Customer Relationship Management. The Reason why most Zimbabwean Businesses Fail in Sales

If there is one common thing among Zimbabwean businesses, it is the fact that most of the company’s Salespeople fall short on their promises early in the sales process. Think about it, how many times have you contacted an organization desperately needing a product or service that they offer, get promised that someone will revert with a Quotation only for the Quotation not to come through?

It is often frustrating considering that you will be on the buying side of the transaction and often ready to fork out your hard-earned money in exchange for the services on offer.

On diagnosing this challenge, most people tend to blame salespeople or company culture but that is not usually the case. In big companies, for example, a single salesperson will talk to at least 15 new prospects a day. If there is no proper tracking system, chances are, the salesperson will easily forget to send quotations since there wouldn’t be any system of accountability.

Further to that, the number of business owners I’ve spoken to who cry foul after a Salesperson defects to a competitors’ company with the company’s clientele is surprising. This is something I will delve deeper into on another article but for now, we want to look at the first challenge and how we can improve it particularly in the Zimbabwean Business Context.

The challenge I highlighted first is not a challenge that is unique to Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean Business alone. It’s a challenge that is as old as time itself. Back then, to rectify this challenge, people created Diaries so that they can record delicate information and store reminders.

Diaries are good but their problem is that they don’t give you reminders, which means if your people get in their office in the morning but choose to not open their diaries, they will not remember to contact those clients who wanted to be contacted in the morning.

In modern times, when business people realized this challenge, they came up with the concept of Customer Relationship Management which is defined as the process of managing interactions with existing as well as past and potential customers.

The practice of CRM is usually managed through systems that are called Customer Relationship Management Systems. I’m sure you’ve heard the word Salesforce before which is one of the largest CRM providers in the world.

A Business that doesn’t practice Customer Relationship Management will fail in Zimbabwe and here is why;

1. Time Management

70% of Salespeople say their biggest challenge is how to prioritize and manage their time. CRM(Customer Relationship Management) puts time management into perspective as it will give your Salespeople an overview of their tasks daily including helping prioritize who they will be interacting with and how they will be managing those interactions. In short, having a CRM System is like having a Personalized Diary – Personal Assist who is always ready to assist with handling your appointments and remind your people of what they should do.

2. Easy Monitoring

Sometimes, the reason your salespeople feel the courage to ignore important clients is because there isn’t strict monitoring. Imagine if you had a system in place where you could just log in, go to the activity dashboard of any client you want and being able to see the outcome of the calls that were made to that client, the emails that were sent, meetings done, that would be a gamechanger right? This is one thing Customer Relationship Management will also help you solve.

3. Reporting

On average, a Salesperson spends one hour a day compiling a Sales Report. In a 24 hour day, one hour seems insignificant but if you add that up over a year, you will notice that your salespeople are wasting a total of 365 hours or 15 Calendar Days or half a month compiling reports. This is a very big challenge considering that more productive things could be achieved using that time. 

A CRM System will automatically compile reports as the salesperson goes about their day. You can choose to get your reports hourly if you choose to. What this means is that your people can focus on selling whilst the system does the monotonous work for them.

4. Streamline the Sales Process and Sales Cycle

What is a Sales Process? Most business owners I’ve interacted with don’t understand this and the importance it holds for any business. For your people to close more sales, they need to have a thorough understanding of the steps it takes to close sales, the journey a customer will have to take from the first step of the Sales Process to the last. With CRM, you can design a Sales Process that is unique to your business so that your Salespeople can guide your customers through every step of that process until such a time when a deal has been closed and the customer has paid.

Customer Relationship Management is everything for your business and has the potential to transform your business. You must have the system in place but furthermore, you should understand it in concept and apply it in practice. 

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Why Accounting is Crucial for any Business

Accounting is important for business owners as it helps the owners, managers, investors and other stakeholders in the business evaluate the financial performance of the business. Accounting provides vital information regarding cost and earnings, profit and loss, liabilities and assets for decision making, planning and controlling processes within a business.

The main objective of accounting is to record financial transactions in the books of accounts to identify, measure and communicate economic information. Moreover, tax reporting agencies require you to keep books at a minimum level that tracks income and expenditure.

