Monday, 04 July 2022

Bakani Ngulani: The Unconventional Accountant

Approach and objectivity matter when you need the service of an Accountant, and Bakani Ngulani is one with a simple approach and is always objective in solving accounting challenges or establishing systems for businesses. He is unconventional.

Bakani Ngulani is the founding director of BN Business Solutions, an accounting firm dedicated to serving Small and Medium Enterprises in South Africa. Ngulani has vast experience in accounting, taxation, consultancy and audit function of companies across various categories, including retail, mining, manufacturing, textile, consultancy and non-profit organisations.

Bakani is also a director of Accountica, Certified Accountants and Tax Practitioners specialising in Accounting, Payroll and Taxation solutions company based in Johannesburg.

At the age of 23; Bakani left employment as a chartered accountant articles clerk to open his own accounting firm BN Business Solutions. He has successfully grown the firm from a one-man bedroom office company to an organization with head offices in Corporate Park South Midrand. With a foot toward Namibia, BN Solutions is in major cities in South Africa, with offices in Johannesburg, Capetown, Durban, and Polokwane; all conceived and established by the leadership of Bakani Ngulani. 

Bakani who was born in 1993 to a primary school educator and entrepreneur; studied O Level at John Tallach High School where he focused primarily in Science oriented subjects. At A Level he studied at Midlands Christian College and this time around studied arts with the ambition of being a lawyer. He passed both levels with distinctions!

His Articled career began straight after high school in 2012, where he joined PNA Chartered Accountants (Z), this being the inspirational job that triggered and established his passion providing “business solutions”; a vision to be fulfilled five years later. He then moved to South Africa two years later where he joined a local audit firm in Houghton.

The story was that, faced with the decision of which university and course to take, Bakani surprisingly joined an accounting firm, to serve as an Articles in chartered accounting clerk. Once his employment was secured, he enrolled with UNISA to study his BCompt Accounting Sciences specializing in Financial Accounting. Through this move, Bakani was able to gain working experience whilst studying towards his degree; a move he says catapulted him into maturity in the profession and placed him in a position it would have otherwise took him six years to reach. 

Fast forward to 2019, at the frontier of regional expansion of his business, Bakani is studying for a Masters’ in Business Administration (MBA) to help him better run his entrepreneurial ventures and offer business advice beyond accounting to his clients.

I remember being in his office once and he had a stack folder filled with papers and books, and in the middle of the conversation he acknowledged his need to exit his work life to complete his assignments. Being busy at work must never stop young people from furthering their education. It is not easy to run a regional accounting firm and still find time to study for a demanding qualification as an MBA.

In this networked world, corporate social investment for a company is important, even so that investment by the CEO of a business, and Bakani knows this very well. He is an active ambassador for anything that speaks to youth empowerment; a thing that resonates quite well with that particular segment of the population bearing in mind his age. By virtue of his career path he enjoys discussing all things business especially around the subject of compliance, accounting and digitization.

In recent years, has spoken at several events, such as the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants, Nedbank in conjunction with the Small Biz Expo and at Colgate. He has received media coverage across all platforms including TV and newspapers for his achievements and thought leadership.

In June 2016 he was a Finalist for the Sage One 702 Small Business Awards. In November 2017 he was the NSBC National Young Entrepreneur Champion, and got the NSBC Top 20 Small Business Award. In May 2018 he was listed on the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards Finalists, and the South Africa Male Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists.

In June 2018 he was accorded the SADC Titans Building Nations, and also was one of the Entrepreneur Magazine top 50 Black entrepreneurs to watch.

Every team is defined by the leader, and every leader is defined by those he leads. BN Business Solutions, are a ‘purely millennial’ company that focuses on utilising modern day technology to provide professional and innovative accounting and consultancy services to businesses and entrepreneurs.

My encounter of the BN Business Solutions team was a clear definition of corporate culture and leadership model – active service. When I had my first meeting with Ngulani, I arrived at the BN Business Solutions office, enter the reception, was welcomed and took a seat. As I waited on of Ngulani, in came one of the managers, she asked if I was comfortable and offered me coffee. I was specific; strong black with one sugar, and exactly that is what I was given. Whilst the coffee was coming, another manager was passing by and greeted and asked about my comfort. 

Just this welcoming environment is good grounds for a new business owner to feel cared for, an element many accounting firms miss, but BN Business Solutions is spot on. Had I come looking for an accounting firm, I would have gone through a few minutes meeting, then asked for where to sign. Accounting in this day and age, and any other, is all about ability for the firm to care and understand the challenge of systems that the business owner has, and show care means they are able to move a business from loss making to profitability, and from non-compliance to compliance. 

BN Business Solutions has one of the best staff of young qualified individuals that demonstrate dedication, making sure customer’s accounting and bookkeeping is up to date, serving the business owner in the best way possible.

I was early, and when he arrived, we went into his office, and began our meeting. Our coffee came, and he began telling me some of the encounters he had in the industry for accounting for various businesses, and in all I could see the leader his team follows. He is well spoken, to the point, a good listener, yet shrewd in business conduct. Things get done, but be happy as you do them, is the non-verbal communication that is churned out at his office.

The team is only as good as the leader, and Ngulani lead by active participation and with a coaching model. His story is one of simplicity fused with excellence and consistency.

He is author of several published articles on the company blog, and also on LinkedIn’s Pulse. Running an award-winning business at 25 in South Africa is not a walk in the park, and having gone through the churning process himself, Bakani did not see the need for other people to try and reinvent the wheel. He has replicated his personal enterprising model to a business model, that has been adopted and multiplied by his team.

In the process of publishing a book, titled “In business at 25”, Bakani speaks about his journey into business and resonates well with people in various stages of business and not only those in business at 25 as the title suggests. The book touches on various practical aspects from registration, marketing, getting the first client right up to expansion stage.

Source: Cabanga Media Group