There is a common factor in all stories of young people growing up in the rural areas. It is never easy for them to know and understand what careers are out there, what they can do and what they cannot do. The possibility of them pursuing a career other than being a teacher, nurse, doctor, or engineer are very slim.
The lack of knowledge and understanding of one’s skills, the variety of choices that are out there for their future often narrows their career paths. Upon getting to a higher institution, some get enticed by the name of a course. Others are fortunate enough to find people to guide them in the right direction.
One such person is Jabu Hobyane, who grew up in the outskirts of Limpopo in a remote village called Shigalo-Nthlamu. After completing his primary and high school studies at a local school, he was admitted to the University of Johannesburg where he completed a certificate in sports administration. He then took a gap year, during which he spent time with a young friend who was studying accounting in high school. He familiarised himself with the accounting world and realised he could make a career out of it.
Jabu then enrolled with Tshwane University of Technology for a national diploma in Local Government Finance. He then got a chance to train under Guarantee Trust, which operates one of the best accounting work-readiness programmes in the world. It was here that he honed his skills and decided a career in accounting was his destiny.
Jabu kick-started his career as a finance assistance at Saiba in February, 2016. Now in his fifth year, he has worked his way through the ranks to the accounts-debtors manager position. When we sat down with Jabu, he explained how grateful he is that Saiba gave him a chance to grow, learn, upskill himself and allow him to be a “pro” in his job. “The culture and environment that Saiba offers, where you are placed on a platform to learn on your own and find your feet, is something that most companies do not offer.”
What are your duties as an accounts-debtors manager?
I work closely with the senior accountant, but I will sum up my duties that are within my day’s work.
- Monitoring members accounts
- Account queries
- Allocate payments
- Update profiles and accounts
- Reconciliation of members accounts
- Sending Invoices to members
- Processing, and allocation of Debit Orders
- And other related account queries
How is it working from home?
It’s a bit difficult compared to working in an office with people. In the office you get to spend lunch time with colleagues, where you can catch up and socialise. But one thing I love about working from home is that I became more productive and I became self-disciplined towards my duties and priorities. I can say that is a skill I acquired during the lockdown.
Why do you like working at Saiba?
Giving people the opportunity to know how they can expand and nourish their careers makes me happy. Also giving them information that they know nothing about and giving them access to resources to grow themselves is something that makes me love my job and working at Saiba. This is something I never got from when I was starting my career, where I could help other people. It’s something my younger self wanted. This means a great deal to me.
The most difficult members experience
During my first week of work I had the most terrifying experience. As someone who deals with finance, making a mistake or not putting everything correctly in someone’s account is the worst thing that can happen. A member called to verify that his accounts are in order, and from what I could see it was not. The member was furious and was even considering getting my superior because he was in good standing as a member. At that point, I got advice and I went into all the email correspondence, got proof of his transactions and I fixed everything. I called the member and apologised. To this day, every January the member calls me to renew his membership and now we have a great relationship.
How can you advise members to better use the services at Saiba?
- For every member, I advise them to always (daily), go to the website on their profile. There are guides which can teach you and inform you about what you need. These are free of charge, so utilise them.
- Watch the free webinars, they will help you learn how to grow your practice and upskill yourself.
- Read our weekly newsletter, Accounting Weekly, which keeps you up to date with what happening in and around your field and the country.
· What do you feel are the best services offered by Saiba?
- The webinars. There are free ones available on your profile and there is no way that you can watch and not learn something. Also note that you can benefit from the discounts that we offer.
What do you do outside the workplace?
On weekends I spend my time in Soweto, with the family. I value family so much because I grew up in a big family with eight siblings, being the fourth child. I spend my time with them, and I enjoy it a lot. If I am not with them, I have my friends around where I live, and we sit discussing politics, soccer and bounce ideas off each other.
We have plans of growing ourselves outside our jobs and securing a brighter future for ourselves in business. Apart from that, I intend to grow with Saiba and continue contributing to its development. From the five years I have been here, Saiba has become a part of me and part of my goals is to continue being of assistance to Saiba and I want to help it grow – which it is doing.