1 February 2022

Microlearnings from CAs(SA) over 40

Deciding to become a CA(SA)

‘My dad had a retail store in Vanderbijlpark, and from a young age I spent my weekends and holidays helping out and working in his store. I was exposed to business concepts from an early age and at school, I naturally progressed in Accounting. After my schooling, I studied a three-year National Diploma in Cost and Management Accounting full-time at the then Vaal University of Technology and worked with my dad in his business for 10 years.

‘At the age of 29, while on summer vacation, the topic of regrets in life came up where my aunt expressed her disappointment at not achieving her dreams and realised that it is not too late to still pursue my passion to become a CA(SA). So, in February 2009, I enrolled for a BCom Hons (CTA) full-time at Northwest University (Vaal campus) where I attained my undergraduate degree cum laude, then completed my articles at Mazars and moved to EY, where I was a manager for four years.

‘Working in my dad’s business from an early age developed my ability to work with customers. This assisted me tremendously at Mazars and EY, having the ability to anticipate the needs of clients, planning a solution, and then effectively communicating and executing the solution.’

Starting a practice before COVID-19

The entrepreneurial spirit and passion that was ignited in Anisah from a young age led her to take the calculated risk to start her own practice in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘I never had a goal to become a Public Practice Partner: I always wanted to have my own business. While working at EY I was very careful with my spending habits and saved up a buffer fund to ensure that I will have sufficient resources when I do decide to start my own business.

‘At the end of 2019, at 42 years of age, I took a leap of faith and started my own practice. In a way it was a blessing that I did not know when I made the decision that three months into my new business the COVID-19 pandemic would hit, because I may not have had the guts then to make the decision.

‘It has been a challenging two years, but by the grace of God I am slowly building my practice and have secured four clients. I am also marking for SAICA and the APT programme. Working wisely with my buffer fund also helped me to sustain my business.

‘Making use of SAICA’s online support services for Members and associates and Resources has been of great help as a small practice. The online Events and Webinars are also a cost-effective way to stay abreast of technical matters.

‘Reflecting on the last two years, I am proud that I acted on my passion and not just talked about it’

CA(SA) profession for the greater good

The 2021 Edelman Trust Survey conducted among local and international business decision-makers indicated that the global average for trust in chartered accountants was 78%, while trust in South African CAs(SA) improved from 81% in 2018 to 85% in 2021! This is a testament that our CA(SA) profession is focused on the greater good.

Does Anisah live as a CA(SA) and contribute to the greater good? Absolutely yes! She has a love for animals, especially cats, and cannot pass a stray cat unnoticed. When she meets a stray cat that is ill, she takes the cat to her veterinarian for a check-up. Cats that she cannot find home for she takes to her local SPCA.

‘I believe our profession has a responsibility and does contribute to the greater good because of the following reasons:

  • Our training programme instils values in us that we not only practise in our careers but also our everyday lives. It develops in us an ability to view life not only from our own perspective but also from another person’s perspective because the foundation of our training programme is ‘Good for the Public’.
  • The five principles of the SAICA Code of Conduct instil in us universal characteristics that we practise in our personal and professional lives. For example, living the principle of confidentiality results in not only our clients and business acquaintances, but also our friends and family members who know that they can trust us with their confidential information.
  • Contributions by our SAICA members to their communities instil in us and remind us how much we have and that we also have a responsibility to contribute wherever we are. Every CA(SA)’s smallest action may seem irrelevant in isolation but all the contributions of all 35 000 SAICA members makes a calculated impact!’

Anisah Patel’s story teaches us that each person his or her life based on their own time zone. There is no perfect recipe to becoming a CA(SA), as each person runs her or his race at their own time. Some people may seem to be ahead of us, others may seem to be behind us – that is not important! What is important is that we do not stop our race, as each of us is on time.