Without quality oversight, output suffers. Without transparency, deception thrives. Misinformation and misinterpretation are propagated to become the norm as fiction becomes indistinguishable from fact. In a developing country such as South Africa that faces a multitude of challenges, this cannot be allowed.
An example of this is an economy that is increasingly struggling to awake from a prolonged slumber caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, rolling blackouts and widespread corruption in institutions fundamental to the health of the country.
For the North-West University (NWU), this means that the development of scarce skills is no longer seen as an optional component that forms part of a grander solution to the country’s woes, but rather as an indispensable element that is being prioritised.
“South Africa is in desperate need of scarce skills that are crucial to our socio-economic development. These include finance-related skills such as those provided by accountants,” says Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren, director of the NWU’s School of Accounting Sciences.
“As a country, we have made enormous strides to reduce income inequality gaps and promote sustainable business and entrepreneurial opportunities in all sectors of society, but there are still too many chances for growth going to waste,” she explains.
Only the best will suffice, and in this regard, the School of Accounting Sciences at the NWU has once again distinguished itself as an indisputable leader in its field. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) recently announced that the school’s Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Accountancy and Extended Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Accountancy have been accredited for the purposes of SAICA’s Associate General Accountant [AGA(SA)] designation.
Moreover, the NWU is the only university in the country that offers a degree in forensic accountancy - a crucial tool that helps to detect, prevent, and investigate commercial crimes.
“We have to prioritise the development of expertise that will benefit the country. Chartered, forensic and other professional accountants ensure that accountability, effective risk management and the maintenance of the integrity of businesses and financial institutions are kept in the spotlight. Without that we lose the opportunity for capacity building, and sustainable job opportunities go to waste.
“How can we be seen as an attractive foreign investment opportunity if our own house isn’t in order? The country needs accountants of the highest quality and that is why the NWU is dedicated to producing them,” adds Prof Janse van Vuuren.
“Through honesty and integrity, we can help balance equations that are skewed in favour of practices that are hampering the wellbeing of all South Africans. Opportunities are scarce commodities, and it is accountants’ responsibility to ensure that they are used, not misused.”
Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren.