Finance Manager: LeFA is financially disciplined
Handling finances can prove a difficult task and it is essential to inculcate prudent habits when it comes to money matters, which is something that the Lesotho Football Association has been doing right in recent years.
The Association’s Finance Manager Litṧepiso Khetsemane sits down with the LeFA media team to talk about how the football body continues to defy the odds growing from strength to strength while other entities struggle to cope with the Covid-19 recession.
LeFA: The Lesotho Football Associations has proved over and over that its very stable, but continues to be accused of misusing funds. How do you address that as the Finance Manager?
LK: You know, I only became aware of such accusations immediately after I joined Lesotho Football Association. My first reaction was oh, no! What did I get myself into? But then, I am not easily rattled, so here I am. I just wish more people could really try to understand and acknowledge how financially disciplined Lesotho Football Association is. LeFA goes through two financial audits annually, consolidated financial audit and FIFA dedicated account central audit review.
LeFA: Does it worry you and your profession as the Finance Manager of the Association?
LK: How people perceive the entity I work for? Personally? yes. Professionally? I am not bothered. I work with numbers and they never lie. Lesotho Football Association has sound financial management internal controls in place. The focus is to spend money prudently on football activities which also ensure return on investment and grants compliance. These controls are and were tested on several occasions and the findings always proved those controls effective.
LeFA: Where is all this coming from?
LK: That I cannot say, all I know is, people form perceptions of what they do not understand. Financial management education helps a great deal in situations such as this. A lot of financial jargon is thrown around in our daily discussions and one would conclude the other knows what they are talking about, to the dismay of many; some people know what they are talking about only half of the time, yet they continue giving out information, which unfortunately those receiving the information consider as facts.
LeFA: You work in a male dominated profession; how do you handle the pressure that comes with it?
LK: Luckily, I am a millennial. Millennials are less segregated by gender in occupations compared to previous generations. However, that does not do away with the fact that women still face variety of challenges, including societal expectations about women leadership abilities. I still get frowned upon when I give out a firm NO! I see again those frowns when I sound very sure of what I am talking about. It’s sad, even today some men still prefer an “unsure woman”, which is hardly the case with me. There are times when I am unsure of somethings, and at such times I ask, I am also not shy to ask for assistance. The pressure I get could be from the work that I do in the football industry; that can be quite demanding.
LeFA: The last two years particularly, the finance department has had to work very closely with the clubs in disbursement of the relief funds. How did you find that exercise?
LK: The process started very smooth, as the teams were applying for the COVID Relief Fund. There were glitches here and there because as we all know Basotho hardly ever adhere to set timelines. The clubs had to report on the 1st tranche of Covid Relief funds as per the regulations. That was when most challenges began. Suddenly for some clubs, the committee members could not be available to provide the supporting documents for the funds used. Or worse, there were no supporting documents whatsoever, yet such a club would still demand the 2nd tranche. All in all, it was a much-needed exercise on the department’s part. We now know the people we are serving and their capabilities.
LeFA: The big one for you as the Finance Manager is having to present the LeFA finances during its congresses. Did you have goosebumps doing it for the first time?
LK: Of course. The Lesotho Football Association is one of those organisations with a huge representation in congresses. My first one was the most challenging. I was never told I shall be presenting Financials; I only knew 10 minutes to presentation that I was to go on stage. But like I said before, I found solace in the fact that I shall be presenting numbers and I survived. All I can say is, it gets better with every presentation and the audiences’ feedback has really been a good and an encouraging one.
LeFA: Has working in football made you fall in love with the sport?
LK: Yes, it did. I had only been to just a handful of matches before working with Lesotho Football Association. I still struggle with the “laws of the game”, but I am getting there, I am now able to make football conversations and for that I am proud of myself. I did also not know there was so much administration that goes into planning for the match day. The discipline and dedication of the technical teams and players never cease to amaze me too. The diversity presented in the football sport prove just how fair football is.
LeFA: What needs to be done to help players handle their finances better? Most of them are very careless in spending it.
LK: Not only players, but most people also lack financial planning knowledge and financial discipline. It only gets worse for football players because their careers are short-lived and for that I believe they need financial management education than most people doing 9 to 5.
LeFA: Your department has been conducting financial management inductions for District Football Association. How important was that exercise For the DIFAs?
LK: It does not matter how small one thinks the organization is, being able to keep proper and adequate financial records for reporting can never be emphasized hard enough. DiFA Officials appreciated those financial Management inductions by Head Office. The district officials were armed with tools for budgeting, prudent spending, and financial reporting techniques. And the latter came on top of the finance’s department need-analysis list for the clubs as they were reporting the utilization of the Covid Relief first tranche.