The gift of quality education in South Africa- ACCA’s active role

June 16 1976, between 3 000 to 10 000 students mobilised by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee took to the streets of Soweto protesting against the then presiding government’s directives. The main event that triggered this protest was the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953 where the language of Afrikaans was made the primary medium of instruction in schools, this language barrier on its own made it difficult for black scholars to receive and make use of quality education.

Despite the dissatisfaction of The Bantu Education Act, it made it possible for more children residing in Soweto to be in schools. However, the quality of Black Education in comparison to White Education was very inferior. The government spent an average of R644 per white student while spending an average of only R42 on each black student.

Furthermore, the University Education Act 45 of 1959 made it unlawful for black students to attend “white” universities, this racial segregation also meant a lower standard of education offered in the “black” universities. Quality higher education for a long time was not attainable to the majority of South Africans.

In the interim of all this racial segregation, the Accredited Certified Chattered Accountants (ACCA) launched its first branch outside the UK right here in South Africa. In 1920 a total of 2 800 students took their Exams with the ACCA. In 1996, ACCA launched a new syllabus, based on international accounting standards, this launch was at an ideal period for the South African populaces as the restrictive Bantu Education Act had just been diminished in 1994.

The ACCA has been striving to provide quality education that is attainable to people of all races, maximising opportunities for all its students. With regards to this, the ACCA offers to its South African students a BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting at the Oxford Brookes University, a first in the market and now the largest undergraduate accounting programme in the world.

The past barriers to quality university education for black students have been lifted, in contribution to quality university education, our ground-breaking partnership with the University of London makes us the first accountancy body to join forces with a university to enable students to gain a Master’s degree and a professional accountancy qualification at the same time, ensuring first grade education.

The ACCA has doubled the number of exam sessions ran, now students can choose from four exam sessions per year. From being the first accountancy body to admit women to membership in 1909 to doubling the number of exam sessions we run in 2016, ACCA is proud to be pioneers of quality education that sees no gender or race. Happy Youth Month!

click here to learn more on the history of ACCA

 

The importance of Data Governance

Data describes the facts and figures that a company processes, it only becomes valuable information after it has been processed to add relevance. Data governance is the overall management of information available, it provides context for using the correct data, defines policies and standards for the proper use of data, and ensures that data management is aligned to the strategy of the entity concerned. It is important to develop a policy that specifies who is accountable for the various portions of data within a business and how accurate it is. A set standard and procedure must be followed, so as to ensure ongoing compliance with governance regulations.

Previously, data was managed solely by technologists. However, business intelligence is fast advancing, key decision makers are now required to have sufficient and accurate business data to make logical and profitable decisions. The interpretation of business assets, liabilities and equity is key information to a prolific business. A Data Governance programme is designed to shape the corporate philosophy of data acquisition, management and archiving. Business advances now require both business and IT components of the business to syndicate in order to define data elements. New data-orientated business functions and roles will emerge, and this should present accountants with a good opportunity, as they are well placed to fulfill some of these functions and roles.

Read more  http://bit.ly/2q9WO9e

 

Chris Watchorn, top achiever march 2017

ACCA_StudentProfiles.ChrisWatchorn.blogCongratulations to Chris for his top achievement in the P5 March exam. We sat with Chris to find a little more on what keeps Chris motivated:

What do you believe being an ACCA member will do for your career?

Becoming a member of a World renowned board has opened numerous exciting doors on a career basis.  Previously under qualified for senior position roles in finance and financial accounting, through the experience gained, commitment demonstrated and theoretical knowledge acquired in obtaining my membership status, such roles are no longer unobtainable.  Companies’ understanding of the value of the ACCA accreditation have since been portrayed in increased interest and consideration.  With a Board behind me and more bargaining power, I now have the opportunity to find a job that is best sculpted to my desires and dreams and not visa-versa.

How do you find the time to study effectively while working full time

I am certain that this is the biggest challenge faced by working ACCA students.  Time management and being strict with time allocated to work and studying is of utmost importance.  I found the only way this was manageable was to set goals and targets at the beginning of every week and ensuring that by the end of the said week, all had been fulfilled.  This meant many late Sunday nights trying to ensure the week’s study sections had been covered as well as completing all work demands. Its not easy but nothing worth it ever is. Draft your study schedule on booking your exam, incorporate your weekly work demands and do your best to keep to it, no matter what life throws at you.

How do you stay motivated?

The commitment required to work and study at the same time is extreme and there will be moments when everything seems too much.  With personal demands, deadlines pilling up at work and an upcoming exam, the pressure will build. But do not be dispirited, focus on the good around you. Your wife/partner’s sacrifices to see you succeed, your inner determination to overcome all adversity and belief in yourself and your future.  Find your motivation and bring it to life. For me, it was my little family, my wonderful wife and beautiful son. Find yours and strive to never give up the great that surrounds you to achieve your goals for them and yourself

What words of encouragement do you have for other students?

 

Never give up. Find your source of strength, be Thankful for what you have been provided with and shoot for the stars.

