From OAU through KPMG, Andersen and to Flutterwave, it has been a remarkable journey towards self discovery for Israel. 14 years into his career as a Financial Analyst and Leader, here he is, killing it as Flutterwave’s new Head of Finance for Africa.
And yes, before Flutterwave, there was Israel.
“I have always been intrigued about helping people take care of their finances,” he said to Seun (Content Creator, Digital Marketing) as she quizzed him on his journey and motivation towards Finance. Unlike most people, Israel seemed to have figured out what he wanted for his life, weeks before his birth – that’s the only explanation we have for his marvellous fascination with money at such an early age.
“Anytime my Dad wins a contract, during those days, there were no banks or ATMs, so I always helped him count and keep the money safe,” he concluded. He knew what he wanted and went for it. Perhaps that begs the question, what do you want and what are you willing to do, to reach your goal?
The story of Israel and Flutterwave is that of chance, space and time. People often tout Olugbenga GB Agboola (Founder and CEO of Flutterwave) as being a great Salesman but in pitching Flutterwave to Israel, Israel’s passion for supporting businesses at every point of their growth cycle helped our case.
What does Israel really do at Flutterwave?
“I am leading Flutterwave’s Finance for Africa. I am in charge of Flutterwave’s financial reporting and analysis for Africa,” he answered as Seun inquired about his role at Flutterwave. “I am in charge of Flutterwave’s procurement and financial reporting,” he added.
Israel will be in charge of assessing every investment and procurement opportunity for Flutterwave. Does it help our mission? Does it take us closer to our goal? Does it help us create maximum value for businesses? He has the say.
Additionally, Israel will be working closely with Rick Rosenthal our New Global Head of Finance, who has given us a highlight into what the future holds for Flutterwave’s star-studded finance team, “We see ourselves hopefully with the rest of the Flutterwave Management team, having brought Flutterwave public, through an IPO and leading Finance, as we continue our growth story.”
“And hopefully, we do this efficiently and sustainably, based on the foundation that we set out today,” Rick concluded.
Israel loves Small and Medium Scale Businesses.
Israel mentioned that he is very much open to teaching small businesses tricks and tips in small business accounting and finance.
To small business owners, he reiterated, “ Do not spend your profit. No matter how small your business is, get a book, get a column for what you are spending and what you are earning. Divide your profit into two parts and reinvest the other, so you keep growing. The biggest mistake businesses make is not separating themselves from their business.”
During the interview, he always drew experience and anecdotes from various aspects of his life to break down complex concepts. “I love teaching, a lot.” he said, confirming our speculations.
Good thing, he is willing to extend this part of his life to many small business owners when he takes on Financial Accounting classes later on in our FREE Grow Your Business Webinar. This is a virtual workshop we host every two weeks to teach individuals and business owners tricks we learn as we go on our own journey of growth.
Flutterwave’s SME-centric approach to growing emerging economies has since come into play in both product, marketing and with Israel, recruitment. We want people who share the same level of passion as us, when it comes to growing businesses. Israel and his SME-obsession is slated to be a great addition in both experience and passion for the customers and the customers of our customers.
Israel is not the one to shy away from challenges
As is with everything in life, there must be roadblocks and challenges when one is embarking on an important journey in life. Sometimes, the roadblocks come from places and people we least expect. Israel as a teenager has already built enough social and emotional muscle to navigate through challenging situations, while keeping his head up high.
A case in point was when his teachers opposed his early passion for Finance. Like every smart young Senior, his teachers wanted a career in the Sciences for him. Israel knew what he wanted and an eagle-eyed focus was all he needed to respectfully decline what looked like great advice.
Many years later, after a rigorous and successful career in Financial Consulting, Israel has not stopped navigating challenging situations with grace, aura and valor.
There is a lesson in there, for anyone whose passion for a career, partner, business etc is not welcomed by the larger society or even in some cases, family. Just like Israel, the advice remains, follow your heart!
Because of Israel’s choice to go with Finance, here he is, a Waver, telling his story, after nine years with KPMG and three years with Anderson. Of Course, he’d never forget to mention what really makes him tick!
“I am a game freak!” he declares.
Israel is not like your everyday Finance nerd
The stereotype of most finance people include, nerdy, soaked in numbers and drilled down on their PC with confusing green, yellow and red lines of graphs. While Israel is a lover of analytics and Mathematics, he is like every other millennial. He is sociable, an avid lover of video games and sports.
“Video games are an important part of my life. In Fact, when I am not working or learning, I am most likely playing video games.” On how his wife copes with that aspect of his life, Israel replied, “that is why it is important to marry your best friend. I play video games with my wife and we both enjoy it. It wouldn’t be long before my son joins the family business,” he concludes with a laugh.
“Virtual reality has changed everything about video games and any brand that wants to remain relevant must not only embrace it, but conquer it,” Israel said as Seun nudged him about his thoughts on the global video game industry.
Israel will not be alone on this journey
Israel’s career progression reads like a well thought-out poem, “In KPMG, I was advising Managers of the Business, like MDs, CEOs but in Anderson, I started advising the owners of the business, themselves,” he said.
He has apparently conquered the Consulting world, an industry he holds at a high regard. “I would advise anyone looking to start a Finance career, to start at a Consulting Firm. There is no one size-fits all scenario, but from my experience, in Consulting, you are exposed to a lot of projects that form you into a robust Finance Analyst and Leader, within a short period of time,” he advised.
For Israel, it’s now time to go over to the other side and face the challenges of leading a very ambitious Scale-Up into IPO and keeping the company healthy and buoyant while at it.
Israel will not do all of these alone. Along this journey of corporate discovery, he will be flanked by a team of goal-oriented Leaders, Managers, Technologists, Support, Sales, Marketing, Legal Staff who believe that Africa is not a country, but we make it seem like one.