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

 

Saloshni Govender – Top Achiever: P2

Well done to Saloshni for being our top achiever second time around!

Which ACCA resources did you make use of to prepare for the P2 exam?ACCA_StudentProfiles.jpg

I used the material provided on the ACCA website (past papers, notes etc) as well as other material from research on the internet etc, and also study material I obtain from friends also study through ACCA.

Please share tips on pre-exam nerves…how do you stay calm?

 I keep telling myself before a paper just to take each paper as they come and give my all to the one that I am writing and forget the rest.

For study tips visit http://bit.ly/2nEPxxu

http://bit.ly/2o1QssR

http://bit.ly/2nnhyY3

 

 

 

Budget Brief: What is the value of Corporate Culture in SME’s?

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In South Africa the rate of success for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) remains relatively low. For SMEs remaining in business past the 5 year mark is in itself a challenge. As the company grows the inclusion of corporate culture becomes essential and companies playing within this space are often called to task in creating their own unique corporate culture. Once this has been established, the questions is then asked, how valuable is one’s corporate culture and as a CFO, can one establish a tangible value for ones company’s corporate culture?

ACCA SA recently hosted a round table discussion on the 2015/2016 National Budget. The key element discussed was the difficulty in doing business in South Africa. From red tape analogies to mission impossible scenarios, all in all business is tough! Remaining compliant in business is as challenging. One of the panellists, Manenzhe Manenzhe, ACCA Member and CFO in Parliament, encourages SMEs to focus on compliancy and move away from corporate wrong doing in order to benefit in the long term.

A point to highlight, and raised by ACCA’s Policy Manager Nomsa Nkomo at the Budget Brief, is that governments inducement of the SME sector has an umbrella effect and one cannot count on these measures alone. One would need to create a competitive edge, a sense of difference, uniqueness and fresh approach to business. Tax relief and government incentives alone will not drive success

A report by ACCA; Culture and Channelling Corporate Behaviour, found that many companies have reduced corporate wrong doing by focussing on building suitable and sustainable corporate culture. The value of reducing corporate wrong doing and increasing productively can then be directly related to a company’s focus on sustainable corporate values and culture.

The report suggests that in designing corporate culture seven points need to be considered. These serve as a starting point for assessment and possible change:

  • Align and embed core values at the very top
  • Watch out for dynamics in groups
  • Track how decisions are being made
  • Be honest about the value of regulation and codes
  • Beware of unintended consequences attached to any incentives structure
  • Find out what motivates people
  • Anticipate trends

SMEs should not only align success with sales figures, corporate culture can add rand value. One is encouraged to see actual value in maintaining a strong sense of corporate culture. As encouraged by Manenzhe, one need focus on compliancy and ethical practise to truly benefit from government assistance. To remain competitive, one would have to create a culture that is dynamic and in line with successful practise.

ETHICS, CFO’s LATEST HURDLE

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Ethics! One word often assumed to be understood by all. Each of us is certain we have a proper understanding of it, but do we really have a proper grasp of the weight this word carries in finance?

The Business Confidence Index reported that the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) shed 2.5 points in December 2014, declining to 88.3 from 90.8. There are a number of reasons that contribute to this; the question though is how much of this tumble is due to a lack of ethics in business?

CFOs and other business managers have a new challenge on their hands. The customer’s perception of the business world has been tainted. The common man on the street is asking: can businesses be trusted with their money? An innovative young man, Robin Cosgrove that was based in the UK, established an Annual Prize supported by ACCA , the Ethics in Finance Robin Cosgrove Prize, seeks to restore ethics and integrity in the finance industry. He believed passionately that the lack of integrity and ethical practice in banking and finance could be a major barrier to sustainable economic development. Though only 31 when he passed on, his vision was prescient in nature.

CFO’s would need to factor in and solve social economic challenges in order to overcome negative perceptions” –Karen Smal,  Acting Head of ACCA South Africa. This means that CFOs would have to look beyond their regular duties and refine their strategies to combat the challenges brought on by doing business in a new age.

The truth is the lack of confidence in our business systems does not only prevent organisations from meeting their sales projections, but it chases away investments that may bring well-needed change in our society.

“Moral principles, as of an individual”, is how Dictionary.com explains this word. If this definition were to be used, it would suggest that businesses have to invest more in educating employees on ethics and integrity. In trying to meet this end, business managers would need to take into consideration the different backgrounds that employees come from; a simple poster on the wall will not do. The media is inundated with stories of fraud and corruption that do not shock us anymore; this is alarming, because the employees are the face and point of contact of the business. If their ethics and values are not enough to stop them from defrauding the company that remunerates them, what hope do we have that they won’t steal from faceless accounts that they have access to?

Business management is all about solving challenges and maintaining prospects and existing clients’ positive perceptions; this end can be met by more and more CFOs allocating portions of their budgets to activities that help in instilling proper ethics to their personnel.