Kada Phiri takes the reins at ACCA South Africa

The new acting marketing head of ACCA South Africa brings wide-ranging experience to the role.

Kadammanja (aka Kada) Phiri has been appointed acting market head for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) South Africa, following the departure of Pat Semenya. Kada previously held the role of business development officer and has been responsible for enhancing relationships with all key stakeholders for the past years.

In his new role, he will continue to work to make education more accessible to more people, to seek to give voice to smaller accounting practices, and to build the accounting profession on the African continent.

Having qualified as a chartered certified accountant with ACCA in the UK, Kada has experienced the organisation as a student, a member, a lecturer and a board member. He has also worked across a wide range of roles and organisations in business, the non-profit sector, and academia, in a total of six different countries.

Before joining ACCA South Africa, he was chief planning officer at CharterQuest Financial Training Institute and before that, FD at Afri-Devo, a construction and development company. Prior to that, he held the roles of director – tax, advisory & assurance at Ndugu Consulting, and internal audit manager at Action Aid International Malawi.

“I think what I bring to ACCA is that I am in the unique position of having experienced it as a student, a member and a lecturer, and then having working in small to medium practices (SMPs), which is one of our primary target markets at ACCA,” he says. “I’m not just passionate about education, but about mentoring students as well.”

What excites Kada about his new role is the drive to capacitate SMPs by helping them to recruit trainees who can contribute to building their businesses through ACCA’s Approved Employer programme, while giving students the opportunity to embark on accounting careers and get all-round work experience.

“When I came to South Africa, I worked in a smaller practice and I saw first-hand how much work you do – how much responsibility you can take on – and the value of that for trainees,” he enthuses. “While traditionally everybody tends to gravitate towards the Big Four, at an SMP, you get far more diverse experience. And for those businesses, they are accessing talent and building their skills pipeline.”

He says ACCA South Africa is also working on building relationships and programmes with universities to cater for a broader range of student needs. “There are limited university degree places available,” he says. “And Covid-19 has shown us that people can study from anywhere in the world.”

He explains that ACCA is working in partnership with universities to provide different learning paths to accounting careers, catering for those who might not follow the traditional route via a BCom degree. The organisation is also working on ways to address skills gaps in the market and to explore new models of learning in the digital age.

“South Africa is an important market for us,” he says. “ACCA established its first office outside the UK in the early 1900s, in Johannesburg, South Africa. At the turn of the 20th century, when South African accountants started to organise themselves as a profession, ACCA members were amongst the founder members of the four provincial societies of Chartered Accountants that were formed at the time. ACCA re-entered South Africa in 1994 during its time of transformation.” Today, ACCA supports 233,000 fully qualified members and 536,000 future members worldwide.

Kada says South Africa is also an influential country in the accounting sphere, contributing significantly to international professional standards development. “South Africa is a well developed capital market and a gateway to the African continent, and we believe that focusing on skills development here is a driver for economic growth locally, across the continent and beyond,” he says. With the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, South Africa’s role is positioned to be more important than ever before.

In support of this vision, ACCA will be running the Virtual Careers Fair Africa on 12 August, where participants can engage face-to-face with employers, apply for live job vacancies and get expert career advice.

“We see ourselves as part of a bigger ecosystem,” says Kada. “We’re working with governments, professional bodies, educational institutions and employers for the development of the accounting profession, and I find that very exciting.”