As CFO for Saiba, Chantelle Booyens knows the burden she is expected to carry. As a professional accounting body, Saiba’s internal finances and governance must be above reproach. The same standards of ethics and good governance she sets internally are disseminated to the membership.
She’s a foodie at heart, and a car enthusiast who joined Saiba in 2014 and has witnessed its phenomenal growth since then. Saiba has become a powerful voice in the accounting profession and has brought a standard of excellence to its members.
Born in Welkom in the Free State, Chantelle grew up in a small town between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom in North West. She completed her high school there, but due to lack of finances was unable to go to university right away.
She then decided to enrol with Unisa for an accounting degree to follow the Chartered Accountancy route. She started her articles in Klerksdorp, and at 19 she moved to Centurion to seek greener pastures. Like many students, finances were tight.
“I lived off noodles and apples for quite some time, in a small bachelor apartment,” she says.
She started articles with an accounting firm, but felt unfulfilled and moved to another firm offering Saipa (SA Institute of Professional Accountants) articles. Her first official job was as a junior accountant at Hot Dog café. She was promoted to senior accountant, and after two years joined Saiba, in 2014.
I was recruited by a consultant who asked me to come and do an interview with Saiba. I was delighted that I got the job, and started as a financial manager. As Saiba grew, I was then promoted to CFO. I have loved the seven years spent thus far with Saiba. I was able to witness its growth and I know that this is not where we stop. The vision that our CEO Nicolaas van Wyk carries is bold and ambitious, and we are working towards being a powerful force, not just in SA, but also internationally. Our goal is to be known in different countries as one of the best professional bodies in the world.
CFO role at Saiba
Most of my days are spent in meetings. I am also involved in coaching and mentoring those who report to me, and the staff at large. I am responsible for handling financial reports, managing the cashflow, overseeing the staff and hiring consultants where necessary. I also draft contracts for newly-established partnerships with other companies.
Part of my responsibility to keep a close eye on the working relationships of the staff, finding out how that can be improved and making sure that we are functioning as well internally as we are externally.
What pushed me to where I am was the faith. It kept me going. Then comes my intense love for food, I had promised myself to work hard so that I can eat whatever and whenever, and I did just that. I am also fascinated with cars. I want to take care of my family and make sure they have what they need.
I have been married for seven years and I have two beautiful children. I love spending time with my family, taking my children to the zoo, having date nights with my husband or friends over for a braai. We have a trampoline at home and I usually spend 20 minutes on it daily, de-stressing with a bit of exercise.
I want to go off-roading and travel. That is something I plan to do with my family. Also, I want to see Saiba grow and be part of that growth. From where Saiba was when I started to where it is now has been an emotional but amazing journey. I am ready to see it grow further. I am also interested in IT, specifically IT development. I am currently taking informal courses to improve my knowledge in this area, and I hope to get a formal qualification in future.