CFO Kelvin Musana believes in focusing on financial and personal health

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Standard Chartered Uganda CFO Kelvin Musana’s fascination with finance was sparked at a young age, when he delved into Frank Woods’ Business Accounting Volume 1 while waiting on his Grade 7 results.

Standard Chartered Uganda CFO Kelvin Musana’s fascination with finance was sparked at a young age, when he delved into Frank Woods’ Business Accounting Volume 1 while waiting on his Grade 7 results. Before high school, he familiarised himself with double-entry bookkeeping, laying the groundwork for a successful journey in the banking industry.

"I view success as an ongoing journey rather than a fixed destination. It's a continuous pursuit with no definite endpoint. Success, to me, is achieving a harmonious balance across various dimensions of life: financial, mental, social, health, spiritual, and more. When everything aligns and functions smoothly, that's when one can truly consider oneself successful,” he says.

Kelvin's tenure as CFO at Standard Chartered spans over two decades, commencing as a financial controller in 1998 at Standard Chartered Bank Zambia. He was promoted to CFO in Zambia in 2005, a position he held for nine years before transitioning to the same role at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda. In between, he has been exposed to working in various other markets and roles, all within finance. He praises the company as an entity with boundless opportunities.

‘If I want to work in a different market, I have that in Standard Chartered. If I want to work in a different department, I have that too. It's like going into this one big department store, which sells very good quality and has so many options at your disposal. Why would you want to go to another store elsewhere?’ Kelvin explains.

Throughout his illustrious career, Kelvin has placed a premium on building and nurturing high-performing teams. As a CFO, he subscribes to the philosophy of servant leadership, viewing himself as a facilitator of his team's success. “When you bring in your team, the team is not working for you, you're working for them,” he says, underscoring his commitment to providing the necessary tools and support for his team members to excel.

Adaptability and foresight

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and evolving regulatory landscapes, Kelvin emphasises the importance of adaptability and foresight. He recognises the significance of leveraging emerging technologies such as AI while also addressing pressing issues like climate sustainability. For Kelvin, staying ahead of the curve means understanding the evolving needs of stakeholders and regulators and harnessing innovative solutions to meet these demands.

Kelvin lists one of his greatest achievements as seeing people who he has influenced do great things in various areas especially those who end up becoming CFOs.

“I would say one of my greatest accomplishments is having people who have gone on to be appointed to significant roles coming back to say ‘thank you, for having played your part in my career’. I have been in Uganda for eight plus years heading to nine. When I look out into the market, I see about three CFOs of reputable companies in whose careers I have played a part, and I consider it a good thing because life is about having a positive impact on other people,” he adds.

In an industry full of risks, Kelvin notes that it is important to understand and identify your risks, and have a step-by-step strategy to ensure everybody on the team has the right understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

“Before you even take the first step, think through it deeply, see what can go wrong, identify all the risks and see how you could close them. There are some things you can avoid and others that you can’t. You need to be able to distinguish between the two and focus on the execution,” Kelvin advises.

“However, no matter how prepared you are or how much you have planned, things can go wrong so it is important to have a plan B and a plan C in case you have to take a different route. It is also important to work as a team to identify the problem and have a plan on how to move forward,” he adds.

Complete individuals

Kelvin has sat on different boards throughout his career including those that provide mentorship to young students where he guides the youth on career and helps them grow. He emphasises the importance of taking charge of financial plans and personal health as early as possible.

“In terms of health and financial focus, start early. Then from a professional perspective, just focus on learning, especially the early stages in one’s career when your obligations are not that many,” he advises.

Kelvin also encourages the youth who are just starting out in their careers to try and grow in all aspects of their lives in order to be complete individuals and not just thinking about the next pay cheque.

Outside work, Kelvin enjoys running. His regular milestone is 21 kilometres but he is looking to do a full marathon soon. When he is not spending time with family or mulling over Frank Woods’ principles, he is witnessing the likes of Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard turning up for his favourite football team Arsenal.

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