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The spark that changed the accounting business in Kosovo
This article is taken from IPAK Vienna/ECIKS Newsletter "Success Stories: Women Entrepreneurs in Kosovo" (Download the complete newsletter as PDF)
Since the end of the war in 1999, Kosovo is developing in all the areas and amounting to the level of other neighboring countries with regard to business development. The more relaxed procedures for operating a business in Kosovo are proving to be fruitful to many creative women.
Women today compete with men in all professions. Melita Ymeraga was raised among numbers. Her father, being an accountant, engaged her in his occupation at a very young age. She built up on that experience and decided to become an accountant herself. Nonetheless, she decided to add a little more flavor to the traditional concept of an accountant. She searched for a modernized version of accounting, a blend of tradition and technology. After many sleepless nights, visits abroad and hundreds of phone calls and e-mails later, she has become the sole representative of Quickbooks, accounting software, for Kosovo.
“My father was one of the very first accountants in the city of Gjakova. I was raised amidst numbers and calculations. Soon enough, I realized I felt pretty comfortable in this occupation and decided to pursue an academic degree in accounting. I helped my father with his clients and the experience has served me well in my career. Even back then, we used a software that was developed locally. I came to see that accounting was my future, my life. With the arrival of the international community chances for employment were higher. I have served as a Financial Manager for many projects in Kosovo,” she says recalling the beginning of her career.
From international organizations, Melita soon moved to the governmental institutions serving the Kosovo Treasury Department, within the Ministry of Economy and Finance. After gaining experience in various institutions, Melita knew she was eager to take her career to another level.
“As they say – Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. This is exactly what happened to me. I wanted change, I wanted a business of my own. In 2007, I received an invitation for a Quickbooks Financial System training. This was the moment where I felt that spark that changed everything. As of that day, like a mother expecting a child, I started to nurture this idea, this desire. I need a partner in this, a person that would be reliable. And fortunately enough, I got the support of my husband. It seems that my marriage resulted to be a good deal in many aspects,” says Melita teasingly.
She rolled up her sleeves, went through all the necessary trainings, obtained all necessary licenses and finally her dream was materialized. The dream did encompass many obstacles, some of which she had expected to occur and others of which she did not think.
“Although registering a business is not a complicated procedure in Kosovo, there are other impediments one faces. Since I had to travel quite often to the UK, it meant I needed to undergo all the necessary procedures to obtain visas. On the other hand, it is not very easy to obtain a loan for a startup business of this kind in Kosovo. But, I was determined not to give up,” says Melita.
With the support of her husband and family, she moved step by step towards the creation of what soon came to be “Melita & Partners”. With the investments she made and a bit of marketing, she soon became known amongst the many businesses that truly appreciated a trustworthy system that would facilitate their financing hassles.
“Every beginning is difficult. One needs to be courageous to establish a private company. I work more than 12 hours a day, I chase clients, and try to do all this at a minimal cost. I believe that the only thing that multiplies when shared with others is knowledge. So, that is what I do, I train others so that we can together develop a sustainable network. The dynamics of this business rewards you with an incomparable experience. I believe that the true formula lies behind creating a strategy and business tactics is a long term approach and vision. This was my opportunity to merge talent, courage and the continuous will to learn new things. It is certainly worth every second of my energy,” continues Melita.
Being a woman has certainly not presented a problem for Melita in her efforts to create the company. She, as many other women in Kosovo, believe that the battle of sexes has seriously diminished in the past decade, especially in the business sphere.
“The role of women in today’s Kosovo is much more different than what it used to be. If one manages to balance family life and career, I do not see being a businesswoman as a mission impossible. On the contrary, I believe women excel in businesses because of their nature-given skills such as the ability to network, the ability to negotiate and to budget. The true source to success is determination. If you do have the courage and determination to keep going regardless of what comes up during the way, you have won half the battle,” claims Melita.
Melita & Partners has given the accounting business in Kosovo a new meaning. It is the concrete result of hard work and insistence that can help one overcome all obstacles that arise on the path to success.
IPAK Vienna / ECIKS