What Is the Purpose of Accounting?

Accounting is often referred to as “Language of Business”. It is a means of communicating financial information to different users for decision making.

The main objectives of accounting are:

RECORDING TRANSACTIONS

The primary role of accounting is to maintain a systematic, accurate and complete record of all financial transactions of a business. These records are the backbone of the accounting system. Business owners should be able to retrieve and review the transactions whenever required.

BUDGETING AND PLANNING

Business owners need to plan how they allocate their limited resources including labor, machinery, equipment and cash towards accomplishing the objectives of the business.

An important component of business management, budgeting and planning enable businesses to plan ahead by anticipating the needs and resources. This helps in the coordination of different segments of an organization.

DECISION MAKING

Accounting assists in a range of decision-making process and help owners in developing policies to increase the efficiency of business processes. Some examples of decisions based on accounting information include the price to be charged for products and services, the resources needed to make these products and services and financing and business opportunities

BUSINESS PERFORMANCE

Using the accounting reports, business owners can determine how well a business is performing. The financial reports are a reliable source of measuring the key performance indicators, so business owners can compare themselves against their past performance as well as against the competitors.

FINANCIAL POSITION

The financial statements generated at the end of the accounting cycle reflect the financial condition of a business at that time. It shows how much capital has been invested, how much funds the business has used, the profit and loss and the number of assets and liabilities of a business.

LIQUIDITY

A common reason for business failure is the mismanagement of cash. Accounting helps in determining the liquidity of a business which refers to the cash and other liquid resources at your disposal to pay off financial commitments. The information reduces the risk of bankruptcy through detection of bottlenecks.

FINANCING

Accounting helps business owners prepare historic financial records as well as financial projections which can be used while applying for a loan or securing investment for the business.

CONTROL

By placing various checks across the organization, accounting helps in avoiding losses caused by theft, fraud, errors, damage, obsolescence and mismanagement. The internal controls safeguard the business assets and avoid long-term losses.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Law requires businesses to maintain an accurate financial record of their transactions and share the reports with the shareholders, tax authorities and regulators. The financial statements and information are also required for indirect and direct tax filing purposes.

Why Is Accounting Useful for Business Owners?

Poor financial management is one of the primary reasons for business failure especially in the first year of the business. Since businesses have a limited budget and other resources, accounting plays a crucial role in providing information that helps businesses in its growth and development.

For business owners, accounting is crucial due to the reasons below:

  • Keep a track of the cash flow. To prevent your business cash flow from running dry, you should implement policies for efficient record-keeping and a sound financial strategy.
  • To understand the concepts of fixed costs, variable costs and how to accurately cost your project, business owners can rely on cost accounting. This way you don’t end up losing money on a project you thought would be a big earner 
  • Accounting gives you a better grasp of the well-being of the business. You can do this by learning to read a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement
  • Helps you detect and avoid frauds and theft by customers, employees and suppliers
  • When you understand the business finance and dealings, you are better equipped with facing audits
  • Bankers are more confident when dealing with business owners who have a handle on the business finances and actually understand financial implications

Whether you are a solopreneur or employ staff, the key to growing your business is to review your financial statements regularly and establish a detailed budget that will allow you to discover operational inefficiencies.  Saving a little bit on several expenses can add up to big results over the long run.

Why outsourcing  Accountants is Important?

Accounting necessitates huge amounts of data collection and organization of information in a way that can easily be interpreted by the management. Business owners need to keep tabs on the operating costs, changing revenues and dividends to make strategic decisions.

As a small business owner, it might be tempting to manage the business finances yourself, but financial matters can be delicate and may require a trained professional to handle them correctly. Professional accountants assist business owners in making smart fiscal decisions while adhering to the compliance requirements.

