These are the skills the chartered accountant, auditor of the future will need

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” said Greek philosopher, Socrates. If this is true, then why, almost 2500 years later, are the disruptive children in the classroom still scolded for being bad apples when they should be praised for changing the status quo? One profession is embracing disruption as the new order of the day. Here is how chartered accountants [(CAs(SA)], along with other professions, are preparing to navigate their way through the disruption of the digital age.

The ability to adapt to change (which is happening at an unprecedented rate) is arguably one of the most important attributes that CAs(SA) will need in our digital age.

In January 2016, the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, said that we are entering a fourth industrial revolution; characterised by new technologies that will fundamentally alter the way in which we live, work and relate to one another.

He added that technological advances such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, biotechnology and quantum computing, among others, could transform industries in every country.

“Future CAs(SA) will need a balance between non-technical and technical skills to continue to demonstrate competence in serving the public’s interest,” says Professor Karin Barac, head of the Auditing Department at the University of Pretoria, “Future CAs(SA) will also need more business acumen to support decision making.”

READ:
The chartered accountant of the future
The future of the professions
Your next co-worker could be a robot

 

This is precisely why, in a project called CA2025, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), together with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), has commissioned research into the expected competencies of CAs(SA) and Registered Auditors (RAs) in the future.

This research, which is being undertaken by a research team comprising academics from the University of Pretoria’s Department of Auditing recently concluded the first phase of a three part study to identify current thinking of the competencies that future CAs and RAs will most likely require.

Karin Barac, lead researcher for CA2025, offers a perspective on gaps in the CA(SA) skills set that need to be filled in South Africa.

“Competence is highly prized by the accounting and auditing professions, in addition to theoretical knowledge,” says Barac. “This explains the stringent assessment methods used for certifying accounting and auditing professionals, where it is not uncommon for candidates to make several attempts before meeting the assessment criteria and qualifying.

“Qualification expectations are specified in terms of outcomes, or what an individual can accomplish, rather than just theoretical knowledge.”

“The CAs of tomorrow will need a clear understanding of big data and analytics, together with a high level of IT competence.”

“Included among their non-technical skills,” Barac continues, “will be the need to demonstrate competence in high order thinking skills (such as critical thinking skills, analytical and problem solving skills, as well as strategic thinking skills) to interpret computer generated data and to make the right decisions. Future CAs(SA) will need more business acumen to support decision-making.

“This will need to be done by CAs(SA) who are both ethical and lifelong learners and who demonstrate continuous and timely efforts to learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Although it is early days, a general theme has emerged through the research.

“Preliminary findings show a “knowledge triangle” of technical knowledge, business acumen, strategy and risk,” says Barac. “This is supported by higher order skills, interpersonal skills as well as leadership and citizenship qualities.”

An important competency that has emerged is citizenship; described as the ability to display social conscience across cultures.

“Our emphasis is on the need for CAs(SA) to be relevant and to evolve as the needs of the market unfolds,” says Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive for Professional Development at SAICA. “It’s incredibly important that we create entry level CAs(SA) who can think critically and out of the box, and adapt with ease to the changing environment.”

  • Article written by Samantha Barnes, SAICA

Related Content

SAICA CEO Freeman Nomvalo on cleaning up SA’s audit profession

South Africa’s auditing profession has been thrown into disarray following a plethora of scandals involving Tongaat Hulett, VBS, Steinhoff and KPMG to find out what is being done to clean up the profession CNBC Africa’s Fifi Peters speaks to SAICA CEO Freeman Nomvalo.

IRBA to probe Eskom auditors

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors has concluded its disciplinary process into the improper conduct of the auditor responsible for the Linkway Trading audit. Linkway was mentioned in the Gupta-leaks as the conduit which paid for the Gupta wedding at Sun City. Bernard Agulhas, CEO of IRBA joins CNBC Africa for more.

SA’s chartered accounting profession seeks to rebuild trust

SA’s chartered accounting profession seeks to rebuild trust

South Africa’s auditing regulator refers KPMG to disciplinary hearing

South Africa's Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has referred KPMG to a disciplinary hearing following an investigation of its work for Linkway Trading,...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

In conversation with Ethiopia’s first female president

In this CNBC Africa Special, Forbes Africa Editor Renuka Methil, speaks to a leader who made history as the first female president of Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. President Sahle-Work Zewde is currently the only serving female head of state in Africa and in October, will complete two years in office....

How e-commerce is transforming SA’s liquor industry amid COVID-19 lock-down

South African’s were able to quench their thirst from Monday, after the 2 month alcohol ban was lifted under level 3 lock-down regulations. Liquor stores across the country opened their doors to eager customers who are able to buy alcohol in stores and online in the limited days of Monday to Thursday. Jonah Naidoo, Co-Owner of the Boutique liquor store Dry Dock joins CNBC Africa for more.

Is there space for specialty items in post-Covid-19 Rwanda?

The Kigali Farmers and Artistans Market is a monthly event which brings over 250 independent vendors together to create a shopping opportunity for items such as handmade art, clothing and accessories; juices, natural cosmetics, artisanal food items, and fresh produce. By now the event should not only have expanded to Mombasa, but this month would've been their 3 year anniversary. Now with over 2 months out of commission, what have they done to survive? And will there be a market for what they offer when they return? Kigali Farmers and Artistans Market Founder, Florence Mwashimba joins CNBC Africa for more.

Nokanda becomes first locally made App to rank #1 on Google Play Store Rwanda

This week, Made in Rwanda cashless payment app, Nokanda, a product of software company, Hexacomb; rose to the number one spot on Google Play Store’s, “Top Free” category in Rwanda. The ranking, which often belongs to social media giants such as, WhatsApp and Facebook reflects a change in priorities for mobile users in the country. CNBC Africa spoke to Ernest Kayinamura, founder and CEO of the company for more.

Partner Content

Sanlam Emerging Markets and its partners on the African continent invest over $12 million to fight COVID-19

As we go through this global pandemic together, it is the little things we miss. A high five, a handshake, a walk...

VIVO CEO is a dynamic leader for this innovative global brand

May 2020 -- Six months ago the vision for vivo in South Africa was just beginning to...

Trending Now

How Pan African countries are responding to COVID-19

Covid-19 has caused havoc across the continent, the question is how much of it and what are African nations doing about it. We have a man who works with 33 countries in Africa and he can tell us just that, Junior Ngulube, Vice Chairman of Sanlam Pan Africa joins CNBC Africa for more....

Zedcrest Capital CEO on COVID-19, debt sustainability & Nigeria’s economic future

Nigeria’s National Assembly has approved the $5.5 billion external loan request of the executive arm of government to fund the country's budget deficit. While addressing the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, the lawmakers raised the oil price benchmark to $28 per barrel from the $25. Dayo Amzat, Managing Director and CEO of Zedcrest Capital joins CNBC Africa for more.

Against the Odds with Peace Hyde EP06 hosts Udo Okonjo

Udo Okonjo is an international lawyer and real estate entrepreneur who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Fine and Country West Africa, a global real estate brand, specializing in providing a premium service through exceptional marketing. But to get to the top of the chaotic luxury real estate market in West Africa, Okonjo had to not only be exceptional at what she does but also overcome insurmountable challenges against all odds. https://www.cnbcafrica.com/category/tv-shows/against-all-odds/...

Transcorp CEO on adapting to the post -COVID economy

Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge with the latest update indicating that over 11,000 cases have been confirmed so far. As businesses explore ways to sustain their operations amid the outbreak, Owen Omogiafo, President and Group CEO of Transcorp joins CNBC Africa to discuss how the conglomerate is adapting to the post COVID economy.
- Advertisement -