-Why I titled it, What Colour is Your Money?
Tope Ganiyah Fajingbesi is an International Chartered Accountant (ACA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) based in Washington, DC. She has 15 years accounting and financial management experience working with Big Four public accounting firms, Fortune 500 corporations, and nonprofit organizations across the USA and Africa. She obtained a Bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and a Masters in Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She’s also the co-founded and serves as the Volunteer Executive Director of United for Kids Foundation, and writes a finance column for Azizah magazine.
In her new book, What Colour is Your Money? Your Personalized Roadmap to Business Success, Fajingbesi lays out these strategies in an easily digestible guide, likening important financial management concepts – budgeting, internal controls, good financial reporting, and analysis – to everyday issues such as diet and exercise, travel and relationships.
Tell us what really inspired the book?
I have been working as an accountant for about 15 years and I have met so many small and big business owners. I think there is a shortage in terms of the education and information more meaningful to business
owners in terms of how they deal with their individual finances, how they affect their business finances and how they fill that gap. That is why I felt it will be good if I can.
Are you a full time author?
That’s not possible. This is my first book and I am not a full time author. I still work as a full time accountant. However, I like writing. At every point in time I always have a paper and pen with me and that inspired the choice to write about something that I think would add value to other people’s life.
What informed the choice of the title, What Colour is your Money?
I wish I could take credit for that title because it was one of my editors who suggested we have that title and the reason is that I had developed this colour and I developed the idea of using colours to talk about money. It is because I felt it is something people can relate with. I had this quiz on my website. So, when I wrote the book I had another title for it but one of the editors said I talked about colours so much in the book and why people can’t do without it. So, why not base the book on this idea that you came up with. That is how we came up with that.
Of what significance is money to our currencies?
Many currencies have different colours and Nigerian currencies have a whole wide range of colours. I did not choose the colours based on Nigerian currency. I chose the colour based on some people that I
know and based on what those colours mean to them. For example, when I choose yellow, the colour yellow talks about somebody who loves to work hard and also pretty hard, they are not necessarily in debt but also love to form a good life. I mean, when you think about yellow, sunlight, it’s about happiness but I haven’t seen a yellow currency actually. But I choose these colours based on those kind of ideas. If you look at green for example, many currencies that I have seen are green but green is also the colour of agriculture so those are the kind of things that informed my choices.
Why do you think I should buy the book?
As long as you spend money and as long as you earn money, it is a must for you to buy. Generally speaking, I think every human being or adult needs to understand what the colour of their money is because we all somehow deal with money.
Tell us the arrangement of the book?
There are 15 chapters in the book and the first four chapters deal with the individual behind any business and I talked about first of all understanding what your personality is and what your money personality is. Are you green, do you like to borrow money, are you blue, do you like to stay within the budget, are you yellow? You like to spend money! Are you grey are you conservative or are you red may be you need to seek some help. I feel that is the natural place to start from. If you don’t have an understanding of how to use money, you might not know whether you have a lot of it or not. The second chapter is about a study I carried out, which makes you understand how much you owe people, how much you own and what you earn currently and what you spend. And I discuss really how that can affect your happiness or unhappiness.
For example, if you spend more than you earn, you will always owe more than you own and I talked about what you do to correct the situation. Then I talked about how to set goals and have budget. After the first four chapters, I talked about savings and what you do to attract people to invest in your business. In a country like Nigeria where there is much unemployment, it is very important that we understand what investors want. There are so many people who have copyright ideas but they need people who will give them the money to start the idea. So, what do you need to show to make them believe in your biz?
Those are the things that I talked about. Then I also talked about how to navigate restraints to your business, when it is not going well which a lot of people see so, it’s about what should you do. So, it is a short book with 122 pages which is not much for anybody managing a business or managing money in anyway.
What to you is key to managing a successful business?
The key to managing a successful business is first you have to have a goal. What does success mean to your business? If you are opening a shop, just because you need a place to go that is different from somebody who is opening a shop so that he pays a rent or somebody who is opening a shop so that he can build a house. So you have to first understand what the goal of a business is. And once you establish that then put that goal in numbers that is have a budget or plan so that at the end of the month or year and somebody asks you ‘how is business?’ You can either say yes it’s good or no it’s bad.
But if you don’t have a goal to start with, then what does the good or bad mean to you. Then I talked about the numbers that every business owner needs to know. I talk about the ‘cash is king’. If you are in small business,
You need cash for people to take you seriously then I talked about profit and you know the ownership of the business. Then I went into that in great details and of cause, how to price your product. I discussed five different factors that every business must consider in order to price their products effectively. Those five things are very important.
Lessons from the book at the end of the day?
You will have a better relationship with money as I said people want to make money but the question is do they know money. When you read the book you will know money. And that is the sure key to understanding money and what success means to you. My goal is that everybody who reads the book can have a better relationship with money and own their wealth.
Difficulties and experience while writing the book?
When I wanted to write the book, I thought I like writing and there was no big deal that I was going to start writing some things, but I realized that writing is the easier part of being an author. The whole process after writing the book was so challenging, especially when we were to determine the type of English to use, but at the end, we had a mixture of both “British and America in there”. The people who would read this book must understand your message clearly. At the same time, you are firm and not too harsh, so I had to watch the language. Also, the expenses in writing a book, spending all that money to make sure that the book was professionally done.
How and where to get the book?
Instead of doing a book launch, I intend to do a book event but that is after so many people must have read the book. I want to have an event where I am not talking about the book but people coming in to talk
about what they have learnt from the book. That is going to be a couple of months from now. It is going to be a colour of money event where people can share experiences about what they were doing before they read the book and how this has been part of their business but right now they can buy the book from so many platforms; they can buy from Jumia.com.ng, Konga.com, Lantana book stores and from Terra Culture.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2013