Finding treasure in the National Treasury

The National Treasury assures us that South Africa is not in a worst case scenario, despite the downgrade by two rating agencies, South Africa is still considered in the investment grade by Moody and Standard & Poor’s. This recognition is enough to create a staircase for. The critical issue at present is to evade further downgrades. With great focus on properly implementing existing policies, there are still many possibilities for the country’s economy to grow. With growth spurred by higher demand in China and a growing economy in the United States, South Africa could yet walk out of its economic downfall.

South African Finance minister Malusi Gigaba will meet International counterparts at the IMF and the World Bank meeting in Washington DC on 21 April 2017  with the aim to reassure, reaffirm and instill confidence in the South African economic stability. The South African Treasury is confident that the economy is resilient and robust enough to bounce back to investment grade, it has policies already being implemented to ensure a lift in the economy and a curb in the decline of the rand. The treasury is assuring citizens of its plans and efforts to boost the nation’s financial situation.

“Radical means it must be quick‚ there must be change and something must happen immediately and transform the economy to serve all our people.” Cyril Ramaphosa

Read more on restoring SA economy here

The Automotive Industry- South Africa’s premier employer

South Africa has one of highest unemployment rates in the world, sitting at a high of 26.5% at present. High levels of unemployment put pressure on the general efficiency of an economy, affecting even the employed. When there is diminutive money to spend, a cyclical economic problem forms. Businesses and employees are affected by a decline in the number of goods consumed.

Despite all these factors, South Africa is still considered one of the Top 10 most developed countries in Africa, it has an economy that is ranked the second largest in the African economies. This is mainly because South Africa has multiple industries contributing to its economy, the Automotive Industry being a giant amongst these.

The Automotive Industry contributes over R210bn in the South African annual GDP, placing over 660,000 jobs and R84.5bn in wages. It is largely based in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Populaces in these provinces rely largely on this industry and its sub-industries, according to the AIEC’s report, it is estimated that each direct automotive job supports at least five other indirect jobs. The modern automotive industry in South Africa was launched in 1995 and has since continued to advance.

The financial responsibility for unemployed persons in South Africa falls largely on the government, with this realisation, the Government has put in place the Automotive Production and Development Program (APDP) which is designed to support and grow one of the country’s premier employers. The APDP hopes to achieve local production of 1.2 million vehicles annually by 2020 thus increasing employment opportunities.

The Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness Initiative (ASCCI) was launched in 2013 as a measure to enhance localisation, production and supplier capabilities. Competition in this industry has significantly grown, more activity within an industry is always positive for the economy. However, global competition has also increased, thus creating difficult and challenging circumstances for the local Automotive Industry. Manufacturers are required to enhance quality, increase organisational efficiencies and drive innovative features into their products while keeping manufacturing costs minimal.

This prolific industry requires a wider source of investment, the Automotive Investment Scheme (AIS) has facilitated more public sector incentives purposed to develop and assist in the manufacturing of automotive components.

The Automotive Industry is a crucial financial contributor in the South African economy, it is responsible for a significant decrease in unemployment. Expectedly, the government has put immense drive and effort into the advancement and success of this industry, ensuring thrive and profitability. Undoubtedly the programs and initiatives put in place have contributed to the increasing growth of the local Automotive Industry.

Read more on the Automotive Industry SA

Three cars manufactured in SA READ

ACCA ZA Newsletter Q1

Welcome to our next, first quarter, newsletter for 2017.

ACCA ZA offers a range of articles that are released in a newsletter format, on an ongoing basis. These articles are informative pieces that focus on global finance, accountancy and future leadership.

The ACCA ZA Newsletters serve to disseminate relevant and hard hitting information on African financial affairs and the accountant profession.

To view the latest newsletter online click here

To view the latest newsletter in PDF click here

Staying financially afloat

South Africa’s junk status downgrade has had a number of dire consequences for both the country and the populaces, economists have warned that the downgrade to junk is likely to trigger a recession as its effects spread to the wider economy. The downgrade greatly complicates the prospects for South Africa being able to stage an economic recovery. Without growth recovery, employment growth and revenue collection will possibly decline.

The state of the economy affects every South African, directly or indirectly. Countries like Columbia, India and Uruguay who have experienced such a downgrade have had to spend an average of 7 years climbing out of downgrade and back into investment-grade. For the mere fact that it is unknown as to how long it will take South Africa to recover, individuals should consider ways to staying financially afloat.

“If you make hasty investment decisions now, without a clear understanding of what is to come, you could increase the risks in your investment portfolio. At this time we need to make careful, strategic and well-planned moves to weather the impending storm. It is important to remain calm and stay invested,” Phillip Kassel -Financial adviser

“Cutting down on indulgences such as eating out in restaurants or buying clothes on a store-card that has a high interest rate, or even packing your own lunchbox instead of buying takeaways, will go a long way towards enabling you to save a little extra each month. Even a small increase in the amount that you put away each month can make a huge difference over time, thanks to the power of compound interest” Phillip Kassel- Financial adviser

Read more on how SA can come back from junk status here