Here are some of the key reasons to invest in an accountant for your small business:

  • Analyze the financial data and determine areas for improvement. This is crucial for the long-term health of the business
  • Prepare financial statements based on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • You will get customized advice based on your unique business needs
  • Using a third-party accountant ensures that you’ll receive unbiased information that is verifiable and objective
  • The accountant acts as a financial advisor and helps you with budgeting and monitoring cash flow on a steady basis. This will allow you to navigate any hurdles that occur in real time
  • It helps you during tax season as accountants can identify potential deductions and help avoid audits

Along with hiring an accountant, business owners are increasingly using online accounting software. The software syncs the accounting system with the banks and helps you understand your real-time cash position. It can also be used for viewing various accounting reports, creating expense claims and sending invoices on the go.

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Importance of Management Accounting Reports

A management accounting report emphasizes on inside information received through financial accounting. Managerial accounting reports are used for planning, regulating, decision making and measuring performance. Below are some of the detailed points as to why these reports are important;

1. Provides Information – the purpose of preparing a report is to provide information to various level of management and stakeholders. The term management includes supervisors, chairman, general manager, department manager and by preparing a management report these people will have an overall trend of the business, the cash flows and fund flaws.

2. Helps In selection – most relevant and crucial information is found in the management report hence management can choose which profitable option to focus on from the alternative options stated in the report.

3. Role In Control System– management reports are used as a control tool because management can see whether employees are working towards the targets and standards. The report will be prepared in such a way that actual information and budgeted information will be compared to see variances. If there are any unfavorable variances, reasons are find out what would be the cause and corrective action or measures are put in place to rectify the situation.

4. Helpful in achieving the overall Objectives– report motivates the executives and employees to take necessary steps to increase earnings of the organization significantly, in this way the management I achieving the maximum profit with the help of reporting systems.

5. Launching a new product– when a business wants to launch a product, management reports are important because it can support every stage from the initial stage to the execution stage by giving a detailed breakdown of production capabilities and an accurate picture of the market as a whole. This is crucial for working out how much you will charge for the new product. Management reports can be used to review existing reports and the unprofitable ones and deciding on the next move.

6. Utilizing Data– Managerial accounting information provides a data-driven look at how to grow a small business. Budgeting, financial statement projections and balanced scorecards are just a few examples of how managerial accounting information is used to provide information to help management guide the future of a company. By focusing on this data, managers can make decisions that aim for continuous improvement and are justifiable based on intelligent analysis of the company data, as exposed to gut feelings

SOUTH AFRICA - Cape Town - 09-October- 2019 - The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) raided Dr Iqbal Survé's offices in Cape Town this morning, in what the businessman described as a "fishing expedition" and "an intimidation tactic". Management and staff said the FSCA, accompanied by police officers, pounced on the offices of Sekunjalo Holdings and African Equity Empowerment Investment (AEEI) without prior notice and tried to confiscate laptops and computer hard drives.The FSCA team arrived at Sekunjalo's offices near the V&A Waterfront saying they were probing a case of irregularly share trading against one of Survé's companies, AYO Technology Solutions.  Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African NewsAgency (ANA)

Business Entity Incorporation Agents (Company registration agents)

Company registration work has been a profitable small specialized market for unregistered and unregulated company registration and shelf company selling “agents” for the longest time in Company administration.

Over the last 20 years most registered Companies are predicted to have been registered by agents, this includes most of the dormant companies that the office is now trying to weed out.

A new phenomenon that has been brought forth with the new Act is the introduction of the Business Entity Incorporating Agent License, any person who does business registration work which is defined as the preparation by any person for profit, of any document for registration with the Companies Office or for attestation or execution by the Registrar.) This means any Companies office filing whatsoever including the filing of

  • Annual Returns
  • the appointment as company secretary when you are not on the board of directors
  • providing a registered office or business address
  • managing a share registry on behalf of a company
  • arranging the appointment of a nominee

This type of work is now done by the traditional Legal Practitioner, Chartered Accountant, a person registered under the Chartered Accountant and Auditors Act [27:12], or is a Chartered Secretary, must now be done by a person who is registered under the Act as a Business Entity Incorporating Agent.

