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ALI Fellow Lesego Sennelo talks about accounting as a profession and its role in corruption

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Lesego Sennelo

Having continued in the footsteps of those who gave her the opportunity to grow and empower herself, president of the African Women Chartered Accountants Forum Lesego Sennelo discusses what she had to do to make it in the industry, the opportunities it offers and how-to for those who would like to pursue a career in accountancy, as well as how far we are in South Africa with producing mentored black women accountants.

What drives Sennelo is passion, and she has a lot of it to go around. And so do her colleagues. The forum’s aim to ensure talented young black accountants don’t get lost in mistakes that could be easily overcome, providing mentorship, training and development to allow for a group of thriving black women in the financial sector, which was closed off to them during apartheid.

“I think it lies inherently in passion. I’ve been able to make it through my journey due to an investment made by those who’ve gone before me had made in terms of my own development. Looking at the national agenda as well, it is important that we contribute towards the skill sets required to take the country forward. So those are the aspects that keep not only myself but the rest of the team at the AWCA doing what we do,” she told Tim Modise in August on TouchHD.

“When we look at our strategy – which is to advance our young talent, nurture and train that talent, the focus on leadership development, it’s really centred around, when you give this chartered accountancy accreditation how then do you further invest in your own professional development, personal development. And we all know there are unspoken rules in business that often trip up young talent, which is a great loss, not only for the business community but for the country at large,” Sennelo said.

The forum has witnessed a good growth in the number of black women in the industry.

“In 2002, when the organisation was formed, black women CAs [chartered accountants] in the whole country made up 1% of the accounting population. There were only 407 of African, coloured and Indian women chartered accountants in the country. Fast forward 15 years later, and we’re looking at over 5 000 and growing, making up about 12% of the population.”

But it’s not enough when looking at the demographics of the country, she said, and the forum is determined to keep up the pressure up.\

“Considering that growth when it takes seven years to produce a CA, we’ve moved forward in a sense. And so while we’re driving the initiative that focuses on the transformation agenda, especially where gender parity is concerned, we are mindful that there’s been progress in terms of what the numbers look like. What is also encouraging is 60% of the pipeline of black CAs in the country is actually black female. So looking at the transformation agenda we are making strides. It’s a process, just like any other professional environment, with a minimum of about seven years commitment. I often say it actually takes 25 years to produce a CA because the foundations are not correct,” she said.

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Source: http://www.growsa.net/ by GrowSA Staff 04/09/2017.

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