“Employers are seeking financial education that produces cutting edge and real world integrated technical, business and leadership acumen,” says Valentine Nti from CharterQuest, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 on 13 and 14 October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. CharterQuest will host the global finals of the first ever CFO Case Study Competition at the Finance Indaba.
Nti is the founding CEO of CharterQuest, a financial education institution that prides itself on grooming financially qualified business leaders. He holds an MBA and a number of chartered qualifications and has served in various senior posts in the public and private sectors over the past 20 years.
What will you present at the Finance Indaba?
"We want to showcase The CharterQuest Institute model for grooming the next generation of business leaders through the the CFO Case Study Competition, as only one example of our key brands and products. This is an international, annual, multi-round, business management case study competition organised by our CharterQuest Case Study Centre."
What is the CFO Case Study Competition?
"Over 300 teams of young aspiring CFOs and business leaders representing 53 universities from 25 different countries across five continents have entered this challenge. They are competing for the right to represent their country/university and to win the the CharterQuest Future CFOs & Business Leaders Award, plus a R100 000 cash prize. These teams will go through multiple rounds and the semi-finals of the competition will be held at the JSE on 13 October 2016. The global grand finals will be held at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016."
What will you be talking about?
"I will be talking about professional versus academic education and the centrality of the integrated case method of training, as well as the case study competition revolution we are leading across Africa to help build the next generation of professionally qualified business leaders."
What are the challenges you can help finance professionals with in 2016?
"We are offering a platform for young professionals to excel in their career by training them to pass all their professional exams the first time around and by facilitating a network which allows them to connect to career-fulfilling work experiences (articles) to realise their ultimate quest to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (CA(SA)/SAICA), a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA), a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA Institute), a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA/IIA) or any other major chartered or certified designation in the accounting and finance space. In 2016, we are intensifying our efforts to turn even more finance professionals from 'bean counters' to fully fleshed chartered business leaders."
What changes have there been in terms of financial education over the past few years?
"This is our frustration! It is getting more and more theoretical, academic and not integrated, while employers are seeking financial education that produces cutting edge and real world integrated technical, business and leadership acumen. We have seen attempts to revamp the curriculum with integrated case studies, but it still appears to fall far short of global benchmarks. The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has set minimum global benchmarks, which are increasingly transforming how financial education is approached by the leading global accountancy bodies, such as ACCA, SAICA and CIMA, but it does not appear that tertiary education providers are there just yet. There are some pockets of good news nonetheless!"
What is the global view of South African finance professionals?
"We are very strong on the technical side (taxation, financial reporting and auditing), but not so much so on the management accounting, strategy, business leadership and soft skills side. We could be a lot more globally and outwardly competitive compared to other very global benchmarks.This is the thought leadership we want to shape with the CFO Case Study Competition."
"We increasingly hear of top finance executives in South Africa speak about the role of the CFO having changed from technical accounting/financial reporting and number crunching to strategy, operations and the non financial side in order to provide added value to the CEO and partner with line management. The reality is that this shift has long been the mainstay in the West and Asia, but has only recently gained ground in South Africa. For example, the world's major global professional accountancy bodies had over a decade ago included real commercial acumen, including strategy and risk, human capital management plus information systems and given more emphasis to management accounting in their curricula. This only became the norm, albeit to a limited extent, in South Africa some two years ago, when SAICA introduced the integrated case study and mapped out a formal set of pervasive skills and competencies that will be tested in future board exams. It would seem to me we have rather been market followers on this front!"
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