He has been handling organizational funds for over five years now. He is currently the Senior Accountant at UTAMU. He holds a Master’s Degree in Financial Management, he completed ACCA and CPA. UTAMU News had a chat with Mr. Baker Ssekitto and he shared his experience over the years in Accounting, auditing and real life issues.
Mr. Baker Ssekitto, Senior Accountant, UTAMU
You have been an Accountant for 5 years. How has the journey been? Share your experience with us
I joined like any other accountant and over the years I have gained experience, exposure and skills that have got me where I am today. The profession comes along with challenging moments and very good moments. There is so much pressure and so it calls for self-discipline, integrity and commitment. Over the years, I have been exposed to different opportunities and I have grown to love what I do.
I have learnt perseverance and integrity since I deal with money daily which is not mine. I have learnt to be foresighted. The most important thing is I have gained trust from the people I work with.
What makes you stand out as an Accountant?
Passion for what I do. In Accounting, you must have passion and love for the profession and Job. This is what makes you committed and keeps you going. This profession is not a piece of cake. Most of the time, we work under so much pressure, so you must love what you do. Also, an Accountant that wants to stand out must strive to acquire the right skills and yearn to learn new things every day.
Most people earn but hardly save. What do you advise them?
Culture of saving is what is missing. No matter how much you earn, you must save. This is called saving for a rainy day or saving to invest. Also, don’t live a life of impressing others. You must live within your means. Stop borrowing money to live a life you cannot sustain.
What are some of the common financial mistakes that people make?
Failure to budget. Budgets are either short term, midterm or long term. We must monitor our finances every single day. Why would you pay DSTV of 150,000 per month yet you are single and you go back home at 9:00pm every day. If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. All your income must be planned for so that you avoid living beyond your means and this also enables you to invest in bigger projects that can earn you money beyond a salary.
Most companies do not live to see their 3rd Birthday? As a Senior Accountant, what do you think is the problem?
Over trading is one of the major mistakes. Most businesses do not benchmark to find out how similar businesses are run and they end up obtaining loans which sometimes are not easy to pay back. Also, companies fail to communicate company goals to all employees. This is important because once everyone is aware of the goals, they work towards achieving them.
There are people who feel they earn too little to meet the basic needs of life and even save. What can one do to make it in life?
Revisit your lifestyle and find out what you spend the money on. Are you spending on basics or luxuries? This is key because if you don’t track every coin that you earn, you end up spending aimlessly and start borrowing money. Also plan, draw a budget with the income and expenses. How much do you spend on say lunch, fuel or transport or personal needs daily, weekly and monthly? But most importantly, you must save no matter how much you earn if you want to live a better life. If you master this, then you will have no problems with finances.
What financial advice do you have for people?
The epitome of finance is planning and control. Any normal human being earning some money should know how their finances flow. Also once you have planned, then control or monitor all expenses and track any deviations. This will keep you on track.
What challenges has this professions exposed you to?
There are so many temptations related to dealing with money which is not yours daily. You may have challenges that need money and you are dealing with money which is not yours. So, you need self-disciplined. Staying relevant as an accountant considering that the roles of an accountant are ever changing. The profession keeps evolving. Beyond just dealing with figures, accountants today are also charged with administrative roles. Also, most professional accountants are poorly paid which demotivates them and compromises their integrity.
The profession has exposed me to many opportunities and various people with high ranking positions in the accounting and auditing profession. This has created very important networks for me. I am also assured of earning a living which is a big achievement.
Advice to students pursuing business and accounting courses
Read extensively, obtain the right skills, the right knowledge and the right training with a positive attitude.