Meet the Team: Teresia


Happy New Year! In today’s Meet the Team post, we introduce Teresia Kairu, BitPesa’s Finance Manager.

Who are you?
My name is Teresia Kairu. I wish my name had an ‘h’ at the end i.e. “Teresiah” but that’s a story for another day. I am a Christian, an accountant by profession even though I’d like to think that what I do is not who I am.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Rumuruti Primary School, a humble school in Laikipia County, Kenya. For High School, I went to Gatero Girls Secondary School in the same county. From there, I came to Nairobi and did my CPAs at KCA University then later pursued a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at Strathmore University.

What team are you on?
I belong to the Finance team at BitPesa, a team that grows by the day, with dedicated members who organize all financial and accounting matters at BitPesa, making sure they are up to local and international standards while offering the best financial services to our customers across the globe.

How did you become part of BitPesa?
It’s a small world. A friend of mine mentioned it to me and I applied for the position. I was looking for a smart team and a challenging position. This was it.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you?
My day starts at 9 AM. I try as much as possible to get to the office at 8:30 AM but I always find myself back to the 9 AM mark. [Laughs] Slack is my first stop, followed by emails. I attend to everything that needs urgent attention then get down to my to-do list of that particular day. This list includes managing all BitPesa accounts to ensure that all daily transactions are properly captured, accurate, reconciled and posted to the system in accordance with international accounting standards. This involves a great deal of teamwork with the finance team and across other departments, and also working closely with external auditors. This includes auditors and tax consultants in all the countries we operate in to ensure we comply with auditing requirements and tax laws. We also work with the legal team to ensure that transactions made are in compliance with laws and regulations.

I am involved in planning as well. When critical decisions have to be made, for instance when expanding to other countries, it is up to the finance team to come up with a cost-benefit analysis and work with the rest of the team to enable proper decision making. I also help with trading. At BitPesa, you wear as many hats as you can and learn the ropes in the process. Sometimes, I look up from my computer to realize it is getting dark. It is never a dull day at BitPesa.

What tools do you use on a daily basis? Favourites?
I use a number of tools to crunch the numbers, so there will be a lot of Excel spreadsheets open on my computer. All the same, I love Slack and Skype. I like that I can talk to a colleague without necessarily disturbing others around me at the same time. It’s good to send data back and forth and generally have a record of information that will help in future. I also love that these communication tools let me work with colleagues who are as far away as San Francisco. WhatsApp is one app that makes sending photos very easy.

What sites do you spend most of your time on?
It is hard to think of one that is not involved in work. I frequent the Business Daily website for the latest in the world of business in Africa. Recently I have begun to spend some time on sites researching on start-ups. I find them helpful as we expand into new markets.

What is the next skill set you would like to learn or expand upon?
Cooking. Again. Best believe I was left home alone at Christmas and realized I forgot how to cook well. No specific cuisine, just good food. I also hope to expand my finance expertise, while exploring strategic management.

What’s your least favourite thing about Nairobi?
The traffic. I have to use a rough road to and from work to avoid it everyday.

What is the last movie you watched?
War Room. Watched it twice. I liked it that much. It’s about prayer and daily life; fighting battles on your knees.

What book are you reading?
Girl on the Train. Borrowed the book from a colleague who rated it very highly. I loved the font, to begin with. (Grins) I loved the suspense and actually got real excited about it at some point. Only that I haven’t managed to finish it for two months now just because I feel the writer is too slow.

Dream vacation?
Somewhere with beautiful beaches. I don’t want to sound cliché by saying Hawaii or Seychelles, so I will stick with any beautiful beach, provided I enjoy the company.

What’s your favourite part of working at BitPesa?
The fact that I work with very smart, humble people. And I am not just saying that, trust me. I love the in-house jokes, especially from our CEO Elizabeth. The team challenges me intellectually and I feel that my career is all growth and nothing else.

What goes on in your life outside of BitPesa?
I watch a lot of series. I am currently re-watching the old ones. Think Prison Break and Desperate Housewives. Add Game of Thrones to that list. On Sundays, I spend the morning in church then rest away in the afternoon (read sleep). When I am not sleeping, I am volunteering at a children’s home. In 2016, I want to venture out and do more of networking, and less of sleeping.

What is your favourite place to hang out in Nairobi?
Java House. I love meeting up with friends in Java over a cup of tea. I have also come to love Mambo Italia for their ice cream.

Where do you want to be in 15 years?
I want to be running my own company. I am also hoping to be a wife and a mother.

Tell us something fun about you!
I sing in the shower a lot. [Laughs]. No one to judge my voice in there. In fact, I would like to be a musician in another life. I am a bit shy. Or I used to be, if that falls under fun.