Not your typ­i­cal char­tered ac­coun­tant

The words ‘pas­sion’ and ‘ac­count­ing’ are not usu­ally as­so­ci­ated, but this young en­tre­pre­neur is bridg­ing the gap

CityPress - - Careers - THARIEN HAT­TINGH pro­jects@city­press.co.za

Anri Maré is not your typ­i­cal char­tered ac­coun­tant (CA). She’s young, bub­bly and doesn’t own a grey suit. She also took the plunge and started her own busi­ness. Here’s her story:

What is Femto Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices?

It’s my own book-keep­ing firm.

What ser­vices fall un­der book-keep­ing?

Ba­si­cally, it’s mak­ing sure that the books of an in­di­vid­ual or le­gal en­tity [com­pany] are up to date and that all their af­fairs com­ply with the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice [Sars].

How long have you been run­ning your own com­pany?

Femto is three years old this year. I started the busi­ness af­ter I’d done my ar­ti­cles.

What are your qual­i­fi­ca­tions?

I am very proud to be able to say fi­nally that I am a char­tered ac­coun­tant.

Why fi­nally?

Get­ting this qual­i­fi­ca­tion wasn’t the eas­i­est thing I’ve ever tack­led. It took many hours of hard work, tears and rewrit­ing ex­ams be­fore I could put this ti­tle af­ter my name.

What are the re­quire­ments for the qual­i­fi­ca­tion?

I first had to read for a BCom de­gree with ac­count­ing, and then an hon­ours in ac­count­ing.

The hon­ours was a bit of a headache. And I switched from full-time study­ing to dis­tance learn­ing and then started serv­ing my com­pul­sory three years of ar­ti­cles in the mean­time. I did my ar­ti­cles at a medium-sized au­dit­ing firm.

Af­ter the hon­ours, there are also two board ex­ams to be writ­ten.

The four big au­dit­ing firms snap up hun­dreds of stu­dents for ar­ti­cles ev­ery year. Why did you choose

a smaller firm for your ar­ti­cles?

When I was a stu­dent, I worked for some pocket money for a CA who had his own book-keep­ing firm.

I im­me­di­ately liked the kind of work that I did at this book-keep­ing firm, and knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I did some re­search and found out where I would get the best ex­pe­ri­ence in the field dur­ing my ar­ti­cles. The big au­dit­ing firms fo­cus mainly on au­dit­ing, and their ex­po­sure to ac­count­ing, tax and con­sul­ta­tion is limited. A smaller au­dit­ing firm with smaller clients was there­fore my an­swer.

You are such a bub­bly per­son – a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture from the stereo­typ­i­cal ac­coun­tant. How does this work suit you?

I love or­gan­is­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tion, and that is ex­actly what book-keep­ing is.

My firm has now grown so much, I’m ac­tu­ally very sel­dom be­hind the com­puter mak­ing cal­cu­la­tions and jour­nal en­tries.

I spend a lot of time in con­sul­ta­tions with clients and also have a small team work­ing un­der me. My ca­reer has re­ally turned out to be very so­cial.

Where did you find Femto’s first clients?

Dur­ing my ar­ti­cles, I did book-keep­ing for one of the au­dit­ing firm’s clients. The client was so pleased with my ser­vice that he re­fused to lose me when I fin­ished my ar­ti­cles.

The client wasn’t big enough to keep me oc­cu­pied all day. I ba­si­cally started Femto with two clients. At first, things were a bit shaky, but af­ter a few months, ev­ery­thing was go­ing well and to­day I have about 35 monthly clients.

How do you mar­ket your busi­ness?

I’ve never re­ally done any mar­ket­ing. All my clients so far have been re­ferred. I don’t want to just take any­one off the street as a client. I want to do things the right way.

What do you mean?

There are a lot of odd char­ac­ters out there try­ing to do [Sars] in wher­ever they can. That’s not for me.

You started your busi­ness at a young age. Where do you go for ad­vice?

I have a net­work of peo­ple work­ing in the same field. I’m not afraid of pick­ing up the phone and ask­ing for ad­vice.

Why did you move your of­fice from home to an of­fice build­ing?

Now I can leave my com­puter on my desk, lock up and drive home. If I’m away from the com­puter, I can’t work. It’s just bet­ter for my fam­ily.

What is the best part of your job?

I am my own boss, de­cide on my own work­ing hours and can grow my busi­ness the way I want.

What is the worst part of your job?

I’m so mad about my work that af­ter work I find it dif­fi­cult to switch off com­pletely.

What is the big­gest les­son you’ve learnt?

Not to set un­re­al­is­tic dead­lines and goals for my­self and the busi­ness. That puts you un­der tremen­dous pres­sure.

PHOTO: THARIEN HAT­TINGH

BUB­BLY BOSS Anri Maré, the owner of book-keep­ing firm Femto Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices

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