From left to right, seen is Ntombi Mangena– Sales Executive, Tinashe Shingai– Marketing Executive, Bakani Ngulani– CEO and Founder, Bonke Nyathi– HR Manager, Dumo Siwela – Admin Executive and Nobukhosi Sibanda– Head Accountant.

JOHANNESBURG - At just 24, award-winning accountant Bakana Ngulani has proven that he is the master of his fate and the captain of his soul after founding a “purely millennial” accountancy firm that allows him to be his own boss. 

The born-free chief executive of BN Business Solutions describes himself as a young, driven and focused accountant. He says he decided to go solo while serving articles at a global accounting firm, realising that his space for personal development would be limited. This made him go for the unconventional way of looking for clients on online classifieds website Gumtree. 

He says his breakthrough came when he got a response from a client who was looking for a part-time bookkeeper. He used his retainer fee to secure business cards and sorted out his website domain. In the second month he registered with and paid membership fees at the Southern African Institute for Business Accountant, and the South African Institute of Tax Professionals. Registering with industry bodies was crucial to portray a professional image to clients. Today the business services the niche small medium and micro enterprises sector which handles billions of rand per annum.

“We do full accounting and taxation services for month to month basis, and annual financial statements. We also assist with Sars related queries as far as registrations and returns of VAT, PAYE, SDL, UIF, import and export, and normal income tax are concerned,” says Ngulani.

“On an adhoc basis we also assist with compensation fund letter of good standing and compliance certificates.” Their clients now include Bolunga Systems, VM Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Electrical Projects, and InvesTong Group, among others.

Ngulani says he is passionate about his HR policy of 70 percent/ 30 percent split, the former being youth and latter adults. 

“We are 100 percent purely millennial. Both me and my staff are between the ages of 22 and 25. When the company grows I want to maintain a ratio of 30 percent (staff) above the age of 28, and 70 percent below 28 years.”

Ngulani says he is pushing for a youthful culture in his company in order to give other millennials a chance. “As a young person myself, I know how it feels like to work in an environment where your views are considered junior. Look, I had many interesting ideas during my tenure at my previous employer, but because of my age, they could not be considered. I’m not complaining though because now I’m implementing them in my own firm.”

He says young people have more vibe and interesting ideas coupled with efficiency. “In accounting you are charging people for your time. I sell efficiency to clients,” says Ngulani, adding that he treats his employees as his biggest asset.

“We are a family, we look out for each other. I pay 20 percent of their rental, they use the company car and every Friday we go out to a chesanyama and unwind. We are friends and family before we are colleagues,” he says.

“We really like to keep the culture young and vibey. I think we are a well-oiled machine, everyone knows what’s expected of them and everyone delivers.”
Ngulani says the BN is named after his initials and wants it to leave a legacy and to have a bit of freedom to implement his youthful ideas. He is currently enrolled for a post graduate diploma in business management at Unisa.

“This is not about adding another certificate on my office wall. No, it’s about me wanting me to run my business better, and to advise my clients on how to run their businesses better.”

He says he plans to expand BN beyond its presence in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. “We are hoping that these will grow, and it’s mostly going to be a matter of marketing ourselves to the right audience, especially from a compliance point of view.”