To celebrate international youth day, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin asks professionals aged under 35 to share their thoughts on the profession: why they qualify as accountants, whether it was challenging and, now that they are in, how they see the profession and where it is going.
Partner in charge
Differentia Chartered Accountants, South Africa
I am an entrepreneur and business person and a social activist. I am a partner in charge at Differentia Chartered Accountants based in Johannesburg. Formerly, I was with LeoFortis Group and QA Auditors Inc, leading both companies. I am a CA (SA) by profession. I currently sit on the council of the Central Johannesburg College which caters for approximately 16000 students. I chair the finance committee and sit on the audit and risk committee.
I decided on the CA (SA) profession with consultation with my mother when I was in high school. She was of the view that I would be able to get a good job if I did a degree in Accounting as it was in demand in the country. I also found comfort when dealing with numbers and based on that I chose to study the Accounting route in university.
I completed my Bachelor of Accounting Sciences at Wits University and also did my postgrad at Wits completing a Higher Diploma in Accountancy. After that I completed my articles at Deloitte and Touche.
From a global standpoint the rankings tell the story of our profession being ranked number one in the world in the World Economic Forum competitiveness index. Our standards are high and robust. We however have an issue of inclusivity and ensuring the vast majority of the country enter the profession and flourish in order for the profession to reflect the demographics of the country.
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As a young person who is also a business person in the profession, the difficulty like any other business comes with scaling and building your business and name in the industry.
Currently SAICA is trying its level best and through programme such as Thuthuka with the strength of the national budget of the country, there are inroads being made to expand the profession and get more people into the profession.
The profession will continue being credible globally because of the robust standards set by the regulatory bodies in the country. However I hope the profession and the regulatory bodies will focus more on the public sector and training a new breed of professionals who will help build capacity in the public sector. A welcome departure from the norm in recent times is the focus on problem solving and case study based form of testing in board exams to ensure professionals coming out of the system become more well-rounded leaders.
Our generation is armed with the idealism of youth and has not been contaminated yet with the cynicism of adulthood. We generally believe that we can change the world and coupled with technical knowledge and energy, that is a good combination. Accelerating the inclusive nature of the profession will definitely be top of the agenda across gender and racial lines to create a more just and equitable profession. There is a wave of new energy in our generation to start businesses and I think the profession will cater more to this need going forward.