30-year-old Lebogang Morare is one of the few black, female chartered accountants in South Africa. She shares where it all began as well as her success tips to the youth
What, exactly does your job entail?
I am a chartered accountant by profession and I currently work as an internal auditor at Standard Bank. My job entails providing an independent assurance that the organisations risk management, governance and internal control processes are operating effectively.
What sparked your interest in this field and what do you enjoy about it?
I joined the profession due to having an interest in accounting back in high school and when I did my research on what career I would like to follow I came across a chartered accountant career. Not only was it focused on Accounting but it had other fields that one could branch out into, therefore offering more opportunity. These fields are taxation, financial management or auditing.
Journey us into how you became a charted accountant, Is there an institution you have to be under to be a recognised CA?
My journey began by enrolling with a South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) accredited university to do my bachelor’s degree, which took three years, plus a year postgrad degree. I then did my first board examination ( Initial Test of Competence), joined EY to do articles for three years. I then did my second board examination (APC) during my second year of articles. I registered with SAICA after completing my articles and passing the second board exam to obtain a membership number and to be a part of a professional body. But all this wasn’t without challenges as it took me 8 years to complete my qualification instead of 6 years.
Describe your busiest day?
My busiest day is when I am auditing a client on their governance, processes, risk management and controls in the company, attending meetings and sessions with the Internal Audit team to work on team goals that we want to achieve for the year.
What skills and personality traits does one need to be successful in this field?
You need to have good communication skills as you engage with different clients, you have to be a team player, resilient, have people’s skills, tolerance, decision making skills and discipline to meet deadlines.
What is the best career advice you have received that you still apply to your job?
There are a number of CA’s, what makes you different and what do you do daily to set you apart from the rest? I apply this to my career every day.
What have been your challenges and highlights as a CA?
Challenges include managing disputes when discussing audit findings with clients. At times there are tight deadlines and you have to work around the clock to meet these deadlines. It’s a highlight for me when clients see the value I add to the service I give them.
Who and what do you credit your success to?
I give credit to the Almighty for giving me the gift and also channeling my life to achieve what I have achieved thus far in my life. My family who have supported me throughout, my mentor who has helped me focus on my goals and myself, for having the discipline and focus to be where I am.
A 2016 report by the Association of Black Accountants of South Africa stated that there are still few black CAs in SA, why do you think is the reason?
The reason for a few Black CA’s could be because of lack of funding, support and lack of knowledge of the profession.
How can young black people break into this career?
To be honest, I think that not all young black people are exposed to the profession and it is individuals like us who should take that initiative to create awareness. Not only create awareness but also be involved in organisations such as ABASA (Association for the advancement of Black Accountants of South Africa), Thuthuka Education Upliftment Fund, be mentors for upcoming CA’S, establish organisations especially in disadvantaged schools to expose young people to the profession as this will enable young black people to break into this career. “It takes a community to raise a child” and I strongly believe that if we live up to this statement and focus on what the ultimate goal is we can achieve greatness and also increase the number of Black CA’s in our country. And if one person wants to bring change, more can follow. “You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi.
What is your advice to young people who want to be successful in industries they are passionate about?
Don’t always see failure as a stopping point but see it as a first attempt in learning. I may have taken two more years to obtain my qualification, but that didn’t stop me from what I always wanted to achieve. It didn’t discourage me from focusing on my goal it only made me stronger and learn the qualities that I now use in my profession.
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