20 June 2018 Photo Valentino Ndaba
Justice Malala and Bernard Agulhas build students business acumen
Bernard Agulhas, engaging students on the auditing world at the Business Acumen day recently hosted by the School of Accountancy.

“Auditors need to have a challenging and sceptical mindset,” said Bernard Agulhas, CEO of the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA), the regulating body responsible for investigating and disciplining auditors. Agulhas presented a talk titled: ’Restoring confidence in the audit profession – the South African story’ at the Business Acumen Day recently hosted by the School of Accountancy at the University of the Free State (UFS).
 
Agulhas shared insights into some of South Africa’s recent auditing scandals surrounding KPMG and the Guptas, Eskom and SA Airways, among others..About 305 BAcc third-year, Postgraduate Diploma in General Accountancy, BCom AccHons, and BAccHons (CTA) students had the privilege of being exposed to the expert opinions of Agulhas and political commentator Justice Malala.
 
Building on Agulhas’s argument, Malala proposed that, “Ethics is at the core of what we should be and should do,” adding that, “the only thing standing between you and anarchy is having institutions like the UFS.”

Malala presents The Justice Factor on eNCA and is also a columnist of note. This award-winning journalist has had his work published internationally in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, Forbes and Institutional Investor, among others. His broad perspective shed a different light on political and economic issues currently engulfing South Africa, and encouraging the auidence to apply their critical thinking skills.

Prof Hentie Van Wyk, Head of the School of Accountancy also encouraged students to engage in lifelong learning in alignment to the CA2025 project championed by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
 
According to SAICA: “In a world of exponential and continuous change, it has become more critical than ever to ensure that CAs (SA) remain relevant in the roles they perform. The CA2025 project being undertaken is formally researching the competencies, including knowledge, skills and attitudes that CAs (SA) will need to demonstrate in the workplace of the future.” 

One of the pervasive skills identified as a key area in the development of CAs (SA), is business acumen. Business acumen is a more professional term for business savvy or business sense. This skill goes hand in hand with critical thinking – a skill that no CA(SA) can do without. With this in mind, the School of Accountancy identified the need to expose students to leaders who, not only possess these skills, but can contribute to their understanding of the profession and the country’s economy, hence the Business Acumen Day held on 4 June 2018 at the Bloemfontein Campus.