With things fast changing in the employment world, it’s perfectly normal for current students to ponder how all these changes will affect them. So, in light of these changes, what does the industry have to offer current Junior Accountants?
We gained some insight into the transition between work and study from some of our Junior Accountants. Working at Outsourced Finance has lived up to Nompumelelo’s expectations, she is pleased that there is “a lot of learning and interaction with different people with varying levels of experience”. For Alice the most exciting part of the transition from student to worker is getting to see all that you’ve learnt through your school years coming into effect.
One big difference for her is that when you’re in varsity it is the norm to get told what to do; the workplace is slightly different; it is up to you to take the initiative. When you actually start working you can’t assume that everything has been calculated correctly or that you have all the information on hand. There’s no such thing as “if it does not reconcile, it’s fine I’ll just get 50%”. Tshiamo agrees with Alice, saying that “You could get a distinction in varsity without your work reconciling, and here you can’t leave the office until your stuff balances.”
The accountants also told us some of their favourite parts about working at Outsourced Finance.
For Ntombizanele and Meseum, it’s all about fast-paced learning. The two say that they were thrown into the deep end, forcing them to learn to swim. “There’s never a dull moment. You never get bored of doing the same thing over and over. It’s something new every day”, “it’s also about learning something every day, making mistakes and learning from them. The experience, the whole rollercoaster”. Sinazo and Tshiamo’s favourite part is the exposure to experienced professionals, you have access to quite a number of brains in the team (which is great for accelerating your learning). “You work right alongside CAs and people, so you get to learn quite a bit”. Alice elaborates, saying that “we have a lot of clients in different industries, so by the time you finish here and go out and become an actual accountant you have a lot of knowledge across different types of sectors.” According to Alice, they work with a wide variety of industries, where “one inventory is coffins, while another might sweets”. This is especially enlightening as it exposes you to a number of businesses across industries.
The Junior Accountants also related how beneficial they found the various training programs offered by Outsourced Finance. Alice’s favourite was tax training, whereas Nkosikhona’s was learning new software programs that makes the processes more efficient.
But being a junior accountant is not all fun and games. In our interview some of the team members revealed some of the more challenging aspects of being a junior accountant.
Ntombizanele: “Sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but you try. My challenge is juggling my professional and personal life, because I’m also studying too”. Meseum related the worst part of accounting with just one word: “admin”. He does go on to say that this is an aspect of Accounting that just can’t be ignored or overlooked. Tshiamo tells us how he had not expected the high level of responsibility that he would have to take “you come to Outsourced Finance and you and the client have direct communication, resulting in a lot more responsibility as a trainee”.
Some of the accountants were also concerned about the future of accounting. Alice considered the benefits of no longer having “massive files in a room where they can get lost or burn”. However, she has concerns about automation taking over more and more roles that were traditionally performed by an accountant. Pride Mokone, however, sees the matter differently. She says that “there are some functions that a computer can’t do”, such as looking at the bigger picture. Though Tshiamo agrees that AI will not completely take over, he does think that “the business environment is going to keep evolving and the role of an accountant will also evolve”. Whatever happens with AI and software in the future, we are sure that the human accountant will always be needed. After all, clients like to look at and talk to people when they work. Even though at Outsourced Finance we use software to improve our work, we know how important it is to add a personal touch.
Finally, we asked the junior accountants what they were looking forward to in the coming twelve months. For many, it was witnessing the long-term effects of the lockdown lifestyle changes. Sinazo tells us that “It’s interesting to see more about what happened over the pandemic period, how the industry embraced it, and how it is going to look. Alice agreed, “certain things that we’ve been used to doing have changed and been outed, so I’m excited to see how we’ll implement all that we’ve been doing into normal life.” Tshiamo is looking forward to something more specific: “Next year we will start drafting financial statements, I think that will be so awesome and I’m excited about that.” Finally, Ntshembo Baloyi says that she just “takes it as it comes every day”. Clearly our accountants are still optimistic about what the next year is going to bring – and we hope that our clients are too.
It was great to hear their thoughts on what has been going on, and we hope to hear more in the future. At Outsourced Finance we are lucky to be working with some of the brightest young talent in the industry, and we know that our clients appreciate it too. It has been a challenging year, and we want to do our best to support our businesses and workers going forward. From the whole of the Outsourced Finance team, we wish you happy holidays and good luck in the coming year!