Sicelo Joja has coined the term ‘3 Cs’ for the skills that are required from chartered accountants globally and gained by local students at SAICA-accredited institutions

It is no secret that South African chartered accountants are globally competitive, as evidenced by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. However, the question arises how globally competitive are accounting students across South Africa at SAICA-accredited institutions studying towards being chartered accountants.

I found myself having to answer this question sitting in an auditorium in Dubai at an international business case completion where my team and I were representing not only South Africa but Africa as the only African team. Upon meeting the different students from 28 different countries one couldn’t help but feel intimidated and daunted at the prospect of competing with some of the brightest young minds from some of the most esteemed universities in the world where alumni from these institutions were global business icons.

I found myself questioning how capable I was as a South African student to compete against such formidable competition. But to my relief and astonishment, as the competition progressed I found my self-doubt dissipate as my team and I were able to hold our own throughout the course of the competition. This was not because of the technical accounting and finance knowledge that was needed or possessed – which in its own right is significant – but because of the cognitive skills we had gained throughout our studies, for which I have coined the term ‘3 Cs’.  These skills are  critical thinking, communication skills, and cultural context.

  • Critical thinking: To be a globally competitive student, one needs to be a critical thinker who can solve problems innovatively through creative thinking in a world in which increasingly complex problems are the order of the day. Through programmes and modules introduced by SAICA at universities, we see this pivotal skill being developed more and more in students. This  is demonstrated by the number of young CA(SA) entrepreneurs that are offering innovative solutions to business problems.
  • Communication skills: These are instrumental in being internationally competitive, as being able to sell an idea to powerful personalities is one of the most important skills one can possess. The ability to articulate and present an idea is one of the most revered and prized skills globally.
  • Cultural context: Coming from a country and university that is diverse the social awareness and tolerance that is intrinsically rooted in South African students sets them apart. This can be seen when attempting to understand the different dynamics of business from different parts of the world and problems that affect business globally.

These skills, coupled with a good technical knowledge, make globally competitive students that are a master of their craft anywhere on the globe.

Author: Sicelo Joja is a CA(SA) student at the University of Johannesburg