The future bodes well for the South African accountancy profession as the top six learners achieved an average of more than 90% at the National Accounting Olympiad run by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). Interestingly, the six came from four different provinces with the top pupil – who achieved 96.5% – coming from KwaZulu Natal.
Muzaar Ahmed Malani from the Orient Islamic School in Durban, achieved the highest score, followed by Rhulani Ndlala from Merensky High School in Tzaneen, who earned 92% and Simonè Balt from Hoërskool Linden, in Johannesburg, reaching 91.5%.
“As the South African Institute of Professional Accountants we are pleased with the results of the National Accounting Olympiad because they continue to show that there are pockets of excellence in our schools and that public schools continue to perform on par with private schools. This is an encouraging sign for the future of the Accountancy profession,” says Bongani Coka, the Chief Executive at SAIPA.
The top three learners were followed by three learners who were tied on 91%, namely;
- Liam Roubach from De Kuilen High School in Cape Town.
- Husnaa Motala, a pupil at Westville Girls High School, in Westville.
- Raadiyyah Seedat from the Lenasia Muslim School in Lenasia.
The annual Olympiad is open to all Grade 12 pupils in public and private schools studying Accountancy or Mathematics and aims to increase awareness among them of the importance of accounting to the South African economy, as well as the range of career opportunities available to them.
The competition consists of two rounds, each consisting of a two-hour examination. The first round of 2016, written in May, saw 3510 pupils from 310 schools competing. A total of 980 learners, consisting of the top three learners in every region, qualified to enter the second round that took place on 27 July.
“One of our key strategic objectives as the South African Institute of Professional Accountants is grow and transform the industry and the NAO provides us one of the platforms to do this in a sustainable way by investing in young talent. Next year we aim to raise the bar in terms of the number of high school students that we touch with the Olympiad and as such we will revamp the format to encourage more participation and we will work more closely with the Department of Basic Education,” adds Coka.
The final round required candidates to deal with calculations, case studies, scenarios, financial statements, recording and posting procedures and more.
Zobuzwe Ngobese Marketing and Communication Executive at SAIPA says those who achieved 65% or more during the first round of the Olympiad and qualified for the second round also received a printed exam study guide sponsored by Sage One, which also provided learners with valuable career and bursary information.
“The exam guide is curriculum based and will therefore help learners to prepare for their matric accountancy exams later in the year. More importantly, as SAIPA we have been using the results of the Olympiad to also assist the poor performing schools because we do not only focus on those learners who have done well – our members who are professional accountants – have been using their time to provide extra classes to the struggling learners,” explains Ngobese.
The competition has been running since 2002, with SAIPA’s focus being to provide papers and literature that can be used by all South African students, including those for whom English is a second language. It is an approach designed to lead to the abstract, higher order thinking required to solve problems – exactly the kind of issues accountants face in real life.
The national and provincial winners will be honoured at a formal National Gala Awards Evening on the 12th of October.