JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
WHEN he was a small boy, Andrew Chibuye had a fascination with science, and his dream was to become a nuclear physicist. The young boy’s dream was couched by his great interest in science and mathematics and a knack to solve problems.
“I was always fascinated by what nuclear energy can do. I knew I wanted to be an engineer of some sort, that was my primary desire,” he says.
But when he completed his high school at Mpelembe Secondary School, Andrew had to settle for a second-choice career – accounting.
And he has to confess: “Becoming an accountant was never really my number one choice.”
He could have pursued studies in engineering at the University of Zambia, but was discouraged from enrolling at the institution because it was rocked with persistent unexpected closures at the time.
“In 2000, I left Mpelembe to join the real world. This is the juncture in life where one has to make that all-important decision – career choice. With my inspirational dad having set the scene of what is possible in the profession, I set myself on a career in accounting,” he says.
Andrew’s father, Gabriel Chibuye, was a well-respected accountant and one of the founders of the accountant’s professional body. He was also a partner at the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche for 14 years.
“My father was one of the first qualified accountants in Zambia,” says Andrew.
Andrew enrolled at the Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZICAS) to study ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
He says he chose ACCA because at that time, the ZICA (Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants) qualification was still in its infancy.
“I was determined to come out of ZICAS with the best results. I spent a great deal of time studying. I never missed a single lecture in my two-and-half years at ZICAS unless I was sick. I tried to be a role model student,” he says.
That commitment did pay off when Andrew graduated as the overall best student.
And a job was not hard to come by for a high-flying student. On December 15, 2003, aged only 21, he got his first job at Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC) Zambia.
By the time he was 33, Andrew had already made his mark in the accounting profession, becoming the youngest partner at PwC Zambia.
He dreamt of becoming a partner of an accounting firm much earlier in his career.
“Becoming a partner at a very young age was something that I always aspired to,” he says.
Although he says it is also something “I never thought was possible.”
Andrew describes accounting as a reasonably challenging career.
“My journey in the profession has been an exciting and fulfilling one. It is my earnest prayer that everyone who starts out on the road to becoming a professional accountant will find fulfilment and achieve their professional career goals,” he says.
One of Andrew’s career highlights was a two-year stint in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“The international experience gained has helped me tremendously to this day,” he says.
Andrew names prominent accountant Norman Mbazima among his role models.
Mr Mbazima is a top executive in Anglo America.
“He is someone I have studied and looked up to,” says Andrew.
But he also counts his pastor Bruce Msidi as one of his inspirations. He also speaks highly of Patrick Osagi, the pastor he met while at college.
“They provided me a great deal of inspiration,” he says.
After obtaining his ACCA qualification, Andrew did not stop pushing himself academically.
In 2004, Andrew obtained an ACCA diploma in international financial reporting, and two years later, he obtained a degree in applied accounting from the Oxford Brookes University.
He is also a holder of an MBA from Manchester Business School.
“I realised early that the world was going to be very competitive in terms of academic performance and the minimum qualification for you to make it out there, so I set out to achieve the best that I could,” he says.
But his success can also be attributed to his commitment to his clients.
“I enjoy serving my clients and mentoring people and strive to deliver value in all that I do. This drive and commitment is what I can attribute to my success and what I try to impart in those I mentor,” he says.
Andrew’s major goal in life is to make a difference in people’s lives.
“I think he would have been quiet proud of me,” Andrew says of his father, who is late.
Andrew was born on December 1, 1982 in Ndola. He is the second born in a family of four.
He describes his family growing up as comfortable.
“My father and my mother both worked very hard to provide for us. They always encouraged us to live within our means and to live a simple life like they did,” he says.
He says his parents had to forego some comforts in order to educate the children, driven by the belief that their children must achieve more than they.
“They sacrificed a great deal in terms of the comforts of life to make sure that we had a descent education because that is what was most important to them,” he says.
And boy, did they do a good job.
When it comes to academic achievement and career, the Chibuye family has an enviable profile.
Andrew’s older brother is an engineer, while two of his younger siblings are a lawyer and doctor.
Andrew’s parents made their children believe that they could grow up achieving more than what they achieved themselves.
“The family ethos was very critical from an early stage. We had parents who were firm but also very open,” he says.
Andrew says his parent’s openness helped him to avoid some of the pitfalls of youth.
“My relationship with my parents helped me a great deal to stay focused and to overcome some of the challengers that I encountered, especially in my teen years,” he says.
His parents were devout Catholics who raised their children based on strong religious tenets.
“We spent most of our time in church and doing church activities,” says Andrew.
Andrew is married to Mainza Nabuyanda, his college sweetheart he sang with in the choir. The couple has three children: David, who is aged six and Yande (3).
Three months ago, the couple welcomed their third child named Malaika.
Andrew has remained committed to his religious duties and now serves as a deacon in charge of finance at his church, Mount Zion Christian Centre.
He says God is exceptionally important in his achievements.
“I believe none of what I have achieved would have been possible without Him,” he says.
When he is not busy cracking numbers, Andrew spends his time cycling. It is a hobby he picked only three years ago.
“With the kind of work I do, I needed an exercise that is physically exerting,” he says.
He also serves as president for the Twin Palm Bike Club, as well as committee member of the Cycling Association of Zambia.