Spotlight Interview: Thapelo Maqoabikane – From Trainee to Finance Manager, Embracing Challenges and Achieving Success in the World of Accounting

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Introduction:

In this captivating Spotlight interview, we delve into the remarkable journey of Thapelo Maqoabikane, Finance Manager at Tradeline Corporation Group. From his humble beginnings in the district of Mohale’s Hoek to his current role, Thapelo shares his inspiring backstory and professional growth.

Join us as we explore the challenges he faced while pursuing his accounting qualifications and the invaluable lessons he learned along the way. With diverse experiences in local companies and subsidiaries, Thapelo’s approach to financial management has been shaped in unique ways, making this interview a true testament to dedication and resilience in the world of accounting.

Q1. Tell us about your backstory. (Where you grew up, your academic history, up until where you are now professionally).

I grew up in district of Mohale’s Hoek, where I did my primary School at Bothoba Pelo Primary school. I proceeded with my secondary and High school Level at Paul VI High school in the same district of Mohale’s Hoek.

After my High school level, I was admitted to Centre for accounting studies in 2015 January. This is where I did my Certified Accounting Technician and had its graduations in 2016 October while I was still pursuing my General Accounting and graduated in 2017. I then proceeded with my chartered accounting stage. In 2018 while I was doing my chartered accounting, I was offered an employment at Solar Lights as an accountant while before that I was working with Technocare Ltd as part-time accountant, all this are local companies located in the district of Maseru.

End of 2018 I had some preliminary interview with the Group CEO of Tradeline Corporation Group where I am currently working. 2019 January I was offered a trainee position to one of their Financial sector subsidiary where I performed well. The same year in September I was made Finance and Administration of the same subsidiary. January 2020 I was promoted to a position of Group Finance officer for all the subsidiaries including the Parent company till 2021 December. 2022 I was then given a position of Finance and Investment Consultant with this role I was doing the same work I was doing while I was the finance officer the only difference was that, this time around on my portfolio there was an element of Consultancy where I was mainly focusing on Financial Advisory transactions.

Currently I am working as a Finance Manager of Tradeline Corporation Group based in Malawi.

I am currently an active registered Accountant with Lesotho Institute of Accountants- and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants- ACCA, Currently waiting for my application feedback from Institute of Chartered Accountants Malawi – ICAM.

Q2. What were the most significant challenges you faced while pursuing your accounting qualifications, and how did you overcome them?

The first challenge was balancing school, friendships and family. I managed to overcome such by communicating with my family and friends that I still love and care for them and they should try to understand for those few years. As for friendship I had to make new friends with my classmates then so that we should spend more time together while also still studying. It was such a fruitful friendship because most of the time we were doing school work, not even interested on expensive clothes or eating.

Secondly, the next challenge was keeping up with lectures because at CAS the speed that lectures takes is high and for one to maintain such was to study the topics before class and after class to do lot of exercises to ensure that you really understand the topic.

Q3. Throughout your journey, you’ve worked with various local companies and subsidiaries. How have these diverse experiences shaped your approach to financial management, and what valuable lessons have you learned along the way?

This is such an interesting question. Firstly diverse experience has helped to gain more experience on how people do things. This is from Local NGOs, international NGOs to private sector. The most interesting sector being the Financial sector as it is such a challenging sector. in our profession where we apply the most challenging accounting standards.

All this has shaped me to think things thoroughly before I can say my opinion and before I can finalize something. Also, to ensure that I have reviewed my work, on personal basis this experience shaped me to plan and budget my finances properly before I can use them.

Additionally, I learned to keep tracking all my expenditures, like now you can laugh when I tell you that I have my personal records from January 2021.

The most valuable lessons I have learned along the way are as follows;

  • Plan properly, it is never too late to do such, even now you can still plan properly.
  • Take any opportunity that comes your way most importantly on early days of your career.
  • In small to medium organizations it is a good starting point because they will give you a diverse experience from different departments and fields of work therefore one should be willing to learn and take it as a learning point.
  • From accountants side, I can advice them that when dealing with external audits, they should be careful on what they say or what they provide to them as, as it could expose their internal control weaknesses.
  • Love what you do, because if you don’t, you will always be stressed.
  • Network with other accountants or people of your career so that you may seek advises where need be, as there are so many changes taking place at the moment.
  • Subscribe to professional bodies as they always ensure that its members are up to date and regulates them.
  • Lastly they should use job sites like Selibeng for people looking for Job and apply without giving up even international opportunities they should apply for them.

Time management is key, e.g. Report for January if submitted towards end of February will not be helpful as such report was supposed to guide them in the month of February.

Quick Trivia:

1. Dream Holiday Destination?

A: Wow, my dream holiday destination would be Paris

2. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

A:Obviously Time Manipulation would be the first one, so that i can have control on time because it is moving so fast while some plans are still lagging behind.

3. Favourite meal?

A: Indian dishes are the best mainly naan and hot chicken masala.

4. Favourite car?

A: I don’t have favorite car, as long as its fuel consumption is not bad it is a yes for me. 😂😂

Conclusion:

Thapelo Maqoabikane’s journey from a trainee to a Finance Manager is a testament to his determination and adaptability. The challenges he faced, including balancing academics and personal life, mastering complex accounting standards, and embracing diverse experiences, have equipped him with invaluable skills. From planning meticulously to networking with fellow professionals, Thapelo’s advice is a treasure trove for aspiring accountants.

As we conclude this insightful interview, we are reminded of the significance of time management, pursuing passions, and seizing opportunities fearlessly. Thapelo’s story serves as an inspiration for all, and his dream of visiting Paris is a symbol of the endless possibilities that await those who dare to dream big.

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Litsitso Sibolla, a dedicated writer for Selibeng.com and catalyst for change in Lesotho, possesses an unwavering passion that ignites transformation. His unwavering commitment to empowering the youth and driving positive shifts has established him as a prominent figure youth empowerment. Through his continually growing coffee shop and music company, centered around the aspirations of young people, he has established platforms that uplift and motivate the upcoming generation. Embark on a journey alongside Litsitso Sibolla as he empowers Lesotho's youth and inspires a promising future for everyone.