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Humble beginnings could not hold Juliana Chikukutu back

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Saiba member Juliana Zvarimwa Chikukutu BAP(SA) is an entrepreneur who knows what it takes to overcome adversity.

Born and raised in a village called Munjanja in Masvingo province, Zimbabwe, Juliana’s upbringing was anything but one of luxury and privilege. She is the third-born in a family of four kids, and like many people growing up in a rural environment, learned what it is like to be part of an extended family. It was this experience that instilled in her collaborative and empathetic virtues. “I cherish to this day, where I am now also a mother to two amazing little boys,” she says.  

“Notwithstanding their limited education, I was fortunate to be raised by parents and guardians who valued education, making sure that regardless of the tiring 10km daily return trip to school for all my primary and secondary education years, sometimes crossing flooded rivers during rainy seasons. We had to come home with good grades at the end of each term. But like most marginalised areas, access to career guidance services was vaguely available. I nonetheless had a rather uncharacteristically clear vision of growing up one day to become an accountant.”

After completing her Advanced Level education, Juliana enrolled for a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy at Mutare Polytechnical College in Zimbabwe. In 2020, after completing her ICB National Diploma in Financial Accounting, she received a Business Accountant in Practice (BAP) designation and is currently enrolled with ACCA.

Her passion for the accounting profession led her to launch her own accounting and business advisory practice, called Integrity Accounting and Business Solutions. Through this agency, she provides bespoke advisory, mentorship, and training services to SMEs from all sectors.

Juliana co-founded M.J IDEPA Construction Pty in 2016, a company that provides infrastructure development services across South Africa. As an executive director, she has led the company from humble beginnings into a reputable and profitable concern, with an order book running into millions of rands.

Setting up a home office

Juliana is a resilient and agile businesswoman who adapted with characteristic speed to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the lockdown was first imposed, she decided to set up a fully-fledged home office where she now conducts 80 % of her consultations virtually, and physically meeting up with her clients only 20 % of her time.

Between battling the hazards of operating in a pandemic and operating two companies, she still finds time for her family.

What fascinates you about your job?

Being an accountant can be a highly taxing job that puts a premium on family and social obligations. But what I enjoy and motivates me is the satisfaction that comes with realising the impact that I am having through catalysing so many people`s and businesses` dreams of running professional entities. Helping them to fix regulatory obstacles in their businesses as well as getting them to make sense of their financial trajectory feeds my professional engine.

How has being a Saiba member assisted your career?

Since 2020 when I was admitted as a Saiba Business Accountant in Practice (BAP), my professional sphere of influence has expanded exponentially. It has connected me with fellow professional accountants with whom I can share experiences and exchange notes on various thematic issues. Becoming a Saiba member has also inadvertently pushed me to continuously improve my business craft through inspiration and learning from the best among the best. It is also assisting me in growing and projecting my brand equity.