In this series we continue to profile women in accounting, their uniqueness, their careers and the significance of women’s month to them. When we met up (virtually) with Tsoanelo Mosikili BAP(SA), we were struck by the warmth and passion in her voice. She was excited to share her career journey and what women’s month means to her.
Born in the Eastern Cape, she later moved to Qwaqwa where she indulged her love for economics and started drawing up a list of universities that were perfect for furthering her career. But the tragic loss of her father in Grade 12 made it difficult for her to be too far away from home.
Tsoanelo holds a National Diploma in commercial practice from the Durban University of Technology and a Bachelors degree in economics from UNISA. She started her career as a bookkeeper in 2009, then quickly rose through the ranks to become financial administrator and later finance manager. She credits her senior manager as the inspiration that propelled her forward and encouraged her to work hard.
“It is hard to thrive in a male-dominated industry because you have to work twice as hard, but I am grateful to have people who motivated me and told me I can do it.”
Like most Saiba members, Tsoanelo had a business plan in mind. She registered her own business, Orifile Thabiso Business Accountants, and then discovered Saiba and the benefits of continuous training and professional improvement. Her professional growth since then has been meteoric, and today she holds the position of finance officer at the University of Free State.
Obtaining her BAP(SA) designation has become one of the biggest highlights of her career. coupled with successfully getting funding for two organisations: Karabelo Day and Aftercare Centre, and Mosa Community Projects, an agricultural non-profit organisation. Her work in these organisations involves managing the finances, offering training on compliance and conflict resolution.
With the highs also comes the lows. Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, working from home means limited income, loss of some big clients and occasionally having to dip into savings. And all this while still being a wife and a mother.
The lessons learned during these difficult times? “Having a supportive family and realising that when everything else is going wrong, the safest place to be is home with the people you love,” says Tsoanelo.
Working from home brings its own challenges, particularly the need to separate the hats of mother and finance manager. Being able to draw a line between your professional life and how you act when around your family is vital, she says.
Another piece of advice to aspiring women accountants: “Each day is different. How you present yourself is important because you might be going to the mall to buy milk and meet a potential client. You also need to be professional at all times, treat people with equal respect regardless of their social class. Respect time and honour appointments because it affects your image. Go the extra mile for clients.”
On women’s empowerment, she says it is vital for women never to allow themselves to be taken for granted, and to treat each other with dignity and respect. A concluding thought: “Women can do more when they stick together and help build each other. This paves the way for them to rise to the top.”