“Find out what it takes to be successful in your final year”, was the offer made by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) at its annual Accounting Postgraduate Orientation on the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses.
The orientation day, organised by the SAEF and sponsored by the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA), and which attracted more than 300 students, aimed to advise postgraduate candidates in the Accounting discipline on how to approach the final year of their studies and ultimately become chartered accountants.
Participants were addressed on smart learning, time management, approaching postgraduate tutorials and student support services.
In his welcome address, Dean and Head of the School Professor Mabutho Sibanda emphasised the importance of ethics and hard work. He also encouraged and commended students for taking the bold step of being part of an elite group pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA) and a BCom Honours degree in Accountancy.
‘The School has about 700 postgraduate students within the PhD, masters, honours and diploma programmes. South Africa needs more chartered accountants (CA) who uphold the ethics and integrity required in the accounting profession,’ he said.
‘Apply your mind’, was the maxim suggested to students by the Regional Executive of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), Mr Naeem Asvat, who reminded the young hopefuls that their most powerful weapon was their ability to think critically.
‘The point I am trying to make is that you are at a stage now where you are capable, thinking individuals. Applying your mind is going to get you through life, whatever challenges you face. Find solutions by using your mind to your best advantage and don’t look for shortcuts – they often don’t work in life and they definitely won’t work for your PGDA,’ said Asvat.
SAEF alumnus Mr Dumisani Nxumalo of Deloitte and Mr Thabiso Mtshali of UKZN gave inspirational presentations on how they overcame social and academic challenges in their postgraduate journey.
AGSA’s KwaZulu-Natal Senior Manager Mr Hlanganani Makhanyela and trainee auditor Ms Cleona Rajpal spoke about working at the Office of the Auditor General, providing background on the objectives, vision and structure of the organisation.
PGDA student Mr Andile Mnguni shared his views on how the Postgraduate Diploma will be beneficial when the time comes for him to complete his articles, allowing him to realise his dream of becoming a chartered accountant.
Speaking on the importance of the qualification, programme co-ordinator Mr Harold Galt said ‘Both the PGDA and honours degree can be obtained with or without the Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA), although certain rules apply. The CTA is, however, critical as it is required in order to write the South African Institute’s (SAICA) Initial Test of Competence, which leads to the CA (SA) designation. In other words, for those students who wish to qualify as a chartered accountant in South Africa, such a programme of study is imperative towards their ultimate goal’.
Words: Sibonelo Shinga