Meet Duduzile Shinya: ZIDA’s chief finance officer

Duduzile Shinya
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Duduzile Shinya’s philosophy of life is based on several desired results.

“You need to dream, read widely, travel so that you know what is out there in the world and find what you love and know what you want

to achieve. Dream so that when opportunities come your way, you recognise and seize them,” she said.

“In addition to a formal education and getting a degree, read widely.

Increase your knowledge base.

You should also find a person you would like to emulate, someone whose business ethics and culture align with ours.

Find out more about them, understand the way they think, what makes them tick and how they operate.

Find a person or people that are able to see you for your strengths and weaknesses and are able to guide you to improve on your weakness and build on your strengths to be the best you can be.

“If you try to do it all alone, that’s when you lose balance. The devil is in the detail.

Get your hands dirty and do the hard work in order to learn to work smart and achieve your goals”.

Shinya is the chief finance officer of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA), Zimbabwe’s one-stop shop for investors.

She is also the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), the third female to hold such a position in the organisation’s 103-year history after Emilia Chisango (Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe FD) and current ICAZ chief executive officer Gloria Zvaravanhu.

Shinya is someone who loves a challenge.

“I like having something to resolve or fix or add value to. I want to stretch myself and contribute to solutions and development,” she said.

Being ZIDA’s inaugural CFO is exciting she said “it’s a privilege and honour to be part of the leadership team appointed to lead Zimbabwe’s efforts to showcase the country’s potential”.

“However, the challenges facing the nation are significant but not insurmountable.

It is these challenges that necessitated the creation of ZIDA, “a cross-cutting, agile, investor-centric, Zimbabwe believing, Zimbabwe-proud, ambitious world-class agency” as the CEO (Douglas Munatsi) would put it,” she said.

Shinya took over the presidency of ICAZ from Fungai Kuipa last year in August. Her tenure coincided with the emergence of the deadly Covid-19, which is ravaging economies.

Life as we knew it before Covid-19 has changed, Shinya said, and “we have now entered the ‘new normal’ with both feet firmly on the ground”.

“This has now become our way of life and getting on with business the best we can. Despite the challenging environment some of the successes I can name are the increased engagement of the members resident in the diaspora, through increased access to webinars and virtual Continuing Professional Development workshops,” she said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has fast tracked most operations into adopting emerging technologies that ensure products and services are sold online, to members and stakeholders and employees can efficiently work from home or rather, away from the office.

“It was not without teething problems but it certainly improved the digitalisation status of the Institute, as we were thrown into the deep end of digitalisation!”

ICAZ, however, battled challenges including the failure to fulfill requirements of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Consequently, many audit opinions were modified.

“Long term solutions to hyperinflation and exchange rates should be centred on addressing the macro-economic fundamentals. We hope that the National Development Strategy 1 will deliver that,” Shinya said.

She added: “Secondly, monetary and fiscal discipline is critical and we have at least seen some stability on that front. Policy measures that instill confidence are required to attract investments, in particular foreign direct investment.

“An additional challenge has been ensuring the business continuation of the Institute during the economic challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented.

The Institute relies significantly on membership fees as well as sponsorships as part of its financial support.

Now with a significant number of businesses having closed, or significantly reduced their operations, the focus cannot remain the same, however, we need to still look after the physical and social well-being of our staff and ensure as an Institute, we survive to flourish in better times to come.”

Asked what role ICAZ is playing to assist the government which is

struggling to extricate the fragile economy from its woes, Shinya said: “ICAZ has an advisory role.

Our role is to input into economic research papers, policy input and technical support to Government ministries.”

ICAZ champions ethics and professional conduct, as a regulator of its members and as a propagator of good governance practices, promoting public trust in Government and business.

The institute, she said, develops and promotes the assurance services in the country through its member firms, most of whom are part of global networks and associations.

ICAZ enhances accountability and transparency in the public sector and brings Zimbabwe’s public sector up to a world-class standard of reporting through introducing and monitoring public sector professionals and working with Government and public institutions to implement International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).

“We facilitate local capacity in the education programmes, for example, the accredited local universities and local education providers to offer the ICAZ internationally recognised education programmes,”

Shinya said, adding ICAZ helps in the promotion of good governance practices through input and promotion of the Zimbabwe Corporate Governance Code, anti corruption initiatives, and ethical and fair business practices codes for members, among others.

ICAZ has also been engaging the government in many fronts including how to resolve the issue of the blocked funds.

Shinya said the conversations by ICAZ and Public Accountants and Auditors Board, in particular with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on blocked funds has been going on since mid-2018.

The conversations, she said, quickly evolved into trying to find a solution that would assist both RBZ and the impacted organisations find a middle ground, a win-win position.

