As a professional accounting body, Saiba believes it must set the standard for its members and the rest of the profession.
Saiba’s own senior accountant Francois Geldenhuys sets incredibly high standards for himself and Saiba, and expects those standards to ripple down through the membership. Who better to guide us through some of the tools he uses to boost efficiency. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools Francois uses, and recommends other do the same. The focus, he says, is always on being able to produce accurate work with minimal to no mistakes.
Acquire good Excel skills
Excel is one of Francois’ most essential tools, and it is vital to learn new aspects of the programme (many of them available on Youtube) to perform functions such as: financial reporting, analysis, graphic representation, and as a backup in case your accounting system breaks. More than just a spreadsheet, Excel allows users to perform all sorts of interesting analysis, compare data, and present figures in a graphic form to bosses, or clients. “Having Excel as a skill improves your chances of employment,” says Francois.
This is an application that helps you organise your work and your progress. Getting your daily and weekly work organised in list form as a battle plan makes life easier, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time. It also helps in meeting deadlines and staying ahead of the curve when many projects are running simultaneously.
You need a solid accounting package like QuickBooks
QuickBooks is the go-to accounting software package for Saiba members, and with good reason. It is flexible, customisable and rich in data and report functionality. Accountants who have not yet migrated to the cloud are being left behind and will likely disappear altogether in the next few years. Cloud-based accounting is safe, secure, and a good software system like QuickBooks allows payroll and other functions to be integrated into the system.
Compliance software (Draftworx)
Draftworx makes sure you stay abreast of IFRS and the ever-changing regulatory and compliance issues impacting company reporting. Saiba is proud to panrter with Draftworx, which is a great South African success story now represented in more than 20 countries around the world.
Gmail or Outlook have incredible functionality for organising, prioritising or searching emails – which have become the primary means of communication between team members and clients. Use them, learn their functionality, and be sure to keep your emails brief and to the point.
Keep a schedule and be analytic
Francois recommendfs following a routine and keeping a tight schedule.
“I find it fulfilling to list my tasks and cross them off when they are done. Once you are done with your work, take time away, come back and look at it. Be your own critic and look at your work from the viewpoint of a third party. This is important because sometimes you cannot see your own mistakes that easily.
“Never assume that what you are doing is always right. Do research and ask if you do not understand something. Accurate financials are critical for the growth of the organisation, and when you make a mistake it affects more than you. Do not sweep things under the rug because. That will cause them to get even more out of hand.”
The importance of ethics
Lying catches up with you, you cannot lie with numbers, says Francois. “Own up to your mistakes, because that is how you learn and grow. If you don’t have ethics, then your work becomes questionable.
“It is important to remember that it is not only knowing how to handle accounts and do financials that matters, but you have to keep order in everything you do. This is what makes you credible, which is vital in finance and accounting.”