Simon Mulati studied at Griffith College achieving an MSc in Accounting and Finance Management.
Simon now works as an Auditor at the Office of the Auditor General of Uganda and is also undertaking a PhD with North-West University in South Africa.
“I am charged with risk profiling, planning and executing government audits in different government departments and units; donor-funded projects; research in audit development and quality; undertaking specialised investigations especially in performance audits and forensics;and providing accounting and auditing capacity building training and consultations with the government audit office, private audit firms and tertiary institutions.
"I am also pursuing a Ph.D. in Economic and Management Sciences with Accountancy at the North-West University of South Africa. My research topic is 'Developing an engagement performance framework in enhancing government sector audit report quality in Uganda,' supervised by Prof.Nico van der Merwe. This study will ultimately lead to the development of an engagement performance quality control framework to be used by the OAG Uganda to assure high-quality government audits at the engagement level and publication of several research papers on audit quality in the Ugandan public sector.”
Why did you choose to study at Griffith College?
“I think that Griffith College is one of the most multi-cultural and welcoming institutions in Europe; it has done a lot of publicity and opened its doors to the world, especially in Africa and Asia. The College’s ability to accommodate all cultures and races is extraordinary and well-admired, especially in Uganda. I was offered an Irish Aid Fellowship to study in Dublin, and spoke to various alumni (who also happened to be my friends!), who advised me about studying there.
"The course was spot on, especially in enhancing my functional competencies like leadership and interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. It improved my understanding of different business settings and contexts globally and most importantly acted as a firm foundation and confidence booster for my Ph.D. studies. My one year at Griffith College was worthwhile; I am not afraid to boast about it in conferences, seminars and would never feel shy of being the College’s ambassador to increase awareness and attract more students to further their potential in Ireland.”
Who inspired you during your time at Griffith?
“To be honest, so many personalities were great and inspirational at Griffith College, from the lecturers and faculty administrator to the Head of GBS that it’s difficult to choose one. Nevertheless, Suzanne Burdis was so inspirational not only to me but to the entire class because she never babysat or spoon-fed anyone but ensured that with or without experience in the auditing and accounting field, every student loved the course and strived to complete all their work on time. I think she is phenomenal and a great asset to the College, the Irish community and to people like me, who would love to sit in her class every day of my life!
"I was also impressed by the commitment of the lecturers, who encouraged me not to waste time and to focus on my studies. I think Griffith College has built a great environment and culture among its staff that puts students at the heart of everything.”
What have your greatest achievements and challenges been to date?
“I have had several achievements throughout my life, like being the best privately sponsored and third overall best student in my BCOM class of Makerere University 2009; completing my professional course (CPA-U) in two years and obtaining a meritorious award; winning several trophies and personal accolades as a football and hockey player for my schools, university and country; educating all my siblings and some children in my community; getting my permanent home and a family of three lovely kids; serving in several financial institutions and rising to supervisory positions; successfully completing my Master's degree with a First Class honours from Griffith College Dublin; leading audit teams in different audit assignments and investigations and producing high-quality reports; etc.
"Nevertheless, the greatest achievement that I am proud of and believe will inspire others is successfully applying and enrolling for my Ph.D. studies at the North-West University of South Africa. This is the key to all my future research, consultancy and networking plans. Not everyone travels down this road but everything I hear from those who have traveled it indicates that despite being bumpy, draining, and intensive, the fruits are enormous. I also look forward to helping to dismantle the notion that Ph.D. holders should be in their fifties! I hope to improve my productivity as a young academic, given that the demand for higher education far outstrips supply in Africa.
"Surprisingly, despite being my greatest achievement so far, pursuing my Ph.D. studies has also proved to be my biggest challenge. My studies consume a lot of time, involving extensive reading and consultations - I work late into the night and on public holidays, and it has deprived me of leisure and family time."
What are your future plans?
“I intend to complete my Ph.D. in 2022 and thereafter concentrate on teaching in higher education; continuing my research into Accounting and Auditing, especially with regard to standard-setting, regulation, audit quality, capacity building, audit development and quality control, and community-led models for assessing the impact of government audits and financial reporting in the public sector; continue to nurture my entrepreneurship skills, especially in relation to agricultural value addition and community involvement in business growth; building business consultancies and partnerships within Uganda and internationally.”
What was the inspiration behind your career path?
“My career path and dream has always been to be the most consulted all-round professional and to provide a hands-on learning experience in the East African Region and beyond. Likewise, I was born and still live in a poverty-stricken community with a very high rate of school dropouts, especially young girls who are then married off at around 15 years of age. This has given me a desire to develop networks and relationships that will support me in uplifting the welfare and literacy levels of young people in my community and hopefully benefit other communities indirectly.
"Therefore, pursuing my Master's degree at Griffith College, pursuing my Ph.D., and working as an accountant, auditor, teacher and farmer is developing me and equipping me with the exposure, experience and skills that will enable me to inspire my community and Ugandans at large for the benefit of eliminating illiteracy and poverty in my community. In fact, I dream of setting up an education scholarship programme to benefit families in my community.”
Finally, we asked Simon some quick-fire questions.
Best piece of advice you've received:
“Throughout my upbringing, my parents have been the biggest inspiration and always emphasized two powerful African sayings that I should never forget: 'Build a good name, not much wealth, for the days of wealth are numbered but a good name lives on forever,' and 'Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.' These have formed a formidable pillar in my career and personal life especially in guiding the choices that I make and ensuring that I learn from my mistakes and pick myself up each time I fall down.”
Advice for recent graduates:
“The journey has just started, the destination is unknown and the road ahead may appear very rough; nevertheless, be patient, focused and trust that God knows your destiny; therefore avoid despair, embrace hope and never ever give up!”
Starting out as a student again what would you have done differently?
“If I had the time and the weather was good, I would have traveled a lot.”
How would you describe Griffith College in three words?
- Challenging (but fun)