It was a day of celebration for 49 formerly unemployed trainee accountants as they graduated from a four-month training programme hosted by the SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) designed to prepare them for employment.
Of the 50 enrolled on the programme in June last year, 45 have so far been placed in employment, and are currently in the process of receiving the Business Accountant BA (SA) designation from Saiba, which gives them a professional home and binds them to the Saiba code of ethics and professional standards and establishes them as proud professional accountants.
That’s a placement success rate of more than 90% (considering one trainee fell out of the programme), making it one of the most effective work readiness training programmes of its kind.
In April last year Saiba in conjunction with it’s training partner SA Accounting Academy, put out a call for 50 black graduates seeking a career in accounting. Hundreds of applications were received and eventually whittled down to 50. An additional 35 already employed accountants were also put through a specialised training line-up to hone their skills as accountants and put them on an accelerated career path.
“What I love about accounting is it is the science of order,” said Kutlwano Monnamorwa, one of the recent graduates. “A one page report tells you a lot.”
Kutlwano, 24, comes from Taung in North West Province where she fell in love with accounting and decided to make this her career.
Another graduate is Serogole Mahlatse, 25, from Ga-Mphahlele Tooseng in Limpopo, who decided to pursue a career in accounting after listening to a presentation by a representative of the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA) at her school.
“We are delighted at the phenomenal results of this programme, which is designed to prepare trainee accountants for the workplace,” says Saiba CEO Nicolaas van Wyk. “As a professional body, we have a duty to raise standards of professionalism in accounting and create work opportunities for trainees.
“This is the first time we have run this programme and to have more than 90% of our trainees immediately placed in employment says a great deal about the quality of the programme and the calibre of candidates we trained. We will definitely be doing this as an ongoing activity.”
The trainees will be awarded the BA(SA) designation once they complete the log books which track the tasks they are required to perform as professional accountants. Most should receive their BA(SA) designations by the end of March.
Tania Lee, the programme coordinator within Saiba, says roughly half the trainee accountants have been placed in private accounting firms, with the other half in the corporate sector. A substantial number have been absorbed by Absa.
Some have gone to Absa, some into private practice firms, and a few are sustainably self-employed.
Intuit QuickBooks also partnered with Saiba in the programme, providing trainees with online access to its online certification and suite of products so they could become familiar with the world of computerized and cloud accounting.
“We are delighted with the results of our first intake of trainees,” says Lee. “Accounting skills are in critical need in SA, and the nature of the training programme we offer is geared towards training the accountants of the future – they must be familiar with software tools available to them and their clients, and they must have an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Companies that want to assist in funding trainees (and earn BB-BEE scorecard points) should contact Tania at firstname.lastname@example.org.