Marcellin Kubwimana, a Capacity Building Specialist at BDF during the training/Photo: Mudingu Joseph
By Joseph Mudingu
A total of 30 Sacco District Deans from the 30 districts across the country have been trained in basic skills in excel application at Beau Sejour Hotel Remera Kigali, under the yauspices of Business Development Fund (BDF) with an aim of equipping Sacco staff members with skills they need to optimize their appreciation and application of data analysis tools during their day to day work.
According to Marcellin Kubwimana, a Capacity Building Specialist at BDF who facilitated the training, it is important that Sacco managers and supervisors get equipped with particular Excel tools so as to maximize returns on investment. He explained that the initiative aims at ensuring proficient use of Excel in the banking sector, adding that without computer skills, SACCO employees and others in the banking and financial sector are bound to meet a lot of limitations in doing their work.
This comes at a time when the country is in a drive to digitalising the microfinance sector, particularly Umurenge SACCOs. Under the Smart Rwanda initiative, the country promotes digital life where all segments of the economy are supposed to embrace ICTs to ease operations, improve service delivery and drive economic growth.
“This one day training program that has been offered to SACCOs will help them improve their skills in the use of excel tools which will enhance their way of keeping books and making follow ups. These particular tools in excel will allow them to manipulate, manage and analyze data helping in decision making and creating efficiencies that will directly affect their work,” says Kubwimana.
According to Kubwimana, the excel tools that they have given to the Sacco staff members are very versatile tools and they will able to use them for different tasks including; agendas, budgets, calendars, charts and diagrams, financial Tools (Loan calculators etc.), forms, inventories and invoices, lists and to-do checklists, planners and reports.
“Whether they are using it for business or to help manage personal database and expenses, acquiring excel skills will give them the right tools to enable them accomplish all their needs” he explained.
Participants trying out the Excel tools/Photo: Mudingu Joseph
What the beneficiaries say
I was first introduced to a spreadsheet or the excel program in 2012 and immediately realized the impact it could have on my working life, says AbayisengaEnock a Sacco Manager and the Dean of Runsinzi District.
“At the time I was a secondary school teacher in charge of the day books and found that I spent half my time searching for minor calculating errors within each book - this was not only time consuming but also very frustrating” says Abayisenga.
Abayisenga says that a lot has changed. Back in 2008 when he had just started working, the spreadsheets were very cumbersome and unless you were very computer oriented they were very difficult to use and understand and therefore initially there was a lot of reluctance to use it.
“I frequently use excel to graph data at my job, but I know the program is capable of a lot more than I would ever use it for. We do use it though not efficiently thus the need to acquire specific tools and training to better our work” says Abayisenga.
Today as the manager of Sacco Rusinzi, Abayisenga has a lot of experience of working in a busy finance departments.
“I’ve seen the need for our financial institutions to develop spreadsheets and tools that integrate multiple sources and streamline time consuming tasks within the busy office” he explains
District deans from 30 districts across the country attending the training at the hotel on Thursday/Photo: Mudingu Joseph
“With this this training that i have received from BDF and the tools that they have taught us to use, I am able to create spreadsheet versions of the day books that automatically subtotal themselves thus removing any errors and making the whole process more efficient.
As someone who uses a Microsoft excel spreadsheet daily, Abayisenga says he cannot imagine what life was like back then when everything was hand-written and hand calculated.
Business Advisory and Business Related trainings is part of the services programs offered by BDF as part of capacity building to SMEs, Entrepreneurs and Financial Institutions.