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In tough economic times company Boards turn to Chartered Accountants

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 In tough economic times company Boards turn to Chartered Accountants

No accident that 30% of Chief Executives and 90% of Finance Directors on the JSE are Chartered Accountants


Chartered Accountants [CAs(SA)] continue to dominate the directorships of South Africa’s largest listed companies.


Independent research into the qualifications of board directors of the 200 largest companies listed on the JSE ltd reveals that 35% of the 2215 directorships are held by CAs(SA). This is a slight increase on the 2010 figure of 32.3%.


Unsurprisingly they also dominate the lead finance role in listed companies, with almost nine out of 10 (89.6%) finance directors or chief financial officers having qualified as chartered accountants. This represents a significant increase from the last survey in 2010 when 78% of finance directors had qualified as chartered accountants.  

“Companies trying to survive and thrive have turned to the advanced financial management skills of CAs(SA) to steer them through the toughest economic times of our generation,” said Matsobane Matlwa CEO of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).


“Business leadership in troubled times is not just about controls, tax or ratios – though these are important – it is about a grasping and managing risks and strategic opportunity. This is why CAs(SA) also dominate the chief executive function in South Africa with three out of 10 (29.7%) listed company leaders also having achieved the qualification.”


CAs(SA) significantly outnumber the next most popular designation, the MBA, amongst board directors. Amongst chief executives, MBAs account for 18.8% [CAs(SA) 29.7%], 3.8% of finance directors [CAs(SA) 89.6%], and 14.5% of all directorships [CAs(SA) 32.3%].


“Interestingly,” added Matlwa “55.6% of the 108 JSE directorships held by under 40 years old directors are CAs(SA), compared to 12% held by MBA’s, suggesting that young high-flyers who qualify as CAs(SA) are more likely to be considered for leadership positions at a relatively young age.”


“The CA(SA) designation specifically attracts the most talented and ambitious individuals with mathematics skills and offers them continuous all-round business training which goes far beyond accountancy and auditing by also emphasising dynamic business leadership,” added Matlwa.


CAs(SA) are world renowned for exemplifying the highest professional standards with the World Economic Forum’s 2011/12 Global Competitiveness Index once again ranking South Africa number 1 for the strength of its auditing and financial reporting standards.


“High standards are always in high demand from business,” said Matlwa. “With at least seven years of rigorous academic and extensive practical training, it is no accident that the CA(SA) designation is so highly regarded in South Africa and internationally.”


Many of the greatest South African entrepreneurs and business leaders such as Ivan Glasenberg of Glencore/Extrata, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, Stephen Koseff of Investec, Sizwe Nxasana of FirstRand, Brian Joffe of Bidvest, Stephen Saad of Aspen and Whitey Basson of Shoprite, all qualified as CAs(SA) .  


“No qualifications or professional designations enjoy the same reputation or offers the same career opportunities to aspirant captains of industry, corporate achievers and dynamic entrepreneurs as the CA(SA) has proven as demonstrable route towards becoming a responsible business leader in South Africa,” said Matlwa.

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