C-Sonke Investments: building lasting relationships with clients
Leadership talks to Chief Executive & Managing Member of C-Sonke Investments, Charles Muduna.
L: C-Sonke Investments is a specialist management consultancy company located in Bloemfontein, Free State Province. Please tell us about the company’s origins, what services does the company offer, and to whom?
CM: C-Sonke Investments was established in 2007 as a close corporation with me as the sole member. Our core services are mainly in the domain of corporate governance. strategy formulation and compliance for both private and public sector institutions in South Africa and include amongst others the following: Review and Design of Internal Controls; Corporate Tax Planning and Compliance; Management and Financial Accounting Services; Non-Statutory Audits and Independent Reviews; Statutory and Non-Statutory in-year and annual reporting; Payroll Services; Business secretarial services; Research & Development of Customized Applications/Software.
L: What is the company’s vision? And its mission?
CM: Our vision is to become leading and most preferred consulting and advisory service provider in both private and public sector organizations nationally. Our mission is to fulfill our vision by continuous investment in skills development of our employees and building professional. valuable and long-term business relation ships with our clients.
L: Tell us about your own background, please, and your motivation for starting C-Sonke Investments.
CM: I’ve bee n in consulting and advisory business for 17 years now. I started out at the age of 22 in a partnership business on a part-time basis whilst I was a full-time employee of the then Mangaung Local Municipality until February 2005 when I finally decided to go into business full-time. C-Sonke was born following a split of the partnership business in 2007.
Starting out C-Sonke I was largely motivated firstly by the fact that I had not fully maximized on my potential whilst in partnership business and secondly, when I sacrificed my full-time employment for business in 2005, I had made a stern commitment to my parents that I will never fail and disappoint them , so more than a motivation, I had to keep to the commitment that I made to my pa rents and despite the fact that both my parents have since passed on, I’m determined to keep to that commitment until the end of time!
L: Please tell us how you feel about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how is this concept internalized in your business.
CM: More often than not, the concept of CSR is largely misunderstood in corporate circles and end up being narrowed to some “Hand Out” or “Random Act of Kindness” exercise. I believe corporate social responsibility should
be driven by with sustainable development in mind. By sustain able development I mean a new architecture of development where environment, society and economy are conceived and treated as interconnected in every aspect
of business making decisions process. By failing to recognised sustainable development as an arsenal for CSR, we will never be able to solve a range of environmental and socia-economic challenges ranging from global warming to food security and poverty.
At C-Sonke, we incorporate self- regulation and continuous monitoring of our adherence to laws, regulations and ethical standards as part of our bigger business model while at the same time taking into account public interest in our day-to-day business decision making processes.
L: What is C-Sonke’s value proposition to clients?
CM: Our overarching service strategy is to add value to our clients. Th is value adding process complements various issues such as Knowledge and Skills Transfer, Women and Youth Empowerment, Black Economic Empowerment, and supporting Proudly South African initiatives.
L: What role, if any, do you play in knowledge and skills transfer?
CM: My role is main ly at leadership level. It is my responsibility to ensure that in the first instance , our employees are educationally well capacitated and equipped in any area of our competency before we take up on any assignment and secondly I have to continuously ensure that our knowledge and skills and transfer strategy and ethodology responds to the varying needs of our clients.
L: What is the company’s policy regarding BBBEE?
CM: Our procurement policy is strictly biased towards entities that are BBBEE rated, and those that are members of the Proudly South African Campaign. However, regardless of the BBBEE or Proudly South African credentials of any of our preferred suppliers or service providers, we are always particular about quality of goods and services we procure and more than anything, we always insist on quality from our’ suppliers and service providers.
L: What, in your view, sets C-Sonke apart from its competitors?
CM: Firstly, we never see our clients as our sources of income / revenue, but as valuable partners in finding solutions to their challenges, and for this reason, we always listen to our clients and keep open communication channels at all levels, all the time. Secondly, we understand that one size never fits all, and therefore we device and apply unorthodox solutions for unorthodox challenges faced by our clients.
L: What are some of the plans/ initiatives that you have in mind for the next year?
CM: Over the past two years we have been involved in research and development of our first ever in-house built software package – IEMAS-Supply Chain Management for Local Government. The software is now fully developed and market ready and is already used by two of our major clients. So for the time now until next yea r we will be engaged in intensified marketing drive to ensure that we roll-out this solution to as many municipalities and municipal entities as possible country wide. I must say that what we have come up with is unique in every sense-this is a must have solution for any municipality or municipal entity that is serious about supply chain management compliance.
L: Tell us more about the IEMAS software solutions.
CM: IEMAS Software solution is a suite of custom-built software modules aimed at permanently addressing business processes flows, compliance and preventive internal controls deficiencies in local government institutions. Currently we have a fully-fledged IEMAS-Supply Chain Management and IEMAS-Investment Property Management Modules for local government readily available for the market, however the IEMAS-Supply Chain Management module remains our current flagship product due to its scale and its advanced interface capabilities with various financial systems available in the local government sector.
With IEMAS-Supply Chain Management solutions, I can confidently say that days for irregular expenditure, missing supporting documents, missing minutes of Bid Committees, etc are numbered.
We are currently working on IEMAS Performance Management System and IEMAS
Risk Management Modules specific for local government.
L: Lastly, what message do you have to young and aspiring entrepreneurs?
CM: Don’t wait for things to happen, make things happen! …