Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crew member of a very exciting ship

My name is Juanita Schrader, about 8 months ago I became part of the accounts team of Mobile Transactions South Africa offices. I can safely say that I had no clue what I was getting myself into (I mean this in a good way LOL).

I am one of three finance administrators, the other two being Marissa Kruger and Charlton Meavers . We report to the Accountant Leshain Armstrong. In a nutshell, our duties consist of ensuring that all activities like send to banks, deposits, auto bank postings, etc are processed correctly to the banks and the system with the help of the customer care personnel Tasira Nkhata who works from the Zambia office. One of my responsibilities is to ensure that various accounts have adequate balances for these activities to happen. My other major responsibility is called the daily system and bank reconciliation. This is done daily and reconciles transactions on the banks and the system. If there are any discrepancies; then it is investigated. It is really a team effort. We work together, help each other to investigate and resolve queries and give feedback to customer care. Our work is very customer care orientated and at times can be very challenging as it would be in any other business. It is a difficult concept to grasp at times if you have not visited Zambia and seen the agents trading and doing business. When there are a challenges; we are in the spotlight and have all hands on deck to assist but when everything is smooth sailing then we give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.

We also provide services internally to other departments. E.g. purchase of bulk airtime, sending funds to work accounts, making payments as requested, assisting with analysis for month end processing on pastel.

This is not your ordinary 8-5 admin job. We have a very structured day and timelines for doing send to banks and checking deposits. We are involved in decision making and improving of procedure and processes which is great to know that you can make a contribution that can have an impact. It’s also pretty awesome; this is my first real job and I can truly say that these are the foundations of my career in finance. Just the other day, we imported and approved our first 1000th automated Barclays’ batch and it felt fantastic to be part of such an achievement!

The IT Department and Accounting department are located in SA office. We recently moved into a bigger office which just goes to show we are growing .We are quite a young group of people which makes it an energetic and fun environment.

It is also a blessing to know that you have a job where you have a reason to wake up and say “oh yes I’m going to work” and not “oh work again”. So here’s to more growth personally and professionally as this ship continues on its journey to success!!

By Juanita Schrader

Finance administrator

Friday, July 8, 2011

A new type of agent

We’ve decided to try to create a new model of MTZ agent. I’m sure the idea has been done in other industries before, but it’ll be a first for us.

Outside of the Champion Agents that we directly manage, we picture that there are two types of new agents out there: those that have money but no time or inclination to manage a shop; and those that have time to manage a shop, but no money. In this post I want to tell you about our idea for the first group.

To date we’ve been approached by probably a half-dozen Zambian business men and women always asking the same thing: “I have some money, so how can I become one of your agents?” And our approach was always the same: “Here’s the contract, and here’s how much money you need, and here’s how you can check your statement, do your daily cash reconciliation, and get customer care support if you need help.”

But we’ve realized that this message is absolutely inadequate. These are businesspeople with money and multiple businesses already. They have no time. No time for customer care, or statements, or daily cash reconciliation processes. Our system isn’t difficult to master, but it does require a fair amount of ongoing oversight.

Because of these facts of the business, the end result for these potential agents has always been the same: they sign up, they put in the money, they get a manager or a niece or nephew to run the shop, then within a month or so the money is lost/stolen/unaccounted for and they close up shop.

So we thought of something different. What if all these people had to do was put in their money and we provided all the day-to-day management by training a person at head office and giving them a percentage of the revenue? We’d share the revenue earned from commission, with the outcome being the businessperson gets a steady stream of income and we get a new, liquid agent.

We’re going to try it in Kitwe, a Copperbelt mining town. For us who are always tight on cash, it’s a way to free up a lot of untapped capital and grow the liquidity of our network. But also, the businesspeople that may invest also know of other business opportunities and could open new doors for our agents. If we can generate a healthy and low-risk return for businesspeople keen to invest their money, then it could be a way for us to use the age-old owner-manager dynamic to grow our agent network much faster and further.

Graham Lettner,

Agent Manager.