An individual or a company competence will be judged based on the qualification of the individual Directors of said company, An individual who in his/her personal capacity or as the Director/Chief Accounting Officer of a Company that seeks to be licensed as a Business Entity Incorporating Agent must be either:

  •  Be a qualified Public Accountant or auditor in terms of the Public Accountant and Auditors Act [Chapter 27:12]
  • Must be a holder of a Bachelor in Business Administration degree from a recognized University OR an equivalent prescribed qualification (we are still waiting for further Regulations as to what these equivalent prescribed qualifications will be but it is an intelligent guess that it will most likely be University degrees in the Commerce related disciplines

ANY agent who is not registered under this Act as of the 13th of August 2020 (within 6 months of the effective date of the Act) is not qualified nor do they have the privilege to do any business entity registration work and any prospective licence applicant who does not hold the prescribed qualifications will not qualify to be licensed as such.

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ALTERATION OF MEMORANDUM IN ZIMBABWE

It is important for all companies to familiarize themselves with the new Companies and Other Business Entities (Chapter 24:31). The memorandum can only be altered under exceptional cases. It is vital for companies who intend to alter their memorandum to follow all procedures stipulated in the Companies Act.

Special Resolution

A special resolution may be used to alter the memorandum. A condition contained in both the memorandum and lawfully in the articles can be altered through a special resolution excluding conditions prohibited from alteration by the memorandum itself.  Moreover, a special resolution can be useful in altering the objects of the company. This is only possible when the name of the company describes the objects of the company and the objects have to be altered so that the name of the company no longer describes the objects. It is important to note that the memorandum can only be altered if the name of the company is changed accordingly in terms of section 26 (“Change of name”).

Cancellation application

Use of a cancellation application is limited to holders of not less than five per cent in nominal value of the company’s issued share capital and group of shareholders referred to in section 80 (“Group voting on amendments to memorandum”). However, the above-mentioned users should not have voted or consented in favour of the alteration.

A cancellation application has to be made within one month after the date on which the resolution altering the condition specified is made. It can be made on behalf of the persons entitled to make the application. The persons can be appointed in writing. The court can make an order in cases where the application needs amendment. The order is made so that the alteration process is done diligently.

Special Resolution-Companies exempt from using the word “Limited”

The resolution altering the company’s objects shall require notice to the Minister. If no application is made within one month, a copy of the memorandum as altered is delivered to the Registrar. However, if an application is made it will give notice of alteration to the Registrar and within one month a certified copy of the altered memorandum is delivered to the Registrar. Default in giving notice or delivering any document to the Registrar will attract a category 3 civil penalty upon the defaulting company.

In conclusion, companies will not face any challenges in altering their memoranda if they follow all procedures in the companies act. Consultancy organisations can assist companies in explaining procedures and completing the process on the organisations’ behalf.

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The difference between management reports and financial reports

Financial and management reports are the fundamental to the success and going concern of a business. For large businesses, various departments have to contribute for these reports to give a true picture of the organizational operations. 

However, for small businesses one person might be able to handle the reporting of an organization. While some may think reporting is just about calculating numbers, management reports and financial reports contain a number of differences in content and the generation process. Before hiring a specialist, it is important to understand the differences in the two types of reporting.

Financial reporting refers to the process of providing financial information to company stakeholders in order to influence business goals. The process includes three important components which are the cash flow, the profitability and the value of assets (current and non-current). The finance person tasked with preparing these reports must have an understanding of the variety of statements and the accounting standards required.

The several different types of financial management and reporting are Statement of profit or loss and comprehensive income, Statement of financial position, Accounts that are to be paid (Creditors), Accounts from where funds are coming and Statement of transactions (Debtors). Financial reporting has to be done accurately by a sharp and diligent professional.

On the contrary, management reporting is key to assess a company’s operation and performance. Management accountants send monthly management reports to the CEO.

These inform stakeholders who in turn can better make decisions about the company’s profit points, performance, and tactical steps to benefit the company as a whole. The monthly reports that are sent to the management outline the company’s overall performance in the fiscal year. It is important that management reporting is done by a critical thinker to produce the best results.

Financial reporting includes external reports that require certain standards and guidelines to be followed. They demonstrate the company’s overall performance. Moreover, they facilitate easier comparison between successive financial years.

