SA Economic growth is in our own hands
New SAIPA Chair believes economic growth lies in the intellect and capabilities of each person in South Africa
Cindy Dibete is the new Chairman of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) and brings with her a deep commitment to transformation, growth and personal development. She believes that economic growth lies in the intellect and capabilities of each person in South Africa and that opportunities always exist to make a positive difference to the country and its communities.
It may sound like an idealistic dream, but Cindy’s walk to success followed her talk. When she was only 13 years old she resolved to become an accountant. She told her mother, then a high school English teacher, that this was her dream, and her exceptional aptitude in math and science then set her story in stone. She pursued this goal with tenacity, doing her research at a Funda Centre with limited resources and working hard to get herself to Technikon and out the other side as one of the top 20 highest performing students.
She was placed in a firm to do her articles straight out of college and ended up handling the books of old box jobs that were considered too lowly for the firm employees. It was only later on, after she had taken this menial work and used it to create an accounting department that was both efficient and up-to-date, that she discovered her appointment had been part of Affirmative Action.
This ignited within her a passion to prove that affirmative action or transformative candidates are not just selected for compliance, but for capability. She sees this as another part of the SAIPA legacy where candidate selection and development is inclusive and recognises ability, not a checklist.
When she left that company it was suddenly in possession of a full-fledged accounting department with a well-organised system and two full time Non-Auditing Accountants. She was in possession of a clearer vision for her dream and went on to SAIPA (previously the CFA) where her capabilities were even further refined and developed in her own practice.
“It is up to us to use what we have to either complain about the wrongs of the past or apply ourselves to developing our economy and each other,” says Cindy. “Develop a work ethic based on how you can transform the environment you are in, and your God-given talent. And we all have unique talents.”
Positive and inspirational, Cindy is a force to be reckoned with and SAIPA will continue to flourish and grow under her dynamic leadership. Her role as chairman was won through hard work, determination and pure talent and she continues to prove every day that the SAIPA legacy of transformation is an inclusive one.
She also offered insight into her world and beliefs and her world of work:
Q: In the perfect world what would the accountancy profession look like?
A: It would be engaged and interconnected with business to inform the building blocks of economic growth. If the people are the lifeblood of the business, accountancy is the eyes.
Q: Why is it important to have a focus on the Professional Accountant (SA) function?
A: A Professional Accountant (SA) creates the systems and internal controls against which the business is subsequently measured.
Q: Have you ever experienced discrimination during your career and what is your stance on this in the workplace?
A: Yes, I have. I must admit that I have not been vocal about instances of discrimination and my fight back has always been in the form of playing the hand I was given. I focus on transforming the environment I am placed in, whether or not my appointment was out of will or a part of compliance.
Q: What is the project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
A: I have quite a few achievements I am proud of and each one has its own story. The fact that I started a viable accounting practice immediately after service articles is definitely on my list, but so is the fact that I started a Company Secretarial Business out of the lessons learned from an accounting practice. Of course, no list would be complete without mentioning how much of an achievement becoming the Chairman of SAIPA is to me, and the fact that this was done entirely on merit.
Q: What is the most common misconception about you?
A: That my career growth has been brought about because of my skin colour, not my capabilities.
Q: What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
A: I think about what radio station has the least serious content that will tickle my funny bone. I also wonder what games I can introduce to get my team to engage with the subject of leadership, and what methods I can use to reach the youth and school children and inspire them.
Q: What song best describes your work ethic?
A: Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen by BAZ Luhrmann.
Q: Describe your life goals in five words or less?
A: Contentment is all that matters.
Photo caption: Cindy Dibete was recently appointed as the new SAIPA Chairman