Partnering to Grow Accounting Talent


"SKILLS development is a national imperative for unlocking South Africa's potential. It is also key to creating a sustainable democracy and a better life for all South Africans. It is apt, therefore, that the recent National Skills Authorities National Skills Conference was themed 'invest in skills to secure a better future for all'," says Fasset CEO, Cheryl James. Middle and high-level skills in finance, accounting, management consulting and other financial services play an important role in service delivery in the public sector and in the building of a developmental state.
These skills also play an important role in the sound functioning of the South African economy. It is widely acknowledged that skills shortages across the spectrum are a constraint to economic growth. 'Within the accounting and finance space alone, there is currently a shortage of 22 000 accountants across all areas of specialisation," James explains. The Landelahni Recruitment Group's Financial Services Survey 2010, reveals that 5 465 accounting students, with degrees and diplomas, were developed on average during the period 1999-2009, far fewer than are needed to meet South Africa's skills needs. "Despite the best will in the world, universities and universities of technology are unable to offer sufficient places to meet the current demand for finance and accounting skills. "Fasset, in partnership with professional accounting bodies, is well positioned to assist organisations to grow a pipeline of mid and high-level accounting skills in South Africa.
"We would love to partner with the public and private sector, so that we can take the skills revolution in our sector to the next level," she informs. Since inception, Fasset (the Seta for Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and Other Financial Services) has embraced a partnership model. Fasset has partnered with nine professional bodies: ACCA (Association of Certified Chartered Accountants), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants), Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers), IPFA (Institute of Public Finance Accountants), SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants), I IA (the Institute of Internal Auditors) and ICSA (The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Southern Africa). "Fasset, in partnership with professional accounting bodies, is facilitating the development of finance and accounting skills, in all areas of specialisation, for the broader economy. Over the past 11 years more than 44 385 learners have been registered on Fasset learnerships, and more than 22 955 learners have completed Fasset learnerships," she reveals.
Fasset learnerships culminate in occupationally-directed qualifications registered with professional bodies. The lion's share of Fasset learnerships are at NOF levels 5 to 8, at middle and higher levels of the NOE In a developmental state such as South Africa, there are inevitably many people, who have not had the opportunity to complete their schooling. Many of the 2,5 million young South Africans, aged between 18 to 24, who are not only unemployed, but unemployable, because of very low skills levels, are a case in point. "Inclusivity, the reduction of unemployment and poverty and sustainable jobs are national imperatives. 'The aforementioned group are a talent pool, which could be developed. Contrary to what many may believe, the acquisition of middle and high level accounting skills is achievable, since a number of professional accounting bodies, provide open access. "Aspiring accountants, including those, who may never have studied Accounting before, nor had the opportunity to finish their schooling, are able to register for entry-level accounting qualifications, further their studies, eventually qualifying as midlevel, or higher-level, professional accountants. 'The only requirements for AAT, ACCA, and CIMA's entry qualifications, is that candidates are 16 years of age, numerate and literate," she recounts. Fasset, together with its sector, recognises that it is only by investing in skills that South Africa will be able to secure a better future for all," James concludes. Cheryl James, Fasset CEO.