In contrast, management reporting includes internal reports, including information regarding banks, investors and CEOs. Flexible guidelines. Management reports demonstrate the company’s reports for segments. The way they help business forecasts the company’s future cannot go unmentioned.

In conclusion, it is important to note that management and financial reports are different. However, both are concerned with making a business viable. In order for a business to remain competitive sound financial and management reports are top priority.

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GOODS DETENTIONS UNDER CUSTOMS ACT

Normally, the goods taken by the Zimra border officials under the Customs Act, 1962 are deliberately taken by the Customs department. However, in some cases where the seizure is not practicable, it may become necessary to detain the goods for investigation. The provisions for putting goods under custody are contained in Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962.

The goods are detained for various reasons and at the instance of various agencies of the Department, such as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence, Narcotics Control Bureau and Directorate of Enforcement and even other agencies, like the Central Bureau of Investigation. Once an order for detention of goods is served to the owner of the goods, he cannot remove, part with, or otherwise, deal with the goods except with the prior permission of the proper officer of the Customs.

During the investigation and subsequent adjudication proceedings, if the contravention of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and other allied laws is established, the action is taken against the importers/ offending goods as provided in the law. Guidelines for expeditious Customs clearance/provisional release: To avoid delays in the release and minimize hardship to the trade if goods remain detained pending an investigation into any dispute in relation to assessment, customs number must have been activated.

Import/export goods are not to be detained unless prohibited as per the FTP and/ or under other allied laws. However, goods that may be prohibited for importing/exporting will depend on the following conditions;

  • Imports not complying with the specifications/conditions/requirements of various Orders/Acts (e.g. Livestock Importation Act, 1898, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, etc.)
  • Where gross fraudulent practices are noticed and release of the goods may seriously jeopardize further investigations as also interests of the revenue. Further, any individual suspected to be prohibited in terms of quantity, value, and description will be seized for being liable to confiscation under the Customs. The Departmental officers will be held accountable for cases where detention of goods has been ordered on insufficient and weak grounds resulting in the unconditional release of detained goods in the adjudication stage itself, where importers have to suffer avoidable demurrage charges/loss by pilferage.
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QuickBooks Online is the Leading Cloud Accounting Software in the world with over 5,6 Million subscribers.

Cloud Accounting is the future of Accounting “ In UK he UK, 18% of firms have over 98% of their clients in the cloud, while worldwide, almost a third (31%) have more than 80% of their clientele online “ In the UK, it’s predicted that 78% of small businesses will rely solely on cloud accounting software by 2020

Why Cloud Accounting

In recent years, cloud technology has revolutionized our day-to-day lives. We post our family photos to Facebook, we pay our household bills through online banking and we use our smartphones to check our email on the move.

So, if we are utilizing the cloud in our everyday lives, why are we not doing the same in our business lives? Cloud-based accounting software now offers all the functionality and reliability of your tried and trusted desktop accounting system, but with the advantages of cloud accounting.


Here are some of the advantages of using cloud accounting over desktop versions.

Mobile access at any time

Access your data anywhere at any time 24/7 so long you have internet access, unlike desktop application where your data and your accounts are all sat on a local drive and that limits the access you can have to your financial information.

You can also access your data on Mobile and Tablets which help can translate into a more flexible lifestyle while running your business. You can have certainty over the financials and banking even when you are not physically present in your business.

A cost and time-effective solution

Working online reduces your IT costs and saves you time by keeping you constantly connected to the business. Desktop-based systems require an investment in IT hardware, server, and maintenance of the hardware whilst online accounting is carried out entirely from the cloud.

There is no costly IT infrastructure for you to maintain, and you can access the software whether you are in the office or out at a customer meeting.

Watertight security and no time-consuming back-ups

When you are cloud-based, your accounts and records are all saved and backed up with military levels of encryption. With desktop accounting, you have to back up data each and every day and make updates every time the provider provides new updates.

On a cloud platform, back-ups and software updates become a thing of the past. You’re always logged in to the most up-to-date version of the software, with all the latest functions which save time and money with tedious backup.

Cloud accounting is more secure than the desktop version where the file is set in Sever or laptop hard drive all information is encrypted and save in cloud servers.

