1. Tell us a bit about yourself – Who is Tapiwa Chizana?
I am a full Partner and I am responsible for the Deloitte Bulawayo office. I am on the Management Committee that runs operations for Deloitte Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. I am in charge of Risk and Reputation portfolio. I am also the Chairman of the Matabeleland Society of Charted Accountants and I sit on the council of Institute of Charted Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), which is the decision making body of the institute.
2. Can you give us a scoop into a day in the life of a Senior Partner? What does an average day look like?
My average day involves different types of duties. We do audit so I am involved in planning, doing and supervising audits, and I review audit files as well. I issue reports to clients of audits that we undertook, completed and reviewed. I guess I am the face of Deloitte in Bulawayo so that means I spend some time interacting with business people both in informal and informal settings. I am in meetings quite a lot with clients understanding what their needs are and what their issues are, and doing things that would help the city and also promote the Deloitte brand in Bulawayo. I also get involved in other events and today (9 April) I just came from adjudicating an event, which was held by Zimbabwe Institute of Management. I spent a few hours adjudicating the awards that ZIM give to different people. That was just part of my contribution to the business community with the role I play here at Deloitte and being visible in the market and being an ambassador of Deloitte. I am also involved in Business Rescue. This means as part of my duties I help companies who are on the verge of liquidation turn around and recover to a healthy sustainable business. Business rescue is equivalent to a company being placed under judicial management whereby we end up basically taking over the company and help it move forward.
3. Can you describe something of the road that led to where you have?
Initially I wanted to be an engineer. My sister is also an accountant who had finished high school before started working whilst doing here tertiary education. This seemed very attractive that you could earn soon after high school. I liked the idea of earning whilst studying and the flexibility involved in it and the independence. So when I wrote my Maths in June and passed I applied to Deloitte Harare as I grew up in Gweru. I worked for Deloitte and I was working by day and studying at night. I passed my Accounting degree straight through. I even went further to do my post-graduate degree and did my PA exams to be a certified accountant.
4. Mind taking us through the timeline of your rise?
I became a Chartered Accountant in five years from the time I finished high school. Please highlight what happened after passing PA exams? How did you end up in Bulawayo? How long have you been a full partner?
5. What is the biggest challenge in your role? How do you deal with it?
The biggest challenge would have to be the economy. At times, you meet struggling clients who look to you for advice, help and information of their business transformation and we do our best. Sometimes we do work which is worth ten times more than the customer pays due the economic climate.
6. How do you deal with working for ten times less than your work is worth?
We do the work anyway due to the moral obligation we have to our clients. I think there is more to life than just money and we want to help businesses move forward. We also taking a long-term view, business is a long-term game. Clients that may be struggling today may not be struggling tomorrow. People will be loyal and remember your commitment and scarifce when things were tough. At the end of the day we feel that our work helps strengthen businesses and help them become more profitable which is much needed in this country so we wouldn’t want to sabotage economic recovery because people cantpay wht we think they should pay.
7. What was your biggest learning curve/experience?
Involvement in the company turn around programs. I think I have gained some good experience dealing with workers, trade unions, banks and investors, dealing with the full spectrum of stakeholders, some of them in distress.
8. How has that learning curve/experience helped you grow into this role?
I think it has majorly increased my business acumen, my understanding of business processes. It has made me more aware of my working economic environment. I have grown to understand even more the big gap between low-level employees and management.
9. What do you think most people do not realize about your role in the business?
The massive responsibility we have to our staff and clients. People expect us to be thought leaders and rightfully so. They expect us to uphold a certain level ethical behaviour and integrity. There is a lot of trust that cannot be taken for granted.
10. Can you tell us about some of your other areas of involvement outside of work?
I leader a church called Hope City Church which is part of Newfrontiers in Zimbabwe. Hope City Church is part of a multisite church called Thembalezizwe Church. Thembalezizwe Church is made up of Hope City, Thembalezizwe Trenance and Thembalezizwe Hamara in Umguza. I lead all the three church but each church has its own local site leader. We recently planted a church in a place called St Peters, in the Old Pumula direction. It’s not part of our church but we helped plant that church.
11. Please tell us about your family life?
I am married to beautiful Flora and we have three children together two girls one boy. Maita who is six and a half, Rutendo 4, and Tinaye 2 who is the only boy. What do they do?
12. How do you balance work life and personal life seeing you are a busy person
With great difficulty. What has helped me is getting my priorities straight. I put God first, then family, work and church in that order. I always aim to maintain balance of this. It is doable but very difficult. I have to admit that this is not for everyone though and for those who do it, it is not for all seasons of life. You do it as long as you can, and as long as you have grace to.
13. Words of advice to those looking to work in a similar position one day
Hard work and discipline are key to success in this position. You must be willing to say goodbye to your social life for a few years. What I can also tell you is that it’s fulfilling and worth it at the end of the day.