CFO Kennedy Muriungi says you need to innovate or die!

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Kennedy Muriungi, the CFO of Camusat's Uganda operations, shares one of his weird and interesting reads that challenges conventional thinking, how people interpret situations, and helps with both personal and business success.

Camusat is a telecommunication engineering company that specialises in five business lines including construction and installation of towers for telecommunication. The company also involves itself in bringing energy solutions to the telecommunications sector. The French group of companies has operations in several companies in Africa.

Kennedy Muriungi is the CFO of the Uganda operations having been appointed in July 2022. He previously worked in the accounting departments of the group in Kenya and Botswana.

Of the challenges of working in the telecommunications sector, Kennedy says, “It is very unpredictable. We are in the technological space where prices keep going down which is why you find that a phone call today probably costs you less than what you were paying five years ago. As a leadership team, our challenge is keeping revenue up while reducing our charges to consumers.”

“For this reason, you have to innovate or die because continuous price reductions mean that your cash flow is always shrinking. We have responded by diversifying our business units to other types of operations. In addition, we cannot stick to one method of operation and that includes the finance department where we have digitalised our work extensively. Our revenue in Uganda is of the size of a typical listed entity in the region yet we have less than ten finance people in the department managing it,” he says.

Among the measures taken to digitise accounting is ensuring that suppliers bring their invoices in entry ready format such that the information is captured directly into the ledger. The company has a robust reporting system where the data from the system is summarised in a specific way that enables analysis and reporting to the group and partners. The team ensures consistency in the data which ensures proper flow from data entry to reporting without errors.

Controlling risk

Kennedy did not start off as an accountant. He pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science at Dedan Kimathi University graduating in 2014. He did not find the degree particularly challenging and enrolled for Certified Public Accountant studies which he pursued part time qualifying as a CPA (K) also in 2014. He joined EY in Nairobi as an associate auditor and fell in love with accounting and data analysis there.

“I left EY in 2016 to help my father start a school in our hometown of Meru. Once the school was up and running, I joined Camusat in Nairobi as an accountant in April 2017. In March 2019, I joined the Gaborone office as a financial controller and I was promoted to my current position in Kampala last year,” Kennedy says.

Other than the need for innovation, Kennedy has learnt that controlling your risks is pivotal for business success. You have to be prepared for all eventualities including losing key customers. For this reason, businesses need to ensure that they do not harbour concentration risk by relying on a few customers for their revenue particularly in the B2B space.

Kennedy has learnt a lot from the business books he reads. The books he recommends include Atomic Habits by James Clear which teaches how to break units of problems into smaller units so as to solve them quicker.

“A weird read that I would also recommend is The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. The author Kevin Dutton really challenges conventional thinking and how people interpret situations. It is a really interesting book worth reading for both personal and business success,” he concludes.

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