Do you know an Inspiring story of a CA(SA) who has not given up?
In fact: In today’s article we are sharing the journey of Sedzani from Limpopo, South Africa who traveled 100 Kms to school daily, worked really hard and completed her CA(SA) overcoming many failures.
Presently Sedzani is working at BDO, South Africa as a Forensic Consultant.
She is also a qualified CFE and has done her articles from Grant Thornton, South Africa.
Here is her story.
How did I decide to become a CA(SA)
My name is Sedzani Tshirangwana.
I grew up in Limpopo, South African province bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
There were schools close by but my parents wanted us to attend one of the many best schools in Limpopo so we used to travel almost 100 km daily just to attend a private school Khanyisa Education Centre.
I was not a brilliant student but very hardworking.
I was lucky to be raised by very strict parents who allowed us to only visit friends and not roam the streets of our neighborhood. Instead, my parents encouraged us to study and do well in life.
During my school, if I remember correctly grade 8, I wanted to be an engineer and specialize in electrical. However, as I grew up I realized this is not what I wanted.
Being raised by a mom who is Teacher and father who is a businessman I passed class 10 well to gain entrance to do my B.Com Business science at Monash University South Africa. At Monash, B.Com Accounting is called B.Com Business Science.
When I was in grade 10, I got a tourism pamphlet which sensitized me to a tourism career. When I discussed it with my dad he said ‘no you will be very poor if you study that’.
My dad then arranged a job shadow for me in Finance and Banking.
A job shadow is a program in which school learners are able to shadow/learn about a specific job that they would like to do/ become once they completed matric.
During my job shadow, the bank manager gave me a brief background of what this job entails. This short experience got me interested in banking.
My mother also arranged another job shadow for me at PwC in Louis Trichardt (South Africa).
During my job shadow at PwC, South Africa, I met Chantelle who told me about becoming a CA from SAICA and from there on I never looked back.
To become a CA(SA) one needs:
- To have a Bachelors degree in Accounting or equivalent
- Honours Post Graduation qualification (CTA 1, CTA2)
- 3 years articleship (this depends whether it is a part-time study or full time so it can vary from 3-5 years)
- Give two written board exams (ITC and APC)
My Journey becoming a CA(SA)
My parents were paying for all my studies as I did not receive any bursary or financial aid.
In 2012, I also started working at Nikilitha Consulting a small audit and advisory firm while doing my postgraduate at Unisa.
I did not put in much effort as I thought it would be a breeze like undergrad and I failed dismally my postgraduate (CTA Level 1).
Taking a gap year and pursuing CFE
After not clearing CTA level 1, I was disappointed and decided to take a gap year in 2013. During my gap year, I decided to do certification on fraud examination (CFE) from ACFE.
Actually, while working at Nikilitha Consulting I already had experience working in Forensics so the practical knowledge helped me preparing for CFE.
I successfully completed CFE that year.
After a gap year and completing CFE, I went back to Unisa the following year to do my Honours (postgraduate) in Advanced Accounting Sciences (CTA level 1) and passed very well that year.
Starting my articles at Grant Thornton
After my CTA level 1, I happened to be at a subcontracted client with Grant Thornton where the following year the client of Grant Thornton requested me to be on the project again.
The partner at Grant Thornton then negotiated with my then employer that I join them so I can also do my articles.
I then joined Grant Thornton in 2015 where I worked on the project after which I was transferred to audit and started my articles in 2016.
Qualifying as a CA(SA)
When I started articles in Feb 2016, I was studying Postgraduate in Applied Accounting Sciences CTA level 2.
It was not easy and knowing Unisa that I had to pass all four in one sitting I failed one and I was depressed and demotivated.
I used to study late nights and security knew me by name and when I wasn’t there studying the following day they would ask why didn’t you come.
I was blessed to have a supportive family who reminded me of how close I was and how much I wanted this.
I remember my mom said this time focus on the one you failed more while putting less hours on the others.
That’s was the best advice I got and that weekend I picked myself up started studying and boy did I make it that year 2017.
I had passed CTA Level 2 and completed my Postgraduate. It was one in many happiest day of my life.
Now I had two board exams to give to qualify as a CA(SA).
I started studying for board 1 in December 2017 and wrote in Jan 2018 which I failed the first attempt.
I was so disappointed but I knew in my heart that I was not prepared well.
I then prepared for the June board 1 which I passed after attending a UCT board course and practicing SAICA passed papers.
I then prepared for UJ board 2 which I passed. I was over the moon. When I received the results in Feb 2019.
I was now qualified CA(SA).
Pursuing a Career in Forensic Accounting
After my articles, I decided I wanted to go back to forensics as its more strategical.
In Jan 2019 I completed my articles and got an offer from BDO in their Forensic Team.
I currently work as a forensic accountant and analyst where we analyze accounting fraud e.g. who committed the fraud, why and how much is involved.
Likely I never really had to look for work because I work hard that my work speaks for itself but if you are looking for job opportunities in South Africa, LinkedIn and PNET are great platforms to look for work.
Before attending interview research the company. Google common interview questions and prepare for those. Keep calm and take like a discussion with your friends
There are many cv templates which can be found online. It is just important to use a template that works.
- Chartered Accountants and Depression: How to mentally approach the exams
- How I overcame failures and qualified as a Chartered Accountant
- My Journey to self-confidence – from India to America
- How I Bounced Back After I Failed 8 Times in my Chartered Accountancy Exam
- Why I quit CA to pursue CPA
- How to become a Forensic Accountant without becoming a Chartered Accountant
- Know what you want and that should be motivation enough to keep you going.
- Keep an eye on the ball.
- Visualize yourself already achieved.
- Listen to affirmations for motivation and to stay positive. A positive mindset is a key to success.
- Never dwell on something you can’t change. Like I mentioned I had a supportive family. I decided to not give up on what I wanted.
- I would recommend those reading this to do a job shadow or a short internship at different places to discover what you want exactly.
Now It’s Your Turn!!!
Are you pursuing CA(SA)?
Do you want to start a career in Forensic Accounting?
What is your story? Do you have questions for me?
Whatever it is kindly let me know your thoughts in the comments.
You can connect to me on LinkedIn at – Sedzani Tshirangwana