The beginning of February each year brings with it new adventures and challenges for so many hopeful CA(SA) candidates.

You have conquered everything that you have faced up until now: 12 years of school and then tertiary studies at your chosen university including the daunting hurdle of CTA. These are some of the many stages of life and as the chapter of full-time studies closes, another chapter begins. Now a different kind of challenge lies ahead. You are now in the “real” world ready to apply the knowledge you have gained, to learn some practical skills and begin climbing the corporate ladder.

Here are five things to remember as you enter this new, exciting and challenging chapter in your life:

  • Three years seems long when you say it but it flies by too quickly. Take each day as it comes and find something positive to take out of every day. There will be good and bad days and remaining positive and open-minded is vital to surviving your training contract.
  • Do not go through it alone. A training contract is a rollercoaster ride and doing it with friends makes it a lot more fun. So make friends with your peers as it is also possibly the only time in your career that you will work with this many people who are of a similar age to you. Participate in social events at work and outside of work, it will make the experience more enjoyable and you may just make friends that will last a lifetime. The connections you make in articles can also benefit you later in life – when it may be about who you know and not only what you know.
  • Be a team player and help your fellow trainees. Remember it is an engagement team, not a one-man-show. You can learn from one another and get things done a lot quicker if you work as a team.
  • You will encounter many new people - fellow trainee accountants, managers, directors and employees at various levels at the companies you are auditing. Learn as much as you can about them and their cultures and beliefs, where appropriate and possible. Not only is it interesting learning about the numerous diverse cultures in our country and other countries, but it could be of great value when you need to interact with someone of that particular culture later in your career and need to build a good business relationship.
  • Most importantly, take every opportunity to learn as much as you can in the three years of your training contract. Keep asking questions to develop your technical knowledge and keep practicing your professional skills. Do not be afraid that you do not know everything on the first day of your training contract or on your first audit engagement. Every professional was in that same position at one point in time and got to where they are now by asking questions, so remember to be patient with yourself in the learning process.

Zig Ziglar once stated: “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

Keep learning and you will be unstoppable in pursuing your dream of being a CA(SA).

Kim Venter

Manager: Audit Technical Training, Johannesburg

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