UKZN academic Ms Navitha Singh Sewpersardh pictured with Mr Fanle Sibisi, President of UKZN Convocation.

Chartered Accountant and UKZN’s Financial Accounting lecturer Ms Navitha Singh Sewpersadh has graduated with a Master of Commerce degree.

Singh Sewpersadh’s dissertation titled: An Investigation into Financial Distress and Corporate Governance in JSE-Listed Companies, was supervised by School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academic Dr Phocenah Nyatanga.

Singh Sewpersadh attributes a lot of her success to her father who, she says, instilled passion and a profound respect for education in her which inspired her to pursue chartered accountancy as a career.

‘I worked full time after matriculating to fund my part-time studies and for a while I thought I would never achieve my CA (SA) designation. It was thus very fulfilling when I did become a Chartered Accountant and worked at the JSE- listed Mondi Ltd.’

Her research topic stemmed from her noticing that many financially distressed businesses often retrenched workers which she believes is not a sustainable solution. Her investigations sought to establish whether there was any association between corporate governance practices and financial distress in companies.

Singh Sewpersadh’s quest to contribute to knowledge generation in the field of accountancy was another reason she enrolled for a full research Masters programme. ‘There is a growing need for accountancy research due to the vital information it contributes to industry and other academics. This qualification allows me to conduct better research into the pressing issues surrounding the industry.’

The lack of research in the area of accounting became evident when she was collecting data which proved to be time-consuming. ‘There were many research-related challenges in pursuing my masters such as data collection which was an extremely labour intensive exercise since there is no research database with corporate governance practices available in a pliable format,’ she said.

She says doing postgraduate studies while holding a full-time job and being a mother of three children was tough but personal sacrifices, family support and good time management skills made it possible for her to complete her studies. ‘I am very grateful to my mom, my husband and my mother-in-law for their continual support.’

‘I am also exceptionally grateful to my supervisor, Dr Nyatanga, for her guidance and mentoring.’

Words: Hazel Langa