The one thing that fascinated me when I was growing up was the time spent in chamas. I never understood why my Saturday evenings had to be spent making tea for strangers who kept talking about money.
Chamas have for a very long time been a path to financial freedom for most Kenyans. When capitalized in wisely, these investment groups have the potential to make substantial gains for its individuals, allowing them to pool in their individual resources to achieve financial independence. However, chamas are sometimes not always smooth sailing.
One thing that I noticed about the meetings held at our house was that not everyone showed up. I mean, it’s a Saturday evening, I should be spending time with my family or watching the game at a ka-local with the guys, not going over to a house to wait for people who won’t even show up.
There’s also the annoying bit of members who don’t show up when you need to transact. First of all, to be registered, a group has to have a constitution, a list of elected officials and these members have to have copies of their identity cards and evidence of registration fee payments. This is all fine and dandy until when the time comes for the group to have some money from the bank and one of the required members is unavailable. Why? Because we still lived in an age people need to synchronize their schedules with other people so you can all be at the bank at the same time to make a transaction.
When Equity bank recently launched #EazzyBanking, a new digital banking solution that promises to deliver its customers from the misery of normal banking that includes back and forth trips to branches and the necessity of physically availing yourself at the bank to transact, one of their products #EazzyChama was among those revolutionary products.
EazzyChama is a book keeping tool for chamas that allows all members to monitor withdrawals, fund transfers and deposits that are performed on the Chama’s bank account through a single window dashboard in real time. This product brings a much needed breath of fresh air to group or joint account holders who have been in the past forced to physically visit their bank branches to fill and sign bureaucratic papers to effect transactions.
How does Eazzy Chama work?
Some of the functionalities of EazzyChama include:
- Automation of member invoicing
- Generation of individual statements for all contributing members
- A system where members can login to view their financial position within the group, reminds them to make payments, stores group data on the online (on a cloud that is available to any member of the group anytime and anywhere in the world)
- A cash book module for use by the Treasurer.
What does it guarantee you as a chama?
For a day and age where anything can happen, including break-ins and fires, more and more people are turning to the sustainability functions of the cloud. The beauty about having your information stored online is that no matter what happens to your physical data, you can still be able to access it anywhere and anytime provided you have a reliable internet connection.
Ask yourself this, how secure is your chama’s information, is it prone to access by a third party and what guarantee do you have that your information will not visible to unauthorized users?
One of the advantages of EazzyChama is the fact that group data can be stored online meaning there’s no need to start rushing to look for those hard covered books that have the chamas info and in case a situation like theft occurs to one of the principal group members and that information is stolen, one can easily secure that data.
- Ease of management
Another guarantee from EazzyChama is that it can virtually do everything for you. Here’s a snippet of the areas that the EazzyChama product covers:
- Financial Management
EazzyChama acts as an online treasurer. It gracefully handles different payments for example contributions payments, member loan payments, bank loan payments etc. and all one does is record payments and EazzyChama reconciles the records.
- Membership Management
It also allows one to register all members on the system where they access to their chama records online.
- Bank Account Management
EazzyChama records withdrawals, transfers and deposits that are performed on the bank accounts.
- Expense Management
EazzyChama allows users to track expenses as they occur, be it for land purchases or payments for services.
- Project Management
One can track projects e.g. Expenses regarding purchase of land, and the contributions needed to carry out the project.
- An easy-to-understand system
One thing I’ve come to learn is that not everything requires a long period of prior knowledge or years of education. All you need to understand is how to use a certain system or product. What do I mean? You don’t have to be an expert in finance to know how to file your own KRA returns and you don’t necessarily have to have gone to school to learn how to make a decent meal for your guests. The same thing applies to the EazzyChama product.
As much as it is important to have someone in your group with prior knowledge of finance or accounting it’s not a requirement.
The EazzyChama banking solution is a stable & reliable bookkeeping platform that isn’t complicated, is quite easy to handle and works in such a way that you can be able to understand how to use it on your own and soon enough, you can also be able to handle the group’s transactions without much help. It is the perfect solution for many Kenyans who despite having very little accounting skills swear by the power of chamas.
Let’s face it, treasurers in chamas have a lot on their plates. Keeping up with contributions and following up with members is hard enough, I would imagine that they would not wish to spend any more time trying to prepare reports such as total contributions, loans, investments repayments, defaulters etc.
EazzyChama has the interests of treasures in mind. It is made for treasurers with a tight schedule looking to manage their records in an immaculate manner. With a system that generates the following reports; member statements, cash flow, balance sheets and profit & loss, the solution is an all-round functionality dream come true for treasurers.
- All under one roof
From the little I gathered from my days of making tea for my mum’s chama guests, most chama solutions available are integrated with banking solutions. This required several people handling several functionalities encompassing the group; for example, when the group needed to take out a loan, it was an entirely different process that required entirely different hoops to jump over.
For chamas that do internal lending, EazzyChama provides the platform for recording these loans, making it sustainable for the group to not go through all these unnecessary hurdles.
Visit the EazzyChama website for more details on how it works and to sign up your chama.