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Interview With Principal Procurement Officer (COCOBOD) on His Learning Journey With FINEX Skills Hub

At FINEX Skills Hub, community and goodwill are at the core of everything that we do, and the relationships that we have with our members are very valuable to us.

To foster this sense of community and share the value that we create, we reached out to one of our most prominent members of our FINEX community, Francis Achiaw Kumi, to share his FINEX journey and experience with everyone.

Interviewer: Priscilla Baah

Interviewee: Francis Achiaw Kumi

Priscilla: Please introduce yourself. Tell us about your background and what you do at the moment.

Francis: Thank you very much Priscilla for inviting me to this important meeting. My name is Francis Achiaw Kumi. Currently, I am a Principal Procurement Officer. I work with the Quality Control Department of the Ghana Cocoa Board(Cocobod). I also have an Advanced Financial Modeler(AFM) certificate thanks to FINEX Skills Hub.

Priscilla: Before your AFM and Cocobod, would you mind sharing just briefly how your journey has been?

Francis: I must admit I should be one of the most advantaged individuals so far as FINEX Skills Hub is concerned. Before I joined FINEX I didn’t know anything about Excel. In fact, I thought I knew looking at what I was doing at the workplace, but when I joined FINEX a lot of things have changed. Initially, I thought it was going to be an arduous task considering the number of people talking about how difficult learning Excel has been. However, with FINEX the journey has been easier than I expected. There is this saying that recently, we do not need to work hard but rather need to work smart. Most of the work in the office these days are repetitive and involve a lot of manual work. Since I joined FINEX a lot has changed with regard to how I perform my tasks in the office, and my bosses are much appreciative of what FINEX has taught me so far.

Priscilla: I think we can ask you how you discovered FINEX. How did you know that if you wanted to learn Excel, FINEX was the community to join?

Francis: I had a Secondary school platform with Bernard, CEO of FINEX. He used to post some short videos on the page. I had seen these videos for almost two years but had not bothered to open any. Just one time I decided to open one and see what this gentleman had been disturbing us with. Only to realize that it was a solution to a task I had been struggling with in the office. That caught my attention and realized I should just join the community. From there I have really learned a lot to help in my work – contract management, budgeting vs actual, and even monitoring my suppliers’ performance.

Priscilla: What really were your motivations for joining FINEX? Probably in relation to your work, did you want a promotion, did you want more salary or did you just want to learn Excel for fun.

Francis: Honestly, I had heard about Excel being able to do almost every task, so I always wanted the opportunity to learn what actually Excel can help me do myself. My motivation was just to learn something to help me do my work much faster and in a more efficient manner. Starting with FINEX, I never thought about any salary or promotion. My main motivation was to get my work done and done faster.

Priscilla: Okay, thank you. And how exactly did FINEX help you achieve that goal? Was it the way of teaching? How exactly did we help you achieve that?

Francis: Yeah, I mean we have all been students, been in classrooms and come across a lot of teachers, lecturers in a lot of fields, but I think the methodology being adopted by FINEX is much better. Even if you do not know anything, it is more interactive, more of a case study, with everyone working together. It is not a case of somebody standing before you, rattling and then you go and forget, no. The instructors usually have a case study where we all follow along, and we leave nobody behind. As we move along, when you are behind, you can easily be brought in by drawing somebody’s attention. So, I think it is the way of teaching in the program that just makes it easier to learn and acquire skills.

Priscilla: Yeah, I think that makes sense. So apart from the whole classroom and the teaching aspect of FINEX, is there any other aspect of being part of the FINEX Community that you think has been valuable or that you find valuable?

Francis: Yeah, honestly apart from the classroom work, there are occasions that you might have difficulty even with your task outside FINEX work, it could be in your workplace, you could just call anyone on the FINEX team and they are always ready to help you out. So, in FINEX, it is not only limited to the classroom work they do actually but outside the classroom work, no matter which environment you find yourself in, call on the team and I must say they will respond to you and sort you out.

Priscilla: What has been the best part about being part of the FINEX Community for you?

Francis: The best part for me is that now I have been able to automate about 90% of the work we do in my department using Excel. Previously when my boss needed information on something, we had to dig a whole lot of files, but now with just a click of a button, the information is there. We are able to tell whether you are exceeding your budget. With just a glance or a click of a button, you are able to know how much you have exceeded your budget or how much you have been able to spend, which is much easier and time-saving.

Priscilla: Just curious, what do you think the next steps are for you career-wise? Are you still going to be with FINEX?

Francis: Definitely I am going to be with FINEX. The interesting thing is that I started with FINEX in 2019, and we have had three seasons of the program so far. After my first season, I thought I had learned everything I needed to learn for my work, so I nearly did not join the next one. But when I decided to join the next season, I realized I would have done myself great damage if I had not joined because there were a whole lot of new things I learned. After that season I thought I was a champion because I was called for every Excel problem at work. In my third season at FINEX, we were introduced to Power Query and Power BI, which took us to a whole different dimension and got much more interesting. The working environment demands that you have some sort of special skills, especially with data analytics, and FINEX school is where these skills can be learned, so hopefully, I am going to join again next season.

Priscilla: So, there are definitely a lot of people out there that talk about getting some technical skill, learning Excel, or learning something just to boost their productivity at work. For those people that are looking to learn those skills, would you advise them to come to FINEX, and why should they come to FINEX instead of probably going to buy some online course or register for these two-day Excel boot camps for example.

Francis: Before I joined FINEX I had seen a lot of advertisements for short two-day and one-week excel classes. With my experience at FINEX, you cannot learn excel within one week and have it better. FINEX will take you through 16 good weekends, starting you from the very basics. So even Pre-Junior High School students can join FINEX and understand the fundamentals of Excel. FINEX will bring it down and break it down to the smallest particle possible. So honestly, I would advise anybody with any intention of joining any Excel class to join the FINEX community. Comparatively, their prices are so low for the kind of value they are creating.

In FINEX you are going to start as a KG student, they will teach you how to learn from the basics like a Kindergarten student, and in the long run, you are going to get the work done.

Priscilla: Thank you so much for the responses. They have been very helpful.

Francis: One last thing I want to add is that when a lot of people are told to join, they are most concerned with whether they will be getting a certificate or not. Don’t come with the intention of getting a certificate, come with the intention to learn, for your bosses to know that you are delivering. I would advise people to concentrate more on the skills bit and then consider the certificate because the certificate does not guarantee your ability to get the work done.


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