Our profession’s image has been tarnished by individuals guilty of gross misconduct, polluting public perception about accountants and our conduct. I believe their behaviour to stem from seeing various public figures guilty of same, arrogantly escaping the rule of law in our country
Evolving the value proposition of accountants together
Anton van Wyk CA(SA) and his wife Karen, also a CA(SA), passionately contribute to the profession in their own unique ways
Feeling inspired to embark on a journey of evolution to expand his own skillset for the future world of work, Anton van Wyk CA(SA) realised his passion for sharing his experiences along the way with other qualified accounting, assurance and finance professionals also aspiring to reinvent their own careers. He soon became excited about the potential of leveraging SAICA’s new outcome-based CPD policy to propel careers in the right direction by getting accountants excited about their professional development. Today he and his wife are a team with a mission!
In 2021, Anton co-founded CPD Campus with the Anchor Capital Group for the purpose of constructively disrupting the CPD arena. CPD Campus is an online provider of outcome based continuing professional development (CPD) to professionals in the accountancy, taxation, finance, assurance, and related fields of specialisation. The business achieves this through the provision of a broad range high-quality, thought-leading, and relevant learning interventions developing professionals within recent competency frameworks.
How do you believe accountants can evolve into well-rounded business leaders?
Accountants require new skills. Living the Fourth Industrial Revolution confronts us with the fact that founding our future careers on compliance-based service offerings will soon bear a stamp of redundance. Accountants are the best placed role-players in businesses as they are centrally connected to almost all key business activities. The sooner we realise the potential of embracing this positional advantage, the sooner we will prioritise the expansion of our existing skill sets to include more vital business, digital, relational, and decision-making acumens in our development activities.
What do you believe a critical skill to be that accountants should possess in 2022?
I am going to try and be smart about this by saying ‘curiosity’. I’ve come to the realisation that curiosity didn’t kill the cat, but rather gave it some excitement in its nine long lives! Our mission at CPD Campus is to inspire curiosity in our clients and either help rekindle a dying flame of passion for their current line of work or light another, sparking a learning journey with a brand-new destination.
What are your and Karen’s unique roles?
As managing director of CPD Campus, my role requires building strategic and mutually beneficial relationships with the wide range of key stakeholders of our business, canvassing support from likeminded role-players wishing to excel our profession. Karen heads operations at CPD Campus and being a registered tax professional herself, is also responsible for advancing our tax learning division, which is an accredited provider of professional development in taxation.
What is it like working as a husband/wife couple?
Friends have asked us the same question, saying that such an arrangement would be challenging for them. Karen and I have almost always worked together and enjoy being able to spend time together in our professional capacities too. I see myself as the anything-is-possible dreamer whilst Karen gives clear and hands-on direction for turning our dreams into reality. Let’s just say we are each other’s debit and credit (now that’s cheesy!).
Tell us where you met and how you landed up running a company together?
Karen and I started dating when she was appointed as an academic trainee in taxation at the university where I had been lecturing at the time. We dated for five years before marriage, delayed by the overloaded professional schedules we both juggled, flying across South Africa attending to educational commitments. Founding CPD Campus, I soon realised the need to onboard a go-getter as the operational ‘backbone’ for the business and the rest, as they say, is history!
Karen, please tell us more about yourself and where your unique interests lie?
I am a mother, a wife and a professional with a passion for taxation. I fulfil these roles at different times of the day, prioritising my attention accordingly. Being a working mom, I have gained enormous respect for others in the same position. Growing up I wanted to be a mother and through the grace only of God, we were blessed with two beautiful angel-girls who are our entire world! My interests are not unique but very special to me, nonetheless.
How, do you believe, can accountants restore trust with the public due to very public ethical transgressions and recent corporate accounting scandals? What do you think the root of it is?
The South African public deserves to see that those in breach of their unwavering duty to serve the public interest, are swiftly and publicly brought to justice. Judge Zondo founded the narrative, and we should not fear following suit. Our profession’s image has been tarnished by individuals guilty of gross misconduct, polluting public perception about accountants and our conduct. I believe their behaviour to stem from seeing various public figures guilty of same, arrogantly escaping the rule of law in our country.
You feel there could be a lack of critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills experienced among some professionals? Why, and how can one solve this?
I am sometimes shocked by the root causes of accounting (and assurance) failures in business, indicating an absence of critical thinking as interventional measure. Having been in education, I experienced first-hand the unfortunate increasing inability of even post-graduate learners, soon to enter the workforce, to critically assess given data and adaptively identify and resolve problems using critical thinking skills, to ensure reaching appropriate conclusions in doing so. Increased pressure on tertiary institutions thus exists to instill these critical thinking skills in learners at a very late stage, having been neglected in earlier learning. We need action to convert this challenge into an opportunity!
Karen, according to what motto do you live your life?
Losing my mom to COVID-19 last year made me realise that I sometimes rush through life as if contentment is a future destination. I’ve realised that I should pay more attention to being present in the present; life is just too short not to. My motto in life is to deliberately appreciate each day for the blessing that it is. Live today!
Anton, what is your wish in serving the future profession?
I have a real desire to play my small part in restoring the trust in and credibility of our profession where I can, and where needs be. I still believe South African accountants to be the best in the world and I would be fortunate if the business that I run helps to inspire professionals to constantly reinvent their key value propositions through being students of lifelong learning.