for us. As long as we recognise the fact that the firm is for all of us, everybody is ready to put in their best.

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What are your expectations for the next 25 years? What significant changes do you anticipate?

This organisation we be ranking as one of the third biggest accounting firms in Nigeria. If you look at where we’re coming from, most of these bigger accounting firms have been in the system for over 150 years, so if we can get to this level at 25, definitely at 50 we’ll be more than double what we are. Our clientele is growing and our staff strength is getting stronger. Everything is just on the rise and we expect that as the younger ones come up with their own ideas, we don’t expect to be here as well as I don’t expect to be part of the team in the next 25 years, probably another 10 years. So with the way we have grown, all the people that have joined us as partners after we started are people that have grown with us, they know the culture, they know our mission, our vision, they will continue to harness this vision and mission. We know that will just be a good thing to build upon.

The Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria recently stated that approximately 7.8 million small businesses have closed in the country in the last two years. With your new management consulting services that include tailored solutions in strategy, HR and operations for SMEs, what can be done differently to reverse this trend, considering the importance of these businesses to economic development and job creation?

The big firms are getting bigger, because in this nature of economy, you need some level of strength, you need some level of support, financial support, fiscal reform, economic reform, monetary reforms. Those are the two that are stifling the economy and making these smaller firms to fold up. There has to be a lot of reform. As a member of the Presidential Committee, I can see that a lot of things are coming up. We are doing a lot to make things easy for the smaller firms. Some of these are in the form of tax breaks, access to funds, foreign exchange issues and commitment to both small and big firms. These are some of the issues facing small businesses. Personally, I have supported agriculture in my community and I’m still doing it and I think it is very easy. This is a matter of necessity to me not as a business. I think that the government can do much more to enhance agricultural development.
I believe that banks need to focus more on agriculture and SMEs. Yesterday, I traveled to a client’s farm where there is a palm tree farm of over 60 kilometers long. Within the next five years, that place will be goldmine. The project has been supported by the CBN in terms of funding, but smaller ones can be managed and everybody will be well to do. The one I am involved in has to do with cassava and so many ethanol companies are all over the place so they can buy all the cassava produced. This can be done by communities, by cooperatives in small scale, medium scale and then the market is there for them to sell. There’s some level of laziness when it comes to agriculture by our people as well.

Nigeria is considering tax reforms that would reduce the number of taxes levied by federal and state governments from over 60 to less than 10. What is your opinion on this plan?

The number of taxes that we have, when you evaluate them; how many of them are really generating revenue for the government? There are not more than 10, So why not just reduce it to 10 and focus on ensuring proper collection and administration of those taxes. Most of the others are not ever being captured by the government. Most of the others are just harassing businesses instead of supporting businesses and they’re not really generating revenue. Those are the issues , for me, it is something that I know will work. From what I can see, there will be compensation for all those taxes that are going to be scrapped through other means from the main sources which will compensate the local government, state governments and federal government for all those taxes that are just numerous and unfocused. So for me, it is a good development and I’m part of it and I know it will work.

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What is your perspective on the country’s debt profile? Should Nigerians be concerned about it?

Nigeria’s debt profile is not the problem. My concern is the ability to service those debts and the utilisation of those facilities. If we can truly utilise those funds for the purposes for which they were taken and then we are able to make the economy generate more revenue, we won’t have an issue.

Those debt profiles are not beyond what we have seen in other countries. So I believe that proper management and running of the economy can take care of all of those debt profiles we complain about instead of looking at how to utilize the form and make the economy function. If we do well, we will even require more debt. If you have a functioning economy that is generating enough revenue and utilising it appropriately, definitely like any other manufacturing entity, you will need more funds beyond your regular turnover.