Johannesburg, Wednesday 19 July 2017 – The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is passionate about creating a dialogue that will help to take the economy, and indeed the country, forward. But SAICA does not expect this kind of engagement only from members of the profession. The Institute also requires those studying towards becoming members of the profession to embrace the values of ‘responsible leadership’ that are entrenched in its strategic pillars. One of the ways this is done is through the annual SAICA Student Leadership Summit (SLS). Entries for the 2017 SLS are now open.
‘At SAICA, one of our strategic pillars is responsible leadership. We believe this responsibility does not only begin when someone holds a high position, but that it lies within each and every citizen of this country. It is against this backdrop that SAICA created its SLS nine years ago,’ explains Teboho Moephudi, Project Director for SAICA’s university projects.
What is SAICA’s SLS?
Moephudi goes on to explain what SAICA’s SLS seeks to do, and how it works:
‘SLS is a thought leadership essay competition. Through SLS we aim to get BCom CA(SA) stream students at SAICA accredited institutions not only to think about their own circumstances but to devise solutions to problems that confront our country or the world at large. Every year, we set three thought leadership topics, and ask these students to submit their opinion and, in some cases, conduct research that illustrates their solutions to the issues raised during the essay part of the competition.
‘From these entries, we select the top 30 students who have best illustrated their thought leadership capability, and invite them to Johannesburg for a two-day thought leadership summit. On the first day, we have a networking event where the students are given the opportunity to interact with key business leaders and find out more about how responsible leadership works in the real world. The following day, the students participate in a leadership workshop with various facilitators to help them unlock their unique leadership potential. In addition to this, the top three winning essays will receive some amazing prizes.’
How do students enter?
To enter, students must submit a thought leadership essay of no more than 1 000 words on one of the following topics:
- Technology is changing the traditional ways accountants and auditors do business. Outline the risks the profession faces in this regard as well as how the role of the accountant needs to evolve to keep pace with the world of work and remain relevant.
- South Africa is a country with an extreme and dangerously wide wealth gap. If left unchecked, this gap could lead to the rise of populist politics which have been described as “the paranoid style of politics of them and us”. This could further lead to unabated civil protest with the potential of bringing the entire country to a standstill. As a concerned citizen and a budding chartered accountant, how can you use your acquired academic and leadership skills towards building a nation based on humanity, trust, a thriving economy, good governance, equality as well as other national values so as to ultimately improve the country’s combined quality of life?
- In light of South Africa’s recent downgrade to junk status, how would you sell the country as a viable investment to overseas investors and what do you believe South African citizens can do to turn the junk status perception around?
Jessica Makua, a student whose essays have seen her qualify for the top 30 for the past three years, expresses her opinion on why the youth should take part in thought leadership platforms like SLS: ‘We need to be taught from a young age to take ownership of what happens in our country, what role we can play to make the situations better and start abandoning the thought that “it doesn’t affect me, so it’s not my problem”.’
Nthabiseng Mutloane, the SLS winner in 2013, shares similar thoughts. Through SLS she has ‘learnt that one needs to be ready to explore different fields, because critical thinkers are needed everywhere and restricting oneself to just one field isn’t an option any more. We need to be able to adapt to the changing job market.’
Mutloane adds that being a SLS winner has influenced her life in ways she could not have imagined: ‘In the year following [winning] SLS, I was invited to quite a few events. I got the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, and be mentored by a few of them. Having that kind of access at such an early stage of my life was quite amazing.’
The SLS competition is open only to students who are studying towards a BCom CA(SA) qualification at a SAICA accredited institution.
To enter, email your 1 000 world essay to email@example.com by no later than 25 August 2017. Include the following information with your entry: full name, contact number, name of university and degree you are studying, student number, email address and word count for your essay.
For any queries regarding entries, please contact SAICA Project Director, Teboho Moephudi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), South Africa’s pre-eminent accountancy body, is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading accounting institutes. The Institute provides a wide range of support services to more than 40 000 members who are chartered accountants [CAs(SA)] and hold positions as CEOs, MDs, board directors, business owners, chief financial officers, auditors and leaders in their spheres of business operation. Most of these members operate in commerce and industry, and play a significant role in the nation’s highly dynamic business sector and economic development.
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