BusinessDay

Companies must invest in people, processes, technology to drive growth – Ariyibi

KloverHarris Limited, a leading Nigerian company that is focused on proffering IT and HR solutions, has been helping businesses and public establishments to enhance their operations in Accounting and Tax Advisory, Learning and Development, as well as Recruitment services. BUKOLA ARIYIBI, Managing Partner of the company, in this interview with ZEBULON AGOMUO, spoke on the activities of her organisation, the role of IT in its service offering, among others. Excerpts:

By way of introduction, kindly tell us a little about KloverHarris?

KloverHarris Limited is an indigenous human capital consultancy company specialised in Learning and Development, Human Resource Outsourcing, Business Consulting, and Information Technology. We leverage IT to strengthen our innovative best-in-class solutions; this is well thought-out for us at Kloverharris, as it aligns with our overall goal to be the go-to company for businesses across Africa by 2030.

What are the unique roles of the company in accounting and tax advisory services?

Over the years, we have observed how tax compliance has become a major challenge for many businesses as they see taxation as a mine-field. As a result, they sometimes struggle with their remittances and obligations to the appropriate layers of government.

We at KloverHarris are turning this burden around for our clients, into a strategic enabler for their businesses. Our tax and advisory experts not only work with our clients to remit their taxes as and when due but also view taxation as a strategic opportunity to provide measurable insights.

For instance, we can guide our clients on how to take advantage of the incentives that apply to government schemes like Free Trade Zones [FTZs]. We are the stand-in between our clients and government policies.

We interpret the processes in very seamless ways and help them to meet their obligations. So far, this has positioned us as very trusted business partners to our clients.

How has KloverHarris fostered clients’ business growth in this area of service delivery?

It speaks to the essence of what we do. We take strategic views which throw up very interesting new opportunities for our clients. We measure their existing delivery processes and see how they align with their strategic goals and objectives; we then use industry best practices and our methodologies to put measurable service delivery growth plans in place.

Kindly share with us a recent accomplishment and its success story with clients?

We were approached by our client who is in the oil and gas industry. From the brief that was shared with us, the statement of the problem also came with the challenge that the business was on the brink of collapse due to liquidity issues and huge tax liabilities.

They could no longer cover their operating expenses as revenue wasn’t coming in. They had lots of receivables yet their clients were not paying.

You know once a business gets to that point and the decision makers don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, they usually just pack things up. We started by reviewing their contract agreements. Our ingenious approach was such that we ensured that no retention monies were being held up by contract employers. Interestingly, this very first step made a significant impact.

We realised how huge sums had been withheld by their clients longer than necessary. We contacted the companies that retained these funds and immediately started the process of getting them in. In no time there was cash to work with. We went on to review processed invoices to ascertain if there were any tax credit notes due to our client.

Again, we found sizeable chunks that we recovered which helped in reducing their liabilities. This was particularly emotional for me as I experienced something that meant a lot to people coming back alive again. Now for the clients, to say they were elated will be an understatement.

What are the measures a business should adopt to ensure precision in its accounting and tax transactions?

Accurate bookkeeping will be the first thing to take care of. Once your accounting is in order, then you are halfway there. You should also know the taxes that apply to your line of business. For instance, certain taxes like consumption taxes that may apply to a restaurant do not affect a consulting firm.

Paying the right taxes, I can’t over-emphasise that, you should ensure that you know the rates that apply to the various taxes due to your business and the deadlines. Remitting before deadlines will save you a lot of stress and penalties.

This can be quite cumbersome for business owners that do not have competent hands. That is why you need experts like KloverHarris to take away the stress while you sit back and focus on other business tasks.

What do KloverHarris’s Learning and Development offerings entail?

One of the pillars that supports a great business is its people. For our Learning and Development Initiative, we are focused on classroom training and e-learning. We are conversant with how Artificial Intelligence is being optimized in imparting knowledge.

As a business, we have identified this trend and positioned ourselves to meet the demands of our clients as they relate to e-learning.

Now for both classroom training and e-learning, before we deploy any solution to a client, we conduct a needs assessment, understand and spot the gaps, then ensure that our solutions are bespoke enough to address those needs. In class, we start with a pre-course assessment and close with a post-course assessment to measure learning outcomes.

How impactful are these services to clients’ staff human development and level of productivity?

Our learning and development solutions are designed to transform businesses to achieve their strategic objectives. We measure ourselves against international standards. I believe one thing that makes us different is that we use the best resources when delivering to clients. We value experience.

Our facilitators have a wealth of experience that we leverage on to offer a unique proposition to our clients. Considering our facilitators are so skilled in their various fields when they impart knowledge, they do it so well that participants benefit fully and in turn become more productive.

What sector of the economy do you focus on?

Since our inception, our objective has been to have a diverse client base across all sectors of the economy. To accomplish this, we partner and work with various formal bodies and local associations that have trusted affiliations with different businesses. It is interesting that regardless of the sector, for businesses to grow and meet their strategic objectives, the requirements are the same: Invest in People, Processes, and Technology to drive growth.

What is your recruitment service like?

We handle all recruitment and executive placement needs for our clients; junior-level, mid-level, and C-suite executives. We start by getting a full brief from our client, understanding in detail the kind of people they would like to hire, if they already have job descriptions, we would review them together and finalise them as it will help us during our search.

If they don’t, we can develop for them. We will then map the market and shortlist candidates to be interviewed by our in-house team. Once we complete our recruitment process, we send the shortlisted candidates to our clients for further interviews.

Read also: Three ways companies can attract, retain local tech talent

What are your unique experiences as a recruitment services company?

Our unique experience when it comes to recruiting is in our expertise. We spot talents of best fit. We are keen on experience beyond what we see on a Curriculum Vitae. We can always tell the difference between a CV and an Interviewee. It’s like night and day.

Beyond CVs, we help our clients spot candidates who are equipped with the knowledge to accelerate their businesses. We also believe that our talents of best fit should thrive in their career paths. Recall that I mentioned that it is a win-win for both the employer and the employee.

Our poor educational system in Nigeria has affected the crop of graduates currently in the recruitment pool. There are vacancies, but we find that some people are not employable

What distinguishes your service offerings from those of competitors?

Professionalism and quality.

How do you decide whether a candidate would be appropriate for your clients?

Identifying Technical competence is usually the easiest on the recruitment ladder. Some behavioural traits may not be obvious during interviews and so to help identify some salient traits we ensure that candidates take behavioural/psychometric tests that unfold qualities that may have been masked during interviews.

Once we can match technical skills with behavioural skills and align them with the company’s culture we can almost determine if a prospective candidate will be a good fit.

What are your success factors as a service provider in this regard?

Clients’ satisfaction, quick turnaround time, qualified candidates.

Are there challenges in the sector, and how have you been able to overcome them?

Our poor educational system in Nigeria has affected the crop of graduates currently in the recruitment pool. There are vacancies, but we find that some people are not employable. Organizations with high standards are devising strategies to increase staff retention so that new recruitments are low.

Another challenge we have noticed in recruitment is the brain drain or the ‘Japa Syndrome’. People are leaving the country in droves to seek greener pastures.

It has affected recruitment badly because the number of skilled people to select from is reducing daily. How have we been able to overcome this? Unfortunately, we are also facing this pressing problem, but we are working on something to hedge this.