Share and collaborate with ease

Working with colleagues, and sharing data with your advisers, is an extremely straightforward process when you’re based in the cloud. Using the old, desktop approach, you had limited access to your accounts – and that made collaboration with colleagues and advisers difficult.

If your accountant needed specific numbers, they would need to be emailed back and forth, or saved to a USB memory stick and couriered directly to their office.

Reduces paperwork and is more sustainable

Using cloud accounting can deliver the dream of having a paperless office. With an online accounting  system, you can significantly reduce your reliance on paperwork.

Invoices can be emailed out directly to clients, removing the costs of printing and postage – and speeding up the payment process. Incoming bills and receipts can be scanned and saved directly with the associated transactions in your accounting software because your documents are all digitized and stored in the cloud also known as e filling.

Also, you banks transaction can automatically add into QuickBooks, Please note this function does not integrate with Zimbabwean banks, However, you can upload your CSV file bank statement into QuickBooks then, categorize or reconcile the transaction and then posts into QuickBooks

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The Process to Add or Remove a Director from a Company in Zimbabwe

This is a brief article that will look at the process of adding or removing a Director from a Zimbabwean company.

The director can be changed or removed for a number of reasons but the resignation should be under the terms of Companies Act 24:03

Below are a number of provisions that can result in change of directorship:

· Failing to cooperate with fellow shareholders and other company members

· Director is deemed physically incapable of handling the company work due to certain reason.

· Bankruptcy order is made against the director

· Failing to maintain accounts

· Failing to deliver proper tax returns

Some more highlights on changing director:

· As per the Company’s Act, a private limited should have a minimum of 2 directors & Private Business Corporation should have a minimum of one.

·A director of a company must be above the age of 18 and must have identification number. The person can be Zimbabwean or Foreign national

· The decision to appoint or remove a director should be done by the board of directors.  

· Special notice will be filed to remove or appointment of new director under section of the Companies Act

· A receipt and the copy of resolution to remove the director shall immediately send to the concerned director.

· The director can request for reasonable opportunity to be heard in the special notice meeting.

· The outgoing director can make representation in writing against the removal and request to notify it to the company’s members. The same copy shall be sent to every member of the company.

In conclusion, companies set certain clauses for the removal or change of director position. However, company should go according to the companies act set.

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The importance of submitting annual returns

All private limited companies by law have to file annual returns once every year within the required time frame as regulated by the Companies Act.

By filing the annual returns with the Registrar of Companies, the company confirms whether they are still in business or trading, or if it will be in business in the near future. An annual return is a statutory return in terms of the Companies Act and is a summary of the most relevant information pertaining to a company. 

The prescribed filing fees for annual returns are legislated, and as such cannot be waived by the Registrar of companies. When a company fails to submit its annual returns for a long time, the Registrar of Companies will assume the company is no longer trading and may start the deregistration of the company. 

Once a company has been deregistered, the Registrar of companies removes the company from its active records. Legally, the company will now cease to exist and the company name will become available to the general public for registration. 

Once the company is in the deregistration process due to the non-payment of annual returns, it is possible for the deregistration process to be cancelled if all outstanding annual returns are paid up to date.

If however the company is in final deregistration, then the company can apply for reinstatement upon filing of the required documentation. If the application is successful and all reinstatement criteria are met, the Registrar of Companies will change the status of the company to “in reinstatement process”, at a prescribed fee.

To keep your company in good standing with the Registrar of Companies and to avoid any penalties, possible deregistration, or the aggravation of trying to reinstate the company, every company is advised to lodge their annual returns timeously within the stipulated timeframe.

Avoiding Penalties

Ways to avoid incurring penalty fees include:

  1. Being aware of your company’s Annual Return Date
  2. Ensuring that your company’s financial statements are prepared well (Know your authorised & issued share capital)
  3. Seeking assistance from a company secretarial firm such as M&J Consultancy so the annual return is taken care of and reminders are sent to the company

To conclude, filing your Annual Returns is of the utmost importance. If you are not sure of the whole process, then get in touch with us for a detailed guide and walkthrough.