COUNTING ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP
By: Pamela Sibiya
The recent statistics from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants from July 2014 reflect that there are 37604 chartered accountants. 3212 are Black.
Mbali Ngubane is one of only 1545 that are female.
The need for qualified Black female accountants is often stressed, as South Africa now more than ever promotes diversity and inclusivity.
Ngubane is a qualified chartered accountant hailing from Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal. She regards hard work and diligence as the main factors that have led her to the pinnacle of her career, as there weren’t many black female accountants she could look up to when she started.
“I only decided that I’d become an accountant after I read through a book at the school library. I worked hard, especially when I got to tertiary, I worked hard because I knew what I wanted,” said Ngubane.
Being one of the few black female accountants, especially in a country which was previously afflicted by racial and gender inequalities, comes with its own challenges, such as instilling diversity and equal opportunity to all in the workplace. To many, 20 years of democracy is quite a milestone as they may believe that by now, racism or discrimination should be a myth but the likes of Ngubane who’ve actually witnessed it, tend to differ.
“Democracy is just a word. Racism is still there, though they are trying but there’s still a high turnover of Black people,” said Ngubane.
Ngubane emphasizes passion and perseverance as the ingredients of her success.
“I remember when we started out; there were four of us but only a few actually completed their articles. They left because of bad treatment but I persevered because I didn’t care about what anyone had to say, as long as my job was done,” said Ngubane.
Her regal and remarkable presence does not make Ngubane any less caring towards those less fortunate. Her mastery and extreme passion for accounting has led her to help aspiring accountants.
“I enjoy helping young aspiring accountants, and I have also mentored others,” she added. For the past six months, she was a lecturer at the University of Zululand, and to her, this was another way of giving back and helping by inspiring students.
“It’s much better if students see who they aspire to be, someone who has made it and who knows the highs and lows of the industry, and to interact with them in a more real manner,” said Ngubane.
This also inspires students in a practical way because it is better when they see a version of their aspirations. This also clarifies the essence of being an accountant and sets the record straight on a lot of things.
Ngubane said, “A lot of people usually have the misconception that accountants are boring and filthy rich, which is not the case because they are just like everybody else and if you work hard enough, then you are going to be rich”.
According to Ngubane, the issue of a small number of qualified black female accountants is multifaceted. She said that a lot of black kids come from underprivileged backgrounds and sometimes it is the lack of knowledge about that particular career path that limits them, especially in underdeveloped areas.
Behaviour of the youth is part of this muddle. Another problem is that the youth feels entitled to everything, so they relax and depend greatly on the government.
“The government has put a lot of opportunities at their exposure, they should use them. Hard work and producing of fruitful results is the way to go”, said Ngubane.
Ngubane said, “I aim to be a fair leader and instil the idea of togetherness, inclusivity and diversity in the work place.”