Name: Manyara Chigunduru
Business: Marianhill Chartered Accountants
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Industry: Financial Services
Reason for starting? I started Marianhill Chartered Accountants because I felt that I had a purpose to achieve and that for me to fulfill that purpose I should be running my own business. I noted that in our industry almost all accounting firms were owned by men and the drive was always the same: money. I wanted Marianhill CA to be different. I realized that most clients wanted people or service providers who will give them value first and foremost and a service provider who understood their needs deeply and provides tailor made solutions. The need to have some financial independence and be able to use my time for the benefit of others and directing my destiny made me start my own business. I knew right from the onset that, while it would take some time to fulfill my purpose, it would be time well lived to bring positive change to people and organisations that I interact with as I provide my services with purpose.
How do you define success? Success to me means living according to my purpose. It is the fulfillment of the desire to make a positive difference to people that I come into contact with. My success is measured by the people whose lives are changed for the better when I interact with them. Success is the number of leaders that I groom in my business, the chartered accountants that become successful after passing through my hands, the women entrepreneurs whose businesses change for the best when they pass through my hands. My success is all about how my life touched your life and made a positive impact to you.
Biggest success: My biggest success was to start an accounting firm as a woman and have it registered and accredited to be a training office for chartered accountants, and enrolling our first trainee accountants.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Scaling up my business from having no clients at all to having clients who are satisfied with the value that we give them has been my greatest challenge. There are so many accounting firms in our country, and yet our economy is not expanding at the same rate. Thus we are all chasing after the few clients that are available, and a firm needs to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack to attract more clients. We have managed to grow our clientèle base through a number of customer loyalty initiatives that we have put in place. We have made sure that we are not just an accounting firm looking for clients, but we have become partners with our clients, thus as they grow we also grow. The increase in number of clients meant increase in number of assignments, thus we have increased our staff compliment so that all assignments are well resourced and value is created for our clients.
Who is your most important role model? My role model in our country is a lady who started her own private security company from her kitchen with only four employees. Now here company is one of the largest security companies in our country employing about 3000 staff members. She is also the current president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. Her name is Divine Ndhlukula. She is also my mentor.
Edited by The Story Exchange