Meet our #SAIPAproud member

Prem Govender

Prem Govender

Meet Prem Govender, Financial Planner at Mosswick Investments (Pty) ltd.

What attracted you to the accountancy profession?

My late Dad was an accountant and my sisters, and I spent most of our school holidays at his office, so it seemed like a natural choice! I come from a family of six women and every single one of us attained a BCom degree as our first qualification. Need I say more?

What inspires you about your work?

I love the fact that I bring solutions to people running their own businesses or professional practices. I also love that I get trusted with confidential financial information.

Who inspires you, and why?

Must be my late Dad. He taught me integrity, what it means to be an ethical accountant and human being but mostly he taught me the value of hard work and putting your clients’ needs first.

Tell us about your biggest challenge, and how you overcame it?

My biggest challenge was entering a very male dominated profession back in the late 1970’s. After qualifying I joined my Dad’s practice and it was very difficult dealing with the prejudices against the ability of women in the financial world, despite my Dad’s support. I overcame this simply by ignoring the negativity and worked hard to prove that I was just as capable as my male counterparts. With this and a positive attitude I was able to win over most of these clients who initially doubted my ability, so much so that I am now dealing with the third generation from the same family! They have really been very loyal to our 58-year-old firm.

Tell us about the highlight of your journey as a professional in accountancy?

There were several highlights but the two that stand out are firstly attaining my Masters degree in Taxation at the ripe old age of 48, something I could only do after my last child left home for university! The second is the opportunity I have been given to serve my professional body both as a volunteer and a Board Director. I believe that it is important to put back into your profession and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do just that.

How enabling has your working environment been?

Most enabling as it has given me the basis to be able to serve as a director on several interesting boards over the years, including an International Standards Setting board.

What disappoints you about the profession?

The fall in the level of ethics and the accounting scandals we have had of late. The accountancy profession was always held in such high esteem as the custodian of ethical behaviour in word and in deed and that unfortunately lies in tatters right now. It will take a long time before we can restore the faith again and that really saddens me.

What would you like to change?

I would definitely like to see more women enter this profession; therefore it is important that we who have come first mentor and encourage young women to consider a career in accountancy. We need to be shining role models for the younger generation.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Still practising my profession! I intend to work for as long as I am physically and mentally well enough to do so, I have so much passion for what I do that I don’t see this as a job, rather it is just a very pleasurable hobby that also enables me to earn a living. I also want to continue to give back to my profession in whatever way I can.

What is your vision for the profession?

My vision is that we embrace technology to take this very valuable profession to new heights and beyond.