By Anton van Wyk, IIE MSA, Senior Lecturer and Subject Head: Financial Reporting (IFRS)
Programme Leader: Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDip (Acc)) and Professional Certificate in Accountancy (PCA)
Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director at The Independent Institute of Education and Group Academic Director at ADvTECH.
Much has been said in the past few years about the state of the accountancy and auditing professions in South Africa and worldwide and sadly, the picture so painted is not a pretty one.
Plagued by corruption, ethical misconduct and corporate scandals, accountants have been forced to a point of painful introspection. This has led to a profession-wide discussion of what the actual professional skills are that an accountant should possess to be regarded as the accountant of the future. Add to that the pressure of a lessened role and redundancy through technology and artificial intelligence, accountants find themselves in a difficult position where intensive technical knowledge of accounting standards and tax legislation alone, doesn’t provide them with the edge anymore. Clients need real-time and relevant interpretative advice from accountants who have their fingers on the pulse of their businesses.
At the IIE MSA (formerly Monash South Africa) and the IIE Varsity College campuses of The Independent Institution of Education (The IIE), the largest private higher education provider in South Africa, we have taken a deliberate approach regarding our South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) accredited qualifications. Both our curriculum and our teaching and learning approaches are designed to graduate accountants of the future. This means we focus on the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and deliberately equip our students with an understanding of what technology will mean to the profession.
It is widely accepted that engaged students learn better and the adoption of a social constructivist approach to Accountancy has created a practical, learning-by-doing, collaborative environment where students master the technical aspects of Accountancy while also developing advanced competency in critical thinking, problem-solving, ethical behaviour, communication skills, professional skepticism, project management and mastering the dynamics of functioning in a team environment. Our smaller classes make it possible for us to graduate well-balanced, highly skilled young professionals that can enter the profession and take ownership of restoring the public image and trustworthiness of our profession, in partnership with the efforts of the established, highly accomplished and valued existing members of the profession.
Our experienced and highly qualified team is aligned to the responsibility of generating the next generation of Accountant. This, combined with a relevant curriculum, sound learning environment on each campus and our pedagogical approach create a winning formula for success for each student.
The IIE MSA campus has honed this approach to educating Accountants at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and now has a partnership with the campuses of The IIE’s Varsity College which offers an equally well established undergraduate programme.
As leading brands of The IIE we are proud of the role we play in the undergraduate and postgraduate education of students who are lifelong learners, aware of their impact on society and destined to make a significant difference not only in their immediate environment, but also to this beautiful country at large.