Gift to Zest (G2Z) is a Jalalabad-based food processing company that was established with AFN 400,000 (USD 6,000) in 2002; the company specializes in producing jams, pickles, and tomato paste. Although the company’s production was efficient, its internal management and financial record keeping lacked professional and standardized procedures. This resulted in G2Z not being able to reach adequate distribution levels nor understand its overall profit and loss position.

The company suffered from not having a computerized financial accounting system; daily transactions were paper-based and filed inefficiently. There was no proper inventory management of raw materials needed for food producing procedures.

Product pricing was random, and did not take into account production and raw material costs or taxation fees. All these factors made it difficult for G2Z to understand or track its actual revenue as set against expenses, and without this fundamental information, the company’s business expansion plans could not be realized.

G2Z learned about USAID Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE) and its Business Evaluation and Referral service after receiving a visit from the program’s workforce development regional representative.  Recognizing the need to overhaul its financial and accounting system, G2Z agreed to the WIE evaluation process. Following this evaluation, WIE recommended an overhaul of the G2Z accounting system. The services of a WEI pre-approved Business Services Referral (BSP) firm, Afghanistan Industrial Development Advisory Team (AIDAT) were retained to computerize the company’s financial accounting systems.

The WIE Business Evaluation and Referral program is designed to address the lack of professional managerial expertise in Afghan small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and a general reluctance to hire professional service providers, such as accountants, web designers, bookkeepers, and the like. Following an evaluation of a business, the program identifies the specific need of the SME and refers the business owner to an appropriate, pre-approved service provider. WIE maintains oversight and documentation of the ensuing evaluation and recommendation process.

AIDAT, also based in Jalalabad, worked with G2Z to install and train staff on a new computerized accounting system, implement a document management system for timesheets, log books, inventory records, and staff contracts, determine a product pricing guide,  and implement a record-keeping system for payables and receivables.

“I initially invested a lot of money on land, raw material, and machinery, but I did not realize the importance of having proper management and accounting practices,” said Mr. Sher Mohammad, the owner of G2Z said. “AIDAT worked with my staff and showed us how to implement important financial and record-keeping measures. I am now in the position to understand and be able to monitor the financial standing of my business on a daily basis. My company is now poised to expand distribution of our food products into new provinces. I thank WIE for bringing this valuable intervention and learning experience to us.”

WIE assists women-owned businesses or those employing at least ten percent women to perform better, increasing income growth and sustainability of these businesses. Providing technical assistance, industry-specific business skills training, and improved access to finance and markets are WIE key services for leveraging growth in Afghanistan’s private sector.

WIE offers private sector and female workforce development services in 30 provinces across the country in partnership with MoLSAMD and has offices in five regional economic zones in Afghanistan: Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul.  For more information please visit www.promote-wie.com