Winning Women – Amanda Moloto: Doing the numbers???for a better SA

2013-10-14 08:00

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Life began to add up for accountant and COO of  HOC, Amanda Moloto, when she and her two partners launched their own business five years ago, writes Sue Grant-Marshall

Amanda Moloto typifies the entrepreneurial approach to life that South Africa so badly needs if it is to succeed as a winning nation.

While remaining firmly rooted in family and community, the Lebowakgomo-raised professional has leapt at every opportunity that has come her way during her young life.

Lebowakgomo is a township in Limpopo.

Today, Moloto is the chief operating officer of a small but rapidly growing accounting firm, HOC Consulting (Pty) Limited, based in the Joburg CBD.

HOC provides accounting as well as management, taxation and business consulting to small and medium enterprises and municipalities.

Its aim is to take the headache out of running a business on the figures side of it, for this flummoxes and disheartens many people who have started their own businesses.

And because Moloto and her two partners, Paul Tsotetsi and Archie Xhakaza, started off in the same manner that so many of their clients do today, they understand intrinsically what services their company needs to provide.

She says: “But we’re more than just an accounting firm. We want to contribute to the care and upliftment of the broader South African society.

“We focus our corporate social investment activities primarily in three areas – skills development, entrepreneurship and nonprofit organisations (NPOs).”

When she and her professional accountant partners launched HOC in 2009, they were well aware that there were many accounting firms in South Africa.

And in order to differentiate themselves and to grow, they “needed to think of innovative ways to sell ourselves”, she says.

As they were doing the books for clients in Gauteng, they realised those in the NPO sector had problems.

“They lacked skills on the financial side of things and they needed help regarding their compliance with government regulations in the sector,” says Moloto.

As her firm concentrated on helping their clients, she and her partners foresaw an opportunity to develop their business by creating a service that could help NPOs.

“We estimate there are about 89?000 of these and many of them need help,” says Moloto.

Government requires all such organisations to comply with reporting regulations in terms of the NPO Act. Some are struggling with this.

Moloto gives the example of a woman living in a township who wants to look after young orphans but has no clue about administering an NPO, “because, quite naturally, her focus is the kids”.

Yet a person such as this will not be able to apply for funding if her financials are not right.

“We are in the process of developing a system called impAcc that we have created to address just those challenges,” says Moloto.

“We’ve simplified the financial accounting to the extent that someone who has had no experience in it will be able to use our system.”

A monitoring and evaluation system, impAcc ensures that an NPO will fulfil all its compliance issues as well as detail how funds have been used and the impact the organisation is making in the community.

There’s a bonus for aid organisations that provide funding. HOC will provide direct feedback on the NPOs it services to donors, “so they know what it (the money) is being spent on”, says Moloto.

“Obviously, all parties concerned will give us permission to do so. It will add credibility to the NPOs,” she says, adding that HOC will employ new accounting graduates that it will train to support NPOs on a daily basis.

In addition, HOC’s entrepreneurship skills programme is accredited by North-West University.

The programme trains the company’s start-up entrepreneurs on how to run and finance a business as well as gain marketing skills.

In doing so, Moloto and her partners are sticking to their original focus – to uplift the South African society.

She “chose” her parents well, she says, for they spotted the bright mind of their little girl early on, and sent her to Jeppe High School for Girls in Joburg.

“They wanted to expose me to more opportunities than I would find in Lebowakgomo, and it was a good move for it made me independent.”

Moloto obtained her national diploma in cost and management accounting at the University of Johannesburg and was subsequently employed by Absa as a finance administrator.

Some time later, in search of a challenge, she decided to do her articles at SA’s fifth largest auditing firm, SizweNtsalubaGobodo.

“I took a salary cut but I had a goal and obtained my BCom (Accounting) honours in 2006,” she explains.

It was there where she met her now partners; and in 2009, they took the leap to go it alone, which, according to her, in hindsight, was premature.

“We had tough times with no working capital because we had no security or assets, and funding institutions seldom fund professionals”.

Today, HOC has eight permanent staff members, all aged under 35. The young entrepreneur who dreamt of developing youth, creating jobs and leaving a legacy, is heading fast down that track.

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