SAIPA works hard to establish a future pool of accountancy

SAIPA works hard to establish a future pool of accountancy

The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) is committed to developing talent that is passionate about the accountancy profession. To this end, the organisation established the National Accounting Olympiad (NAO) in 2004 and over the past 11 years it has provided learners with remarkable insight into accounting and their individual potential.

“The accountancy profession is about ensuring the country, a family, a company, have what it takes to survive and grow,” says Faith Ngwenya, SAIPA’s Acting Chief Executive. “Professionals bodies and practitioners have a responsibility in taking care of accounting learners to close the gaps between education curriculums and real world experience.”

Students undergo two levels of assessment and the average pass mark of 40% saw 1, 365 students go through to the next round. In the second assessment this rose to an average of 63%. The 2015 event saw the introduction of an app to support the learning opportunity and lessons were shared with teachers over Whatsapp for easier distribution. In the 11 years since SAIPA started the NAO they have seen participation rise to 370 schools with 3, 388 attending the first round in 2015.

Sponsors for the NAO are some of South Africa’s accounting elite and include Leppard Underwriting, Lombard, University of Johannesburg, VKN Financial Services, Sage Pastel Accounting and Seartec. 

For the winners, the SAIPA National Accounting Olympiad Awards Evening 2015 was nothing short of a life changing experience.

“My biggest dream is to be a professional accountant and having won this competition takes me one step closer to achieving it,” says Ayanda Mabunda, one of the public school winners. Jaco Schoeman, another winner, adds: “The NAO is an opportunity to think outside the box and play with abstract concepts. Everything in life is about perspective, we can see challenges and obstacles, or we can see opportunities.”

Other winners include Uviwe Mbombela, Roger Song and Raadiya Patel.

“Learners are assets and they can become anything and everything they want,” says Boniswa Madikizela, Senior Lecturer: Accounting, Department of Accountancy UJ. “Entering the NAO is not about winning, but about learning from, and enjoying, the experience. Accounting allow people to work in different and exciting roles and to interact with community and make a difference in the lives of others. The NAO helps young people to recognise this value and gives them the support they need to take their dreams further.”

“The NAO tests different skills in different environments while remaining within the school curriculum content,” concludes Kantha Naicker, SAIPA Board Member. “There is a shortage of professional accountants and the NAO is aimed at raising both awareness and the level of accountancy in all schools.”