Martins*, a Nigerian entrepreneur in his late forties, had established two wholesale outlets for selling alcohol. However, just two years after opening his second shop, he was forced to close down his business. His friend, in a casual conversation, remarked that if Martins had been more financially accountable, his business would have had a better chance of survival.
However, Martins’ friend soon found himself on the receiving end of a passionate lecture about how it was the Nigerian government that needed to be held more accountable for the widespread corruption that was undermining the economy.
In Africa, we easily acquiesce that the lack of governmental accountability is fostering economic bankruptcy but are slow to accept the role a similar attitude can play in personal enterprises. As if limited access to finance and the volatile socio-political and bumpy economic environment in Africa aren’t enough trouble, business owners and founders are handling company finance the way they handle their personal finance—poorly. Financial mismanagement due to low levels of financial literacy, or outright extravagance is causing several SMEs and tech startups to shut down.
Temi Adenuga realised this after spending about four years handling accounting, auditing and tax information management for medium and large businesses. Optimistic and with a vision to help African businesses live long enough to become legacies, Adenuga founded Accountable in 2018.
Accountable aims to give business owners access to proactive oversight of their finances through technology and financial expertise garnered in asset management, the healthcare sector, and more.
With a subscription-based model, it provides a range of services that can be grouped into four main categories: process improvement, bookkeeping, tax, and exit/succession planning. Through its process improvement services, Accountable enables businesses to concentrate on delivering value to their customers. The bookkeeping services offered by AccountAble help its clients assess their performance and profitability, identify critical areas for improvement, and make informed business decisions.
Accountable also assists businesses in navigating the complex African tax landscape and identifying legal opportunities to reduce costs. Additionally, Accountable collaborates with clients to create a comprehensive succession plan that ensures a smooth transfer of ownership and identifies possibilities for growth and expansion.
In the past four years, Accountable has catered to a notable list of clients, including Alliance Francaise Lagos, Synlab Nigeria, Bogobiri Limited, Nguvu Health, Oretol Nigeria Limited, and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN), among others. Although most of their clients are based in Nigeria, the financial advisory and management firm claims to serve businesses in the UK and Ghana as well.
Accountable’s CEO, Adenuga, disclosed to TechCabal that they are actively pursuing expansion to other African countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, and South Africa.
This is in response to a growing trend of mergers and acquisitions, expansion of businesses beyond their home base, and a rise in sustainable investing and socially responsible businesses.
“These developments require a deep understanding of financial and regulatory frameworks, as well as customised solutions that offer financial expertise, market insights, and strategic planning,” said Adenuga.
Accountable is still bootstrapped but it has begun expanding its services beyond financial advisory, recognizing the challenges that African businesses face in accessing funding. While the company does not directly provide funding, CEO Adenuga explains that they can assist businesses in developing effective financial strategies and connecting them with potential investors and lenders.
In line with its commitment to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Accountable has established a dedicated team that specializes in providing SMEs with financial literacy, guidance on compliance requirements, strategic advice on growth and expansion, accounting software, financial planning tools, and educational resources. To meet the varied needs of its clients, the startup has partnered with technology providers such as cloud Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage.
Furthermore, Accountable has collaborated with other professional service providers, such as law firms and insurance firms, to offer a comprehensive suite of services. Adenuga emphasizes the company’s ultimate goal of being a trusted partner to its clients, achieved by embracing technological advancements, investing in a talented team, and expanding its product offerings.
*Martin, not his real name