Born in Ngqeleni in the Eastern Cape province, Simphiwe Ntlantsana believes in giving back to the community that nurtured him. After completing high school, he was a recipient of the Thabo Mbeki scholarship that funded his studies, starting with a diploma in internal auditing in 20001 through to a degree in 2003 from the Cape Town University of Technology.
He completed the degree in 2003 and got an opportunity to train with Woolworths – one of the great companies in South Africa. Seven years into employment, he decided to register his own accounting practice. Assisted by his mother and his elder brother, they kept Ntlantsana Accounting and Advisory Services afloat, but in 2011 started to take over some of the responsibilities previously carried by his family members.
“I wanted to help the very community that helped me, that is why I started a practice in the township. It was very difficult because I had to shift their mindset of not believing in township businesses, creating trust for them to know and understand that they don’t have to go to town to get services that are at their doorstep.”
Pre-Covid 19, Ntlantsana’s practice flourished. It had four branches, three in the Western Cape, one in the Eastern Cape with more than 20 employees. It was also recognised provincially and nationally, having received accolades such as the Black Umbrella award and the Cape Leader award, Black Business Quarterly entrepreneur of the year 2014, Iqhawe Mentorship award 2014 and 2016, Future Leaders’ Entrepreneur of the year award 2014, Shanduka Black Umbrella’s Financial Literacy Award 2014 and Most Jobs Created Award 2016 in Port Elizabeth. It was also recognised as one of the Top 40 small businesses in South Africa and the Township Business runner-up.
Giving back to the community
Ntlantsana started an internship programme aimed at uplifting the black community and addressing lack of career opportunities. Currently, Ntlantsana Accounting Advisory Services has partnered with TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges to give graduates opportunities to get further training once they finish their studies.
Ntlantsana said he intends to close the gaping skills gap in poor communities. He plans to leverage his membership in the Black Management Forum and Saiba to advance the cause of getting additional funding for training of disadvantaged comunities.
“Starting a business in a township is difficult. I had to put in a lot of work to change the mindset of the people. This included going to local radio stations and newspapers to advertise my services so that I could gain trust and get the community to come and receive services from me instead of going to the nearest town.”
Ntlantsana said having a business comes with a lot of disappointments, but he is grateful to God for everything. Due to the pandemic, the company was forced to close one branch in the Eastern Cape in March this year, but he says these challenges are necessary as a way to train and instil patience in him.
Saiba member since 2009
For the past 12 years as a Saiba member, Ntlantsana said that he has seen the institute grow, and its members with it. This has meant more opportunities for members and improved services. He also mentioned how grateful he was to have known and got assistance from the late Yvonne Nel. “I am also proud of our CEO Mr Nicolaas van Wyk. He makes members believe in the brand and his leadership qualities are outstanding. His work speaks for him. The Accounting Weekly member profiling is great exposure as well and that is one other reason, I am proud of being a Saiba member.”
Community building is one of Ntlantsana’s passions and he intends to continue his journey by helping more young people, particularly in the black community. He fully intends to continue to upskill himself through the Saiba Academy, with the aim of eventually applying for the CFO (SA) designation through Saiba.