In our most recent live CPD event held on 1 September 2022, CPD Campus had the privilege of hosting Tramayne Monaghan CA(SA) as presenter and thought leader sharing his sixty minutes of wisdom. Interesting to observe that this session coincided with the start of the Spring Season in South Africa – new life, new opportunities for growth! Tramayne is the former CFO of TenCent Africa, and their youngest divisional CFO at merely 26 years of age. He also authored a book with the title, “The Shepherd and the Beast”, a hero’s journey for leaders. Tramayne fondly calls himself the “non-traditional CA” and his passion for the profession could be sensed from the first moment we engaged with him. We pitched the brief for the CPD session to Tramayne asking him whether professionals invest sufficiently in their careers and, if so, whether such investments would really be regarded money well spent.
I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to recap these thought leadership classes. It gives me the chance to internally reflect about what the session really meant to me, and hopefully also to our clients. It also gives me great responsibility to carefully summarise the take-away in a manner that captures the essential milestones of the discussion and inspires colleagues and fellow professionals to further their professional development as scholars of a lifelong learning journey. And of course, hopefully with CPD Campus as a learning partner!
I was amazed by the pace by which the accountancy and auditing professions, worldwide, are transforming themselves into vibrant new super vehicles of professional service delivery. Accounting is becoming “cool” again! The first point I found noteworthy is the impactful role that technology is (already) playing in our professions. Those holding a “no-thanks-not-for-me” point of view, are likely to find themselves coldly side-lined in the very near future by a profession that has quickly transformed away from them. Our responsibility is to realise that technology is here to stay and the mundane and repetitive tasks inherent in our service offerings will, without a doubt, be fulfilled by technology very soon. Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Artificial intelligence (AI). The Cloud. Real-time continuous audit engagements. Remote working, from South Africa, auditing foreign companies literally anywhere in the world! The reality is that accounting and finance professionals have to embrace technology and use it to their advantage – but also to the advantage of their clients and/or employers. The robots are here, and they plan to stay! As Tramayne rightly said, “If you want to not fear the robot, learn to code the robot!”.
I find it exciting how many triggers to realising the importance of significant self-investment have been seemingly ignited at the same time. Our professions are facing what I call semi-existential challenges, from several different angles (attacks/criticism/allegations/threats/bad publicity/ethical and corporate scandals), we are living the technological consequences of the Fourth Industrial Revolution “threatening” us with possible redundance in the near future, and to top it all, we are now told that accountants have to reinvent themselves according to a whole new set of professional competencies if they have any hopes of sustaining themselves and their careers in the next decade! I understand why most find this overwhelming. The reality is that we are being not-so-gently nudged in a new direction, whether we like it or not. The question is: how are YOU going to react to these nudges? Change is after all usually met with resistance, right?
In my opinion, the most promising part of SAICA’s new post-qualification competency framework lies under the heading of “enabling and future competencies”, pillarized by digital, relational, business, and decision-making acumens. And effectively these four acumens complete the face of the future well-rounded business leader that SAICA seeks to inspire through the very revised competency framework they promote to their members. Is this to punish their members? Definitely not! Rather to timeously inform professionals of the requirements of the future world of work, and that starting early will be the very decision that will ensure resilience and a successful eventual outcome to this rigorous period of change.
To conclude, I think it is important to realise that we need to make the decision to invest in ourselves constantly, but also consciously, and not only as professionals, but also as mere fragile human beings. I find it interesting that most accountants seek out professional development interventions that are technical in nature, commonly called “IFRS and tax updates”, but tend to happily neglect other development opportunities relating to business leadership and improvement of themselves as human beings. The so-called “soft skills”. I understand this, as I was there too… very recently. Taking all of the above into account, one cannot but realise that the time has come to ‘increase our spend’ on self-investment and development. It is essential that we do this. For many reasons. And yes, an investment in yourself is money VERY WELL spent!