Spending time with family and friends always tops the list for Carin Langner. ‘There’s nothing better than to kuier with those you care about the most,’ she says. ‘I also love finding breakfast spots. It’s my favourite meal of the day. Having it in a beautiful environment where you can tap into the energy of a buzz of people is what sets my outlook for the day.’
As a child Carin wanted to be a paediatrician, but an aptitude test at school convinced her otherwise. ‘I wanted to help people,’ she says. ‘But our school counsellor made me realise that there were other ways to do that. That’s how I ended up doing a BCom degree at the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University). In 2002, I started my journey to become a chartered accountant as an articled clerk at Deloitte in Gqeberha. Within a week, I understood that the profession was my true calling.’
Over the next 15 years, Carin progressed through the ranks at Deloitte and was promoted to the position of associate director in 2014. She also became a registered auditor. In 2017, she was offered the opportunity to join the Deloitte national office audit technical team in Johannesburg. As a member of the SAICA Assurance Guidance Committee, she also contributes to the development of solutions for challenges faced by CAs(SA).
‘My role has given me many opportunities to provide technical audit support on complex PCAOB, listed and public engagements across industries and throughout Africa,’ she says. ‘In the last year I’ve also assumed the role of Deloitte Africa Internal Controls Leader, focusing on building core skills and embedding the importance of internal controls in the financial reporting ecosystem.’
One of the most significant career milestones for Carin was the day she passed the then board exams, marking the culmination of years of intensive academic and practical training. ‘I don’t think there’s a CA(SA) who doesn’t recall that,’ she says.
‘I was also honoured to be part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Top 40-under-40 in 2015. But it’s those moments when you see the impact you’ve made that truly stand out for me. Being involved in an accounting winter school for 500 disadvantaged matriculants across the Eastern Cape in association with Deloitte, the NMMU and SAICA’s Thuthuka programme was a humbling experience. I also find it incredibly rewarding to see the transformation of trainees into CAs(SA) and watching their careers soar.’
As a registered auditor, Carin helps people every day, whether she is developing aspiring chartered accountants, supporting professionals facing challenges, or safeguarding the interests of stakeholders relying on financial statements. What sets the CA(SA) qualification apart, she says, is how it equips individuals with critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, and leadership skills.
‘Studying human behaviour, including my own, and communicating effectively have been essential to navigating career challenges and still are,’ Carin says. ‘I am my own work in progress. Understanding and accepting our differences allows for increased awareness, empathy, and adaptability when interacting with others.’
Staying true to herself has played a significant role in her success. Discovering her strengths and core values helped Carin define the kind of leader she aspires to be.
‘In my technical role, I challenge engagement partners on their professional judgments during audits, emphasising the importance of high-quality evidence to support audit opinions. I have also dedicated time to upskilling more than 1 000 practitioners across Africa on auditing standards and developments, simplifying audit concepts and encouraging innovative ways to learn. Believe it or not, performing a substantive analytical procedure is a lot like baking a cake!’
Having been in the profession for 20-plus years, Carin says it’s an ever-changing environment which is what makes it so exciting. Carin has this advice for aspiring accountants: ‘Say “yes” to opportunities, “yes” to those that scare you the most. They will be the ones that define your career!’