Students from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University achieved the highest pass rate countrywide in the first of two professional examinations required for qualification as Chartered Accountants – with two honours graduates placed in the top 10 nationally.
An impressive 97% of the Class of 2014 BCom Honours (Accounting) graduates passed the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (Saica’s) Initial Test of Competency (ITC) examination on their first attempt – considerably higher than the national pass rate of 82% for first time attempts. (Editor: And I am proud to say that my son, Philip, now working at EY in Johannesburg was also one of the successful ones)
Suzaan van den Bergh was placed joint seventh in South Africa, with Daniel Alfond attaining ninth place overall.
Among the 62 that passed was the entire honours class of NMMU Thuthuka Bursary students – a programme that aims to produce more black Chartered Accountants in South Africa.
Seventh-placed Van den Bergh, 22, who is completing her first year of articles at Deloitte in Cape Town, said she was “very honoured” to be placed among the top 10.”It’s a great feeling when hard work pays off. I’m also very excited to be representing NMMU as I feel we have an excellent accounting programme … All the lecturers in the accounting program are CA’s themselves – they know what it takes to be successful.”
She said consistent hard work and determination, a work/life balance and the support of family and friends had helped her achieve her goals.
“I focus on understanding what I am doing and why I am doing it instead of memorising information.”
She said NMMU’s mentorship and leadership programme for top-achieving accounting students – which is being relaunched next month as the Pinnacle Leadership Programme – helped her “to see the bigger picture and focus on the end goal”.
Alfond, who, after failing a test in his second year, took to writing all his university examinations in a formal suit to remind him just how serious his studies were, described his achievement as “unreal”. “All I can say is that it’s a blessing from God.”
The 22-year-old, who is completing his articles at KPMG in Port Elizabeth, said: “I feel I have a good idea of what my strengths and weaknesses are, so that helped me because I knew what I had to focus on and I knew when to ask for help.”
Like Van den Bergh, he also made sure he understood what he was studying. “I would spend extra time trying to fully understand one concept rather than rushing through a lot of questions for practice.”
He said his NMMU lecturers gave him plenty of good advice in terms of how to approach his studies – and consistently set challenging papers. “This definitely helped us in the ITC exam.”
School of Accounting director Prof Frans Prinsloo said these latest results were arguably the best NMMU – and its predecessor, the University of Port Elizabeth – had ever achieved in the first part of Saica’s Qualifying Examinations.
“I am delighted that the pass rate achieved by our students continues to be among the highest in the country.
“We are very proud of our BCom Honours (Accounting) graduates of 2014. These results once again confirm the high quality of the programme offered by NMMU to educate students wishing to become Chartered Accountants (SA).
“The fact that we have two of the top 10 candidates in the country confirms that NMMU attracts top students, that the quality of our Chartered Accounting programme is excellent, and that our unique leadership and mentorship programme [Pinnacle], to develop the all-round skills of our top achieving students, is unique and ground-breaking”.