Mpahlela Mok­ga­tle (29) chats to us about not let­ting fail­ure dis­cour­age him from reach­ing his goal of be­com­ing a char­tered ac­coun­tant. By Kwanele Mathe­bula

Bona - - Contents -

Mpahlela Mok­ga­tle on be­com­ing a char­tered ac­coun­tant

I dis­cov­ered my love for

ac­count­ing while at­tend­ing

Jeppe High School for Boys

in Kens­ing­ton, Jo­han­nes­burg. In grade 11, I was among the top three stu­dents for ac­count­ing. One day, my teacher asked us to pre­pare a Cur­ricu­lum Vi­tae. He then sent them to Bin­der Di­jker Otte (BDO), an ac­count­ing firm in Jo­han­nes­burg. Two weeks later, BDO called about a bur­sary in­ter­view. It was in­for­mal; I was asked about my in­ter­ests, ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties and aca­demic his­tory. A few weeks later, I was awarded a bur­sary to study Bach­e­lor of Ac­count­ing Sciences at the Uni­ver­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand (Wits).

Study­ing ac­count­ing was

tougher than I thought. In 2009, I started my first year at Wits, and was ex­cited about study­ing to­wards my de­gree. My first two years were easy. But, I failed my fi­nal year. Be­cause I wanted to com­plete my stud­ies, I went back to uni­ver­sity to re­peat it. I grad­u­ated in 2013 while pur­su­ing my hon­ours de­gree, which I also failed. This af­fected my con­fi­dence, and re­sulted in me ques­tion­ing if I still wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in ac­count­ing.

I per­se­vered, and de­cided to do

my ar­ti­cles in 2014. Ad­di­tion­ally I con­tin­ued my stud­ies for my hon­ours de­gree at Monash South Africa. I was jug­gling school and work, and it was de­mand­ing. But, I man­aged to pass. This made me el­i­gi­ble to write the two board ex­ams, which were the last two steps to qual­i­fy­ing as a char­tered ac­coun­tant. I achieved that in 2016. Each time I failed, I learnt to pull up my socks and try again. I saw fail­ure as a stum­bling block that I wouldn’t al­low to de­ter my path to great­ness.

Be­ing a char­tered ac­coun­tant

ex­posed me to other ca­reer

av­enues. In 2017, I started work­ing at BDO as an as­sis­tant man­ager. In the same year, I was head­hunted by FNB; the bank of­fered me a po­si­tion as a fi­nan­cial man­ager. I worked in the au­dit­ing depart­ment, an area in which I did my ar­ti­cles.

Five months later, it started to feel mun­dane. I wanted some­thing that stim­u­lated me, and to feel that I was con­tribut­ing to the world. I went back to BDO and spoke to the CEO, Mark Ste­wart, who told me that he wanted me to head the com­pany’s busi­ness de­vel­op­ment depart­ment. Here, I work with dif­fer­ent de­part­ments such as mar­ket­ing, re­search, tax, au­dit­ing and strat­egy to bring in new busi­ness. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort, and has helped me to learn about in­dus­tries I wouldn’t have been ex­posed to had I re­mained solely in ac­count­ing. My days are to­tally dif­fer­ent, which keeps my job in­ter­est­ing. I also men­tor stu­dents who study through BDO Builds, a plat­form that pro­vides them with mentorship, learn­ing and growth op­por­tu­ni­ties. This is what I needed when I was study­ing – sup­port that was more than just fi­nan­cial.

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