When he is not punching numbers and making financial decisions, Saiba’s senior of accountant Francois Geldenhuys is an avid video gamer, bookworm, and cinophile.
Born and bred in Centurion, Francois planned a career in medicine when he first left school, but included accounting as one of his elective subjects as a backup plan. After matric, he took a gap year and that put a slightly different slant on things.
He decided to study for a BSc in human physiology with the idea of branching to medicine in his second year, but then switched to a BSc in biotechnology, and finally to biochemistry, always with the idea of continuing his pursuit of medicine as a career.
Tragedy struck in his third year when his father passed away. Francois was forced to put his education on halt due to financial constraints and started looking for a job. He secured a job with an audit firm and then enrolled for a BCom in accounting science as a part-time student with the University of South Africa (Unisa).
After five years at the audit firm, Francois saw an opportunity at Saiba while he was doing pro-bono work and officially joined the Saiba family in January 2020. This was just three months before the Covid lockdown was imposed, requiring a move from the office to home.
A typical day at work
The first thing I do is to get the bank statement for the previous at analyse member fee allocations. I also check supplies, process invoices, do payroll, facilitate the purchasing of assets, take care of the budget revenue, and other admin. I also communicate with the staff and management regarding everything finance-related. I spend about four hours a day on the phone just doing that.
What was your most difficult work experience?
Clearing the backlog when I started with Saiba was difficult. The audit was incomplete, and I also had to file returns for that year while handling my day-to-day duties. It was challenging but I managed, and it helped me gain an understanding of how Saiba works.
What advice can you give members to raise efficiency and make better use of Saiba’s services?
Saiba academy is the best place to start. This is where members can upskill themselves and obtain licences that will assist them to improve productivity and technical knowledge. QuickBooks and DraftWorx are important software programmes for accountants. As a member, my advice to members is to choose what type of services they want to offer and focus on those. Don’t spread yourself too thin, because that is how you end up doing the wrong thing and create a bad name for yourself. If you are not offering a certain service, don’t change just because you see a potential client in front of you. It is not worth it.
Francois is passionate about his work and seeing Saiba expand as an organisation. Accountants have a crucial role to play in the economic life of the country, and will need a larger arsenal of tools to help clients over the difficulties of the past year.
As to his long-term goals, it’s onwards and upwards for Francois, who plans to continue developing his own skills as an accountant and reach the highest rungs of the profession.