“This has not happened as fast as ICAZ and its members would have liked as the issue has continued to impact their financial reporting since

then. It was encouraging to hear the RBZ Governor during his delivery of the February 2021 Monetary Policy Statement to specifically mention

working together with the PAAB to find a way to resolve this issue, in order to ensure organisations can comply with the requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards,” she said, adding the institute has “offered its services to both the RBZ and PAAB to work on resolving the blocked funds issue, working with our technical teams.

Discussion on how to approach the matter is now underway”.

ICAZ is also involved in the government’s IPSAS project. Shinya said they were challenged by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, George Guvamatanga, a few years ago, when he remarked that the government being the biggest ‘business’ in Zimbabwe did not have a single CA in its employment.

“Being people of action, as ICAZ we made it our focus to address the need for professional accountants in Government, and for one to be called a professional they must be a member of a professional accounting organisation such as ICAZ.

This would enhance public sector accountability, transparency and governance,” she said.

“ICAZ did not have a membership qualification and category for public sector professionals but we are now at advanced stages of introducing a

public sector membership category and a public sector qualification.

“We now have a programme under way where selected senior members in the public sector are undertaking a programme which after completion will become the first Public Sector Professional members of ICAZ this year.”

She said ICAZ was in discussions with the Public Service Commission for a project that will transform accounting professionals in government.

“The Public Service Commission has been doing impressive and transformational work with regards to public service training and development and we will hopefully partner them on the accounting professional’s development aspect.”

Shinya said overcoming stereotypes has been a challenge.

“When I started my career there were very few women in leadership positions and the first options to promote or advance someone were not easily available to women, particularly  women of colour,” she said.

“The thought process at times, was to say it is better to hire a man as he will not have breaks in his career when it comes to maternity leave for example.

Or at times hiring men to perpetuate the male dominated  environment reviously existing.”

She and other women in similar situations had “to work twice as hard to prove ourselves in order to excel and pave the way for others to follow”.

Shinya is not a supporter of quota system as there are women out there that have worked hard and deserve “a seat at the table”.

“…we cannot just appoint place holders, to fulfil a target. Business needs to recognise those that are equally qualified for the role and can deliver,” she said.

“Another challenge has been balancing family, work and life. But that is a perennial problem and cannot be fully resolved. My aim is to ensure balance over a period of time.

There is no science and no perfection in trying to attain this balance. One should also try and work with what they can manage and get a support system that allows them to achieve the best of their abilities.”

Asked who Duduzile Shinya was, she described herself as “shy but confident…”

“The journey to self-improvement and learning is without end. “Every meeting, every organisation that I have interacted with or worked with,

every board I have served on has put me in touch with amazing people that have and continue to broaden my views and opinions.

Mostly, it is the reinforcement of the need to continuously develop oneself in a bid to better myself, my peers, my profession and my country, that keeps me going.

“It is not all serious w o r k with me.

I love t h e outdoors and will take every opportunity I can to travel and see as much of the country and the world as I can.

I do my best to keep fit and enjoy running and cycling. I always have a book by my bedside and try and read whenever I can make the time.”

On weekends, she takes out her motor bike out for a spin and enjoys the breeze, fresh air and Zimbabwean scenery.

“I also love fine dining particularly with excellent wine,” Shinya said.

In the spirit of the International Women’s Month, she wants to thank the “supportive men” who are “brave enough to support the upcoming

women leaders, by having faith in them and nurturing their abilities and ambitions”.

Shinya pays tribute to “all the supporting fathers, brothers, supervisors, colleagues and husbands who have given their support to assisting the ladies in their life grow and encourage them to do better”.

“Without the endorsement of strong male counterparties that are willing to encourage and support us, as women our journey would be that much harder.

I would like to thank the ladies that promote and nurture the growth and blossoming of young ambitious and professional women,” she said.

“To those that have been brave and frank enough to share their stories and career journeys and experiences, thank you.

The journey is not easy, but together we make the journey easier for those who follow.”

Shinya, holds a Bachelor in Accounting Science Honours degree obtained from the University of South Africa (UNISA) as well as a Masters in Business Leadership from the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership.

Over the last 15 years she has had opportunities to sit on various boards including Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, Old Mutual, ZINWA, and CBZ Bank.  Currently, she sit on the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company Board as well as committees within the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and the Insurance and Pensions Commission.  Most recently, beginning of this year, she was appointed onto the Innscor Africa Limited Board.

Shinya also sit on the Accounting Standards Committee which is a technical subcommittee of the Zimbabwe Accounting Practices Board  which falls under the PAAB.

She is also a member of the International Federation of Women Accountants steering committee.

““Board responsibilities increase my experience and allow me to contribute at a strategic management level and present opportunities for me to learn about other areas of expertise that may not be associated with my primary job responsibilities,” Shinya said. – Business Times