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The road to success is not a straight line, as Michiel van der Schyf found out

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‘The road to success is never a straight line’. That saying describes perfectly the career journey of Saiba member Michiel van der Schyf.

Michiel is the proud holder of Saiba’s BAP(SA) designation, but he’s about as different an accountant as you would expect to find.

Many young people who have a clear vision of their future never anticipate the obstacles and time it takes to get there. Michiel was one such person. After completing Grade 12, he applied to the University of Pretoria for a B. Com accounting course but, due to lack of funding, was unable to attend.

To survive, Michiel started doing odd jobs in finance and admin, while pursuing his love for numbers and business. Seeing his path to success blocked for the time being, he ventured into dancing, “I used to assist my dance partner with her hair and a friend of mine was a stylist, and he encouraged me to study hairdressing, so I enrolled for a diploma in hairdressing.”

Michiel’s hairdressing career lasted from 1999 to 2009. In 2005, he took another career turn by launching into bookkeeping. Business was doing well, so he then enrolled for a diploma in occupational education and a higher certificate in business management. He started consulting for many skills development providers, developing training and e-learning material.

In 2015 he enrolled for an MBA at Mancosa (Management College of Southern Africa), graduating with distinctions in all his accounting and business modules. He also completed a National Diploma in financial accounting.

“I developed a passion for being part of the training and operational side of business. With all the skills that I acquired during my salon years, and with my occupational education background, I was able to incorporate them into the running of my practice that I started in 2020. I am part of the team, developing and building the businesses of my clients.”

What challenges did you encounter on your career journey?

From where I started, I can say it was hard to reinvent myself. It took a long time and a lot of money to build what I have but with the financial contribution of people who are close to me, I thrived. Also, being a father of two boys and having to manage and spend time with my family while trying to succeed was hard, but I managed.

Competition is always tough, so it is essential to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Blending his skills in education and accounting skills, Michiel continues to be involved in the processes and strategies of developing businesses. He is involved in the educational part of the Saiba Practice Support Network (PSN) event. “I love being a part of the Saiba family because they care about helping build small businesses and pushing members to thrive. That is what I stand for and do for my clients and that is why I see Saiba as a good home for me.”

Michiel sees many avenues to get you where you want to be, regardless of where you are now. If you have a goal, work towards it and eventually you will see the bigger picture and reach your goals – but never give up, he says.