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International Accounting Day: Celebrating the financial problem-solvers

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Every year on November 10th, International Accounting Day commemorates the publication of Italian mathematician and “Father of Accounting” Luca Pacioli’s double-entry bookkeeping system, which he introduced in 1494.

The first International Accounting Day was held in 1972 to commemorate the mathematician’s ingenuity and encourage young people to pursue careers in accounting.

On this day, people worldwide acknowledge accountants for keeping their organisations’ finances and financial strategies healthy.

In this article, we explore the vital role accountants play in the success of businesses and feature two passionate accountants on why they love what they do.

Why do we need accountants?

As businesses evolve, so do the rules and regulations they must follow. As a result, their need for technical expertise multiplies.

Not only do accountants play an essential role in the financial security of businesses, but they also manage everyday challenges like improving transparency, accountability, and governance to ensure smooth business operations.

“The past year has forced a lot of business owners to adopt technology in their practices. As a result, business owners have approached professionals to help set up their accounting processes and use technology to their advantage,” says Nicole Borberly, owner and founder of OnAccounting.

She continues: “Business owners also want more advisory services from accountants. It’s no longer about numbers on a report, but explaining what these numbers mean for the present and the future.”

Why pursue a career in accounting?

“Since I founded Dryk Holdings in 2006, I had the freedom to pursue my purpose of being generous in providing value to small business owners in South Africa. I always aim to be different in my approach to clients. Being an entrepreneur myself allows me to serve businesses uniquely,” says Jasper Basson, founder of Dryk Holdings.

Every business in every industry needs an accountant, which means you get to align work with your passion, whether that’s manufacturing, education, technology, forensics, healthcare, and beyond.

But why become an accountant when automated technology takes all the credit?

If cloud accounting software has taught us anything, it’s that automation saves time and allows accountants to add more value to the profession.

With the knowledge and skills to help people and businesses with vital tasks that may seem overwhelming to them, including changing legislation and tax calculations, accounting can be an exciting and satisfying career.

In addition, a CPA license opens many doors, including international work opportunities, entrepreneurship, and diverse day-to-day duties that don’t make your job feel tedious or monotonous.

You can also specialise in specific areas of the profession, like bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, consulting, and management accounting. If you want to go more specialised, you can choose a particular industry or field – adding even more value and capabilities for your clients.

Bottom line: There will always be a need for accountants.

What skills do accountants need?

“There is only one way of doing things, and that is to do it right the first time,” says Nicole. “There is no room for error because one mistake can cost someone their business or put you on the wrong side of SARS.”

Clearly, becoming an accountant requires more than maths proficiency. It requires skills like:

  • Organisational skills
  • Business acumen
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-motivation
  • An interest in and willingness to embrace technology

For Jasper, it’s all about adding more value than is expected, standing out, and being generous, “These three principles will exponentially change the landscape of a business owner.”

Expert accounting advice for small businesses

Nicole’s advice is to always be on top of your business’s financial affairs. “From knowing who owes you money and vice versa to understanding the numbers and how you can increase your profits, you need to know what goes on in your bank account on a daily or weekly basis.”

She concludes:

“As the business owner, you also have a responsibility to keep track of your business financials.”

Jasper’s advice is to make sure you have an accounting system that gives you access to four core areas, namely balances, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory, if applicable.

“Keep your business and personal bank accounts separate. You will never grow capital if you live from your business bank account. You can’t significantly increase your lifestyle and expect your net asset value to grow.”

Did you know?

  • The first professional accountants’ organisation, the Institution of Accountants in Glasgow, was established in 1854 – over a century before the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) was established.
  • An accountant invented bubble gum. Walter Diemer worked for the Fleer chewing gum factory and experimented with gum recipes in his spare time. He invented the modern bubble gum formula in 1926 and was the first to market it commercially.
  • Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, Kenny G, and John Grisham are all qualified accountants.

On behalf of everyone at Sage, we wish all the number-crunchers, problem-solvers, and financial superheroes a happy International Accounting Day.

White paper: Small businesses and accountants are ready to try again

We surveyed 1,947 South African small businesses – the majority of which offer accounting and bookkeeping services – to find out how they’re coping in the new world of work. We were curious to know what they’re doing to strengthen their defences against the next disruption and how optimistic they are about the future – and we were pleasantly surprised.

Download the white paper

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