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“I walked over 10 km to school, now I have 15 employees” – Bongani Dlamini

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Bongani Dlamini BAP (SA) was born in a small village near Malamulele in Limpopo, starting his primary school there. The move to high school came with challenges as his village did not have any high school. He had to walk over 10 km to get to the next village to attend high school. Bongani had little idea what direction his career would take, so looked up to the successful people in his community for inspiration. One such person was an auditor, and Bongani decided to follow his footsteps and pursue accounting.

Difficult as it was growing up in a community with little to no facilities for youth, Bongani then started playing football as a hobby. He then matriculated and was accepted into the University of Johannesburg, where he continued playing soccer. “I was one of the best players but because of my age, I missed the opportunity to play professionally.”

Bongani then focused on his BCom degree, eventually graduating with four majors. He started his working career as a bank teller, moving to tax advisor while running a small accounting practice in his spare time. He operated the practice from his house for more than six years until 2015 when he decided to resign from his job and focus on the practice full time.

He started with one full-time employee, but that was to change – and quickly. Today, Bongani’s practice has 15 employees and five branches, the result of his nurturing and mentoring approach to clients.

And when the day’s work is done, Bongani spends time with his wife and two children, and – to let off steam – boxing.

How does he deal with difficult clients?

“Firstly, I value my client’s time so much, when faced with a problem I want to understand the root cause, work on bringing a solution or common ground to solve the issue and I become very persistent in solving their problems so that I do not lose them.”

With the lockdown now downgraded to Alert Level 1, Bongani admits the lockdown was a major blow to the business in the early stages resulting in the loss of some clients, but as the weeks and months progressed, new clients were signed up. He was forced to reconfigure the way he interacts with clients to ensure they could get the service they need through whatever means are available – online or face-to-face.

Bongani is grateful to Saiba for helping him develop as a professional accountant, allowing him to grow his practice. “Being part of Saiba meant a lot for me as I began my practice. A huge help has been the Saiba Whatsapp group and having the opportunity to get ongoing technical assistance and education, which keeps my CPD up-to-date. Also, the seminars that Saiba holds help me with networking and that is great for my business.”