Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA). Putting diversity at the forefront.
Putting diversity at the forefront
The winner of the Training Office Difference Makers award this year was given to the Training Office of the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA).
This AGSA is running the largest SAICA-accredited auditor training scheme in the country’s public sector and is currently overseeing 15 training offices spread over all 9 provinces, managing learnerships for 1 100 SAICA trainees.
Retaining over 500 young professionals over the past two years, they contribute to the international community, private and public sectors with their professionals leaving the organisation to continue making an impact.
All nine training offices are currently on a SAICA-accredited low-risk rating – this is the best rating that a training office can receive from SAICA, which assesses the training offices on a regular basis.
Putting diversity at the forefront with 60% of the trainees in the current year being female, the AGSA is a leader in transforming and professionalising the industry and profession as one of the biggest contributors of 1 534 CAs(SA), with the majority being black Africans.
The AGSA is also one of the biggest contributors to the Thuthuka bursary fund (R12 500 000 for the 2021 academic year and R11 497 000 for the 2022 academic year).
Their #APClifestyle challenges trainees to adopt a critical, independent, and proactive mindset when applying themselves in the training environment. They also prioritise a holistic approach to addressing well-being in preparing for the examination, supplemented with generous study leave to enable trainees to focus on their preparations.
In addition, the AGSA has recently launched its Ahluma programme that seeks to improve the retention of the young people they train so that they can make a difference in how the AGSA is able to deliver on its mandate.
The AGSA’s different leanerships in auditing, forensic auditors, and information system auditing ensure that they stay relevant and provide diverse skill sets.
Due to the excellent quality of training provided by the AGSA, many of their trainees are absorbed into other public entities, playing a big role in improving audit outcomes. This speaks directly to the AGSA’s intention to shift the culture in the public sector and strengthen the country’s accountability ecosystem.
Don’t leave anyone behind
Sabelo Songca CA(SA), senior audit manager at AGSA Eastern Cape, was recognised for his dedication to nurturing talent and empowering others.
Since starting as a training officer in 2016 at the Eastern Cape Business unit, Sabelo has received two low-risk reviews from SAICA.
‘In my time as a training officer I started with the process of rotation of trainees to different audits not only in the Eastern Cape audits but also to the national audits of AGSA as part of the strategy to expose trainees to different types of public sector audits (such as IFRS audits, banking sector within the public sector),’ explains Sabelo.
The training office has created an enabling environment for trainees to excel and unleash their full potential.
Since Sabelo started as a training officer they have initiated and invested in participating in career expos in collaboration with different stakeholders, including SAICA, the University of
Fort Here, Walter Sisulu University (WSU), and Sindisa Dunga Foundation.
They have also been providing study materials, and sponsoring awards at various universities. “A large component of our CAs(SA) that have qualified come from historically disadvantaged communities and we have given them many opportunities. We have changed their lives and know they can change the circumstances they came from and support their families by being guaranteed employment through the CA (SA) qualification.’
Sabelo’s passion for helping others achieve their potential is what drives him. ‘This allows a person to be sustainable for his or her entire life. My approach to influencing and leading others is to lead by example,’ he explains. ‘I am very dedicated in what I do, with a high work ethic and commitment. My principle is also to not leave anyone behind.
‘I have valued and acknowledged that to influence and lead others you must be able to go all out to support people.’