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

 

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

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

50 Drivers of change & The 7th annual public sectors conference

The global economic and business landscape is changing with unprecedented speed and uncertainty. Accounting professionals will be expected to look beyond the numbers and collaborate, think, behave more strategically and lead in decision making.

 

There is global consensus that public sector finance needs to adapt in the face of a changing economic landscape. With modernising economies, digital influence and evolving economic sectors, Africa’s public sector finance is confronted by 50 key drivers of change.

 

These 50 drivers of change undertaken in a global study by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accounts) will have the biggest impact on public sector finance leading into 2026. Financial skills not yet practiced will come into demand under requirement and forever change the face of the public sector accountant.

 

THE KEY FOCUS

Unpacking the study at the recently held ACCA 7th Global Public Sector conference in Johannesburg, industry guests and members showcased practical examples of how these 50 drivers of change will influence public sector finance. Manj Kaler, Head of Public Sector ACCA, gave insight into the drivers and by which order they will begin to influence finance industry.

 

Overarching the drivers and theme of the conference is the increase in demand for integrated reporting in the public sector finance.Integrated reporting will require accountants to shift away from financial analysis to business accountancy, focusing on swift action and financial literacy beyond a spread sheet.

 

The public sector is as complex as it is diverse” – Report: 50 Drivers of change in the public sector

 

Unpacking the above influencers, through a panel discussion, Bukkie Adewuyi – Director, Sizwe Ntsabula Gobodo, Xolisa Dlanga – Senior Financial Analyst, Office of the Accountant General and Martin Turner – former president, ACCA – focused on the importance of transparency and accountability. Citizens now demand accountability more than ever, with a strong focus on aligning public sector finance to presidential term successes. More so in Africa, governments are starting to feel the strain from public backlash from corrupt accountancy and mismanaged public sector finances.

 

CITIZENS AND INTRINSIC VALUE

Presenter Patrick Kabuya, Senior Financial Management Specialist – World Bank Group, highlighted two main goals for the Group particularly in Africa, they are; to end extreme poverty, and to promote shared prosperity. The rise in active citizenship in Africa reiterates these goals, holding intrinsic value to transparent and accountable public servants.

 

Sound management of our public finances is a cornerstone of our development plans.” – Pravin Gordhan – Minister of Finance

 

Countrymen and investors want change. Unpacking this social uprising and other drivers of change, the recent study by ACCA draws on Professor Mervyn King’s King IV principles of integrated reporting ; independence from political influence, performance targeting and variable remuneration based on outcomes.

 

ACCA surveyed over 1,000 senior executives, ACCA members and members of other professional accountancy bodies working in public sector organisations and carried out 12 in-depth round table discussions across 11 countries, including South Africa (around 300 participants) to populate the report.

 

The report is structured in two sections, the first introduces the ranking of 50 drivers of change (split into eight domains of relevance) that are expected to impact the public sector in the next five years and beyond. The second section assesses the impact of the drivers on the future public sector landscape.

 

KEY FINDINGS

  • The overall top, critical, driver of change is: level of economic growth, followed by: quality and availability of the global talent pool.
  • The public sector finance function is also experiencing challenges of its own from changes in technology to greater commercial focus and big data.
  • Professional accountants in the sector will need strong set of skills to meet the challenges including strong technical skills, communication skills, professional judgement, vision and leadership skills. Hence it is most important to invest in nurturing and training students.
  • The ability to make linkages, explore perceived economic growth strategies in order to realise visions and plans of national governments.

Read more on economic policies and public finance http://bit.ly/2o9xnl7

Global uncertainty marks drop in business confidence

The South African economy has recorded its fair share in business confidence declines since the 2008 market global crash. Recently, in the 4th Quarter of 2016, the RMB/BER Business Confidence Index declined to 38 from 42 points. This would be equal to levels last seen in the 1970’s and 2010’s.

 

The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and the IMA (the Institute of Management Accountants) point to a similar global business confidence drop in Q4. The findings of the survey highlight businesses and economic forecaster’s sentiment towards 2017 and a new age of uncertainty.

 

CONCERNS, FACTORS

Fall in Government investment; changes in political landscapes and economic isolation are all contributing factors to the decline. The survey of over 4,500 finance professionals and business leaders worldwide has found that while the economic outlook has improved slightly in the US and China over the last quarter, the Eurozone has hit its lowest confidence levels since 2012. In South Africa, business confidence levies are lower than last seen post-2008.

 

44% of respondents expressed concern over falling income due to low levels of government expenditure, with another 43% reporting worsening business confidence.

 

Across the Eurozone, the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in December 2016, combined with a series of upcoming national elections, has led to a downbeat mood while UK business confidence fell sharply ahead of Brexit negotiations.

 

 “Current political uncertainty is clearly having an impact on global business confidence. In the US the Trans-Pacific Partnership is unlikely to be ratified while likely restrictions on trade with key markets including China and Mexico are also major factors here. In Europe, uncertainty over the outcome of elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany – which could lead to major policy shifts for regional trade and the future direction of the Eurozone – all contribute to a gloomy outlook going into 2017.”findings Faye Chua, Head of Business Insights at ACCA

 

FUTURE UNCERTAINTY

Despite this and the slowdown in manufacturing worldwide, the global economy may be on course for growth in 2017, supported significantly by China’s growing response to its economic stimulus programme and the US maintaining a partial recovery.

 

In South Africa, there is an overall consensus that the Rands strength could beat 2015 levels. A stronger Rand equates to economic stabilisation, steady inflation, and stronger GDP figures. What South African economists are now looking towards is the level of uncertainty brought on by rapidly changing domestic and international economies, politics and trade figures. However, the State of the National Address  will give clearer guidance locally to the year ahead and market analysts can have more concrete views on how we emerge on international trade pacts.

 

To view the survey visit http://bit.ly/2jtIsxi

 

Fieldwork for the Q4 2016 GECS took place between 24th November and 13th December 2016 and attracted 4,551 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, including more than 350 CFOs.

 

References

http://bit.ly/1eJT3sihttp://bit.ly/1eJT3si

http://bit.ly/2n9Rxuv

http://bit.ly/2n9UISQhttp://bit.ly/2n9UISQ

http://bit.ly/2n9RMWz

 

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