What influenced your decision to become a CA(SA)?
I first heard about the profession from my friend in high school. Her father was a CA(SA). I always had a passion for accounting – I used to maintain the monthly household files for my parents from a young age, and I excelled in accounting at high school. The accounting route seemed like a natural career choice for me.
What are the two greatest business lessons that the CA(SA) designation has taught you over the years?
Business Lesson #1: Adaptability
In order for any business to thrive, it needs to:
have a business strategy,
understand and conduct a risk assessment,
execute a plan, and
be able to change the plan constantly to suit the changing environment.
During my training as a CA(SA) I was constantly exposed to changes; different rotations; different work environments; varying work cultures; changes to work schedules, etc. Learning how to adapt to these changes has instilled the business skills within me to be adaptable, and respond quickly to changes, whilst still maintaining a professional attitude.
Business Lesson #2: Persevere
The path to becoming a CA(SA) is a difficult one – and I soon found out how difficult this was when I commenced with my second year of varsity studies. I often compare the path to becoming a Chartered Accountant to being very similar to that of climbing Mount Everest – there are many people that desire to climb Mount Everest, but not everyone makes it to the top!
So qualifying as a Chartered Accountant has definitely taught me the skills of hard work, determination, and perseverance – key skills that are required of business leaders.
You are a specialist in business skill training and career development, why did you take that route as a CA(SA)?
When I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, I quickly realised that although I had successfully climbed my ‘Mount Everest,’ there were still many more mountains to climb.
I understood that I still needed to learn skills like:
• dealing with conflict and stress,
• communicate and presenting to all levels of
• network and managing my career.
I started a journey of self-learning: attending courses on my own, personal reading, studying for further accreditations, and associating myself with like-minded individuals who served as role models to me.
These activities not only helped to fast-track my learning but they also opened up further career opportunities and networks.
I chose to become a specialist in business skill training and career development because as professionals, we risk becoming dispensable in an age of abundance.
So yes, it is vital that we learn how to reinvent ourselves by constantly learning new business skills and managing our careers.
Is that why you started your own company?
Yes. The training courses, workshops, individual consults, and keynote speeches that I offer, are all aimed to help individuals manage their careers so that they can become more employable.
What are three things you should never do in this business?
1. Never think that you know better than your customers – they are the ones buying from you. Always ask for feedback and find ways to adapt your product or service to meet their needs.
2. Never stop growing. As soon as your business has achieved certain targets and success, it means that you should start a new ‘S-Curve’ – develop new products, service new markets, and set bigger targets.
3. Never let your small business make you become small-minded. In the words of Donald Trump: “Think Big!”
You earned the Competent Communicator award. What can other CAs(SA) learn by improving their communication skills?
It is said that if you overcome the fear of public speaking, you will be among the top quartile of the population. And since there are currently around 6 billion people globally, – I believe that this is a good place for a CA(SA) to start.
What are the three things that make your job easy?
1. Having a passion for what I do.
2. Aligning the work that I do to a greater purpose.
3. Having a network of people that support and complement my work.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Passing my QE1 examination on my third attempt! Before QE1, I did not experience much failure: I passed Matric with an ‘A’ Aggregate and I received a Deans commendation in my first year of studies, and then, QE1 happened! I failed this examination twice! (Remember my Mount Everest?)
I am thankful for that experience of failure as it taught me many life lessons:
• I learnt the importance of having a balance of support and challenge from my family and friends – it is at this border that I learnt to achieve personal growth
• I learnt to stop comparing myself to others and start comparing myself against my prior ‘best’ attempt
• I learnt to believe in myself and to persist in spite of all the statistics against me
• I learnt to watch my thoughts, as they direct my words. I learnt to watch what I say, because my thoughts can become my actions and ultimately – my experience.
I consider this a great accomplishment because in the months leading up to my third attempt at QE1, I started reading a lot of self-help books. Those books helped to change my way of thinking and outlook on life.
Passing QE1 did not only fulfill an educational goal, but I also gained life skills and insights – life skills and insights that I teach people today.
If you were the finance minister, which department would get the biggest budget and why?
The economy requires more qualified professionals to contribute to the service sector. I also believe that the education system needs to be reviewed – currently the entire educational system is geared towards developing more employees than employers.
We need to build more entrepreneurial skills at a young age by hosting more science fairs; leadership camps, thought leadership speeches, debates and business contests.
What is one thing that we would be surprised to know about you?
I am a roller-coaster junkie! I have been since a young age. I recently visited Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi with my family – and of course – I had to ride ‘The Ferrari Rossa’, the world’s fastest roller coaster ride!
What a thrill! I went back for a second round – this time waiting for the front seat. Because let’s face it – if you are going to ride the fastest roller coaster ride in the world – you might as well wait for the best seat of all!
This is very similar to one of my mottos in life, “If you are going to take the time to do something – you might as well do it properly”.
What is your worst quality?
I have a sweet tooth of note! I am much better – now – at limiting my sugar intake than I was a few years ago, but I acknowledge that I can still do better.
Author: Mpho Netshivhambe