Reverien Mutangana, director of finance and administration at EPC Africa-CEC, believes that specialisation positions finance leaders as competent professionals in-country and also opens doors to international opportunities.
"In secondary school, accounting wasn't on my radar,” Reverien Mutangana, director of finance and administration at EPC Africa-CEC remembers. “However, after completing high school with an impressive score, I found myself contemplating the next step. Friends mentioned that Rwanda was experiencing increased financial investment which steered me towards the field of finance."
Reverien's academic journey began at the University of Rwanda, earning him a remarkable 89 percent average score in his first year and providing the gateway to professional courses such as the Certified Public Accountant Rwanda (CPA) programme. The government sponsored his CPA studies as part of the first cohort of students to qualify for Rwandan certification.
"As an auditor at Grant Thornton Rwanda, I quickly climbed the ranks, becoming a senior auditor within a year. My academic background and performance since high school allowed me to adapt seamlessly. By 2016, I found myself managing audits and delving into advisory and tax roles," he says.
Brussels Airlines recognised Reverien's talents, leading to a role as finance supervisor at the airline, a turning point that broadened his skillset and marked the beginning of impactful contributions to the financial landscape.
He worked for the airline for four months representing an outsourcing service provider (GPO Partners) where he served as an auditor for two years.
"In May 2020, I joined EPC Africa Group as head of finance and contributed to the listing of the group’s subsidiary Energicotel on the Rwanda Stock Exchange in 2021,” Reverien recalls.
EPC Africa, a private company with subsidiaries spanning energy, construction, logistics, and trade, presented Reverien with a multifaceted leadership challenge, showcasing his ability to navigate complex organisational structures. He has served the company in two stints, for two years from 2020 as a head of finance to August 2021, and as director of finance and administration from November 2022 to date.
In between, he served as chief accountant at Africa Improved Foods and as a part-time CFO at Clezol, a construction company.
Of the matters he has had to deal with as head of finance at EPC, Reverien states, "Managing supplier contracts from abroad, where payment is in USD, presents a significant challenge. Currency exchange rate volatility adds complexity to financial planning. Economic challenges, including rising prices, also impact investments and income."
Reverien's approach to challenges is rooted in strategic thinking, adaptability, and a keen understanding of the economic landscape, going beyond financial management to steer the company through economic fluctuations.
"I lead by example. It's not just about giving instructions; it's about giving your own example. Teamwork is essential. If I tackle one account, and my team sees how it's done, they can handle it themselves next time. It's about achieving the overall expectations of my department," he explains.
Reverien's leadership style emphasises teamwork and shared responsibilities, fostering a collaborative spirit within the team and showcasing his commitment to a collective approach to success.
"Beyond the numbers, I find balance in playing the guitar and practising karate. Despite my physical stature, I'm a proficient guitarist while karate that provides me with extra energy to perform my duties," he says.
Reverien's unexpected passion for playing the guitar and involvement in a church choir highlight the diverse interests that shape his identity, showcasing a harmonious integration of his multifaceted pursuits.
"I advise finance professionals to move beyond textbook knowledge and to understand the broader economic context and the practical implications of their work on investors. Specialising in relevant courses and positions you not only as a competent professional nationally but opens doors to international opportunities," he explains.
"For me, being a finance director is about achieving the financial goals of the companies I serve. It's about ensuring the proper functioning of the organisation and aligning with overarching objectives. The lowest points in my career have been when financial advice goes unheeded, hindering the company's ability to meet its objectives," he adds.
Amidst demanding professional responsibilities, Reverien maintains a balance with his personal life. Married with a one-year-old son, he navigates the intricacies of family life alongside his leadership role.
“It's about harmonising diverse aspects of my life," he states.