Makosi is the world’s leading on-demand accounting and auditing services firm, and its two co-founders have a few things in common: a love of travel, motorcycles and giving back to the community.
Darren Isaacs, a chartered accountant (CA) trained in South Africa, conceived the idea for Makosi during a motorcycle trip through Africa in the early 2000s.
A few years later, Makosi co-founder Paul Emery completed a world tour on a motorcycle in 100 days. When he arrived in Mongolia, he spent time with a non-governmental organization that helps children living on the streets. It was an experience that changed my life.
“I met an eight-year-old boy who was taking care of his two siblings, aged five and two.
“For Westerners there, it was the most heartbreaking story we encountered,” Emery says.
“But this eight-year-old didn’t need our pity, he just needed a way out. This was the idea behind our #10,000 Kids initiative, which aims to educate 10,000 children in three years.
Campaigns like this make virtuous padding in corporate social investment reports, but #10,000 Kids is encoded in Makosi’s DNA. Attracting the best and brightest accounting and auditing talent in the world takes more than a good salary.
“It allows us to attract great people and keep them here because we have a bigger mission. This is one of the main reasons we are the largest provider of on-demand talent in the world,” says Emery.
“We launched the #10,000 Kids initiative five years ago, with a portion of the revenue from each project going to fund schooling for children in developing countries.
“The program went viral and started attracting many CAs to South Africa. We receive more applications to work with us than any of the Big Four accounting firms in South Africa. »
It’s one thing to educate 10,000 children in developing countries, but what kind of education are they getting? This is where Makosi focused his attention.
Research conducted in three African countries – Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi – highlights the most typical issues hampering education standards in developing countries, including lack of school infrastructure and facilities , lack of transport and technology, and study programs unsuited to the needs of the economy. .
“We started looking at the results in those schools,” says Emery. “We wanted to know: were the children taught the right things? Our analysis shows that there was very little work around basic communication, interpersonal skills and basic financial assistance, such as how to open a bank account. These are the skills you need for any pursuit in life and they are often woefully overlooked in schools.
Makosi bought 10,000 books for school children in these three countries with the aim of bridging the educational gap between rich and poor countries. Emery admits this is a work in progress and the search for best practices is an evolving understanding.
By attracting the best accounting talent in the world and deploying teams to its international clientele, Makosi aims to provide accountants with a larger purpose than themselves.
Accountants are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and work in some of the most remote places in Africa, whether painting a nativity scene or teaching accounting lessons to students. And it seems to work.
Makosi appears to have little trouble attracting and retaining top talent, as staff are able to measure the wider impact of their work through once-disadvantaged children who now have a real shot at rising to the top of the ladder. profession they have chosen.
“If there’s one message we’ve been able to convey to these kids, it’s that achieving their ambitions lies within them, rather than outside of them,” Emery says.
Most businesses want to be a source of good, and some are more successful than others. Where they fail is by focusing narrowly on the bottom line and not the people who drive that bottom line.
“At Makosi, we truly believe that every business can do and deliver more. We want to use technology and data to do this. It was the driving force behind the 10,000 Kids initiative, which aims to lend a helping hand to children who are striving for more purpose in their lives but may not have the access or the resources. necessary to pursue their aspirations.
Makosi has started the process of identifying the right partners on the ground in each country. The goal is to create cohesion in the way resources are provided and existing structures are developed, without disrupting existing community ecosystems.
It is a bold move and one that could potentially change the trajectory of countries like Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi. Unleashing 10,000 highly motivated students, trained for excellence, will surely trigger extraordinary results in the years to come.
Presented by Makosi.
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