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August 2012

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Real transformation is happening

If you were a woman reading this magazine 50 years ago, the odds were good that your husband provided the money to buy it. You probably voted for the same political party he did and if you had the misfortune to contract breast cancer, he may have been asked to sign the form authorising your mastectomy. Your son may have been destined for university, but not your daughter. And if you actually had a job, your boss would justify why he was paying you less as you were probably just working for “housekeeping money”.

It’s ironic how things change slowly, until the day we realise they’ve changed completely. According to current statistics, the majority of workers in our country are women. More and more women are the primary breadwinners in their households, or contribute essential income to the family bottom line.

As this fundamental shift takes hold, we can be proud that as per a Grant Thornton study shows that 28% of senior management positions in South Africa today are held by women – against a global average of 21%. This sheds a light on the real transformation under way in South Africa.

If we look at how the accountancy profession has transformed, some might think that progress is slow, but read this month’s focus on transformation (p.16) and you may be surprised. We could be seeing the glass as half-empty, when in fact it’s half-full.

SAICA statistics for the past five years reveal that during this period the total number of male CAs(SA) grew by 14%, while the profession’s numbers as a whole expanded by 23%. In this period the female CA(SA) total increased by 50% and the number of black CAs(SA) grew by a massive 80%. Furthermore, we now have a wholly-owned black firm rivalling the Big Four that was co-founded by Nonkululeko Gobodo – the first black woman in South Africa to qualify as a CA(SA).

This month we don’t just celebrate women, we also celebrate the real transformation happening in the industry as a whole.

SAICA’s Thuthuka programme has delivered exceptional results since its inception in 2002. When Thuthuka first got under way, some 322 African and 222 coloured CAs(SA) were registered with SAICA. By the end of 2011 these numbers had grown exponentially to 2184 African and 873 coloured CAs(SA). The Thuthuka initiative is all about broadening and deepening the education pipeline from secondary school level through to qualification as a CAs(SA). It is a holistic channel for support and partnership between government, the profession, commerce, industry and academia. Thuthuka is currently upheld by government and the World Bank as a shining example of how other professions in emerging countries can similarly expand their pipelines of graduates.

If you still believe that the Accountancy Profession isn’t showing enough progress in transformation, just look at the statistics. It is clear that a new dawn for the profession is glowing bright.

Gerinda

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