Exploring the value CAs bring to organisations

Finance professionals talk about the impact CAs can have in organisations.

Blue Recruiting MD Graeme Marais (pictured above) advocates for hiring a newly qualified CAs and says, “Some employers tend to gravitate towards hiring CAs with some post-articles experience outside of audit,” he says. However, he believes that newly qualified candidates have a lot to offer as well.

“Although there will be some extra mentorship and training required in the initial stages, newly qualified CAs bring extremely strong and up-to-date technical knowledge that can be applied to any technical aspects of the financial role you are hiring for.”

Graeme, a qualified CA, says hiring a newly qualified CA also makes financial sense. “As recruiters we often get asked to find a CA who has been working for about a year post-articles (outside of audit). In our experience, anyone looking to leave after one year in their first job is either not performing and struggling to keep up, or is potentially a job hopper who may jump to another job one year after being with you.

“If you bring in a younger, newly qualified CA, you will be able to train them in the way that best suits your business, and engrain your company DNA right from the start of their career. This tends to enhance loyalty, reducing the likelihood that they will leave after a couple of years.”

Deciding to hire newly qualified CAs also gives you a wider selection of candidates. “Hiring newly qualified CAs gives you a choice of more than 1,000 smart, well-qualified young professionals looking for their first move outside of audit – so you get the best-of-the-best quality with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. And, with our technology that is available in the market, you don’t have to sift through hundreds of CVs anymore,” says Graeme.

Read more: Why you should hire a CA with no experience

Balancing your reactions to conflicts in the workplace
Sasol senior management accountant Irene Chikobvu offers advice to young CAs on how to conduct themselves. She says there should be a distinction between “little conflicts” that shouldn’t worry them too much, and “big conflicts” that need addressing.

Of course, the severity of how someone perceives a conflict may differ from one person to the next depending on their background and personal experiences. It is up to you to decide where you draw the line.

Read more: Should you let things slide or demand respect in the workplace?



Changing the face of accountancy and finance in South Africa
Metropolitan Trading Company CFO Luyanda Gidini is on a mission to boost the number of black CAs in SA.

He says, “My journey to becoming a finance professional has been tough. But I was passionate and determined. Once I put my mind to something that I am passionate about, I will get it done.”

Luyanda is determined to make the path for aspirant black accounting professionals much easier through his involvement with the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (Abasa).

He is particularly vexed by the dearth of black CAs, with Abasa figures showing that out of approximately 40,000 qualified CAs in the country, less than 20 percent are black people. He hopes to make a dent in this number through Abasa’s career days, with the aim of making the accountancy profession desirable to follow among pupils.

Luyanda’s pro bono involvement in Abasa began in 2012 when he was doing his articles at the National Treasury. He was introduced to the organisation by a friend who persuaded him to use his free time and skills on weekends to do community work.

And because Luyanda is passionate about early childhood development and education, he decided to work closely with Abasa’s education committee, which aims to empower high school pupils – mainly in grades 9 up to 12 – with information about accountancy and other professions.

Although Luyanda is Abasa’s secretary-general, he is also involved in the organisation’s outreach initiatives at disadvantaged schools in townships and rural areas across the country.

On weekends, he helps to host career days, where Abasa invites multinational corporations and industry professionals – not just in accounting and finance but across different sectors – to visit pupils at schools to inform them about mentorship opportunities, career choices, bursary information, and the university application process. The initiative also focuses on personal matters such as developing leadership qualities and safer sex practices, as some of the communities that Abasa visits are facing a teenage pregnancy and HIV/Aids crisis.

Read more: CFO Cares: Luyanda Gidini changing the face of accountancy and finance in South Africa

Widening the scope for CAs
In a development that opens new doors of opportunity for many CAs, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) announced in February that CA(SA) credentials are now recognisable in the United States. A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) signed by SAICA, the American Institute of CAPs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) signed an agreement providing both South African chartered accountants and US certified public accountants with a pathway to having their credentials recognised in both countries.

In a statement, SAICA CEO Freeman Nomvalo said that MRAs had furthered the institution’s strategic importance as they enable SAICA to “give its members access to a world-class profession that allows them to work globally”.

NASBA president and CEO Ken Bishop said:

“The sustained relationships and meticulous work of the members of the SAICA and the US International Qualifications Appraisal Board has led to South Africa becoming the seventh country to sign a mutual recognition agreement with the United States. The agreement between the United States and South Africa is a success for all parties and development can be relied upon by boards of accountancy to fulfil their mission to protect the public.”

AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon said that the MRA would help the accounting profession find ways to expand its scope of practice, knowledge and mobility.

Read more: CA(SA) credentials now recognisable in the United States