Landing an opportunity to do your training as a chartered accountant (CA) at a ‘Big Four’ auditing firm used to be the dream for new graduates.
But the job market has changed in the last decade and the top jobs of the future look set to be quite different from what they’ve been in the past.
In an increasingly technology-driven world, is the ‘traditional’ approach still best-positioned to provide you with the skills you’ll need for the future? So, what can new CAs do to future-proof their careers? The most important first step is to choose the right firm to complete your training – and consider whether a non-traditional option might be a good fit for you.
According to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), there are currently 9 500 CA trainees. The vast majority – 8 885 – are completing their training at traditional auditing firms, compared to 615 who have opted for a non-traditional approach. For graduates looking to differentiate themselves from the majority, this might be a sensible option to consider.
3 Questions to help you find the right firm
Is innovation expected?
An innovation mindset is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy finding new solutions for new challenges, a traditional accounting approach may be stifling. “If you often find yourself asking ‘How does it work, and why does it work that way?’, you may have an analyst’s mindset rather than a typical accountant’s,” says Heleen Goussard, head of unlisted investment services at RisCura.
Do you want to find a niche?
The predictable, rote aspects of accounting will be the first to be affected by Artificial Intelligence, and these are often the tasks delegated to clerks at big firms. Being exposed to a wider range of work in your first years of work will enable you to find a niche sooner than you might have done if you’d been stuck doing one type of work. “Having specialist knowledge and skills is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from other candidates in future,” says Goussard.
Who will you learn from?
A key question to ask yourself is ‘who will I learn from?’ What does the management structure look like, and will you be able to access senior executives to gain insights or bounce ideas off? “Doing your training at a smaller, non-traditional firm will provide greater access to people at all levels of seniority, whereas the ‘Big 4’ tend to have firmly established hierarchies,” says Goussard.
Non-traditional opportunities at RisCura
Global investment advisory and financial analytics firm, RisCura, is now offering accounting graduates the opportunity to do their chartered accounting training in the exciting world of investments.
Working at RisCura offers a unique 360 view of the investment industry due to their diverse client base, from asset managers, to private equity investors and Africa’s largest institutional funds.
RisCura offers a dynamic working environment alongside some of the brightest investment minds, known for being industry pioneers. The flat management structure and open-door policy ensures that teams are easily accessible to bounce ideas off and offer support.
Once their training is complete, graduates will be well-equipped to step into the exciting, ever-changing world of investments.
More about RisCura’s graduate programme:
This programme is designed to provide trainees with exposure to:
- Private Equity (PE)
Gain a thorough understanding of private equity in Africa. RisCura values over 150 companies across 15 African countries annually.
- Institutional Investment Advisory & Administration
Get exposure to investment strategy, asset manager research, portfolio construction and investment administration for some of the continent’s largest institutional investors.
- Hedge Fund Analytics
Gain experience in the hedge fund industry. RisCura analyses approximately 60 hedge funds with a total of R 40 billion AUM monthly.
- Finance & Accounting
Acquire on-the-job training in financial management and accounting practices by assisting with annual financial statements for the RisCura group, working with a team of auditors and working on financial reports presented to management and directors.
The RisCura culture
RisCura fosters a culture of innovation, which is based on a mix of experienced industry pioneers who support the fresh ideas of young leaders. These ideas are usually given an opportunity to come to life, and every so often, they become a permanent part of the business. RisCura is a place where visionary-thinkers develop the skills to kick-start successful investment industry careers.