As a trainee, I was always aware that the supervisors, managers and directors had oceans of work that we could scarcely perceive while attempting to fight our own battles, but one never understands the scope of such things until they are on the other side of the veil. It has been a shock to the system to understand not only the workload one steps into, but also the position of respect – which is a great responsibility.

Time management is essential in ensuring all trainees’ questions are attended to, in a sustainable manner while still hacking at one’s own mountain of work with a rusty pickaxe. The real challenge here is stifling the temptation to just give the trainees the answers so we can get back to work. The real challenge is to teach them to think for themselves, to tackle the problems they will continue to face, not only in articles, but after they enter the world as professionals. This, while a difficulty, has brought me a great amount of job satisfaction in watching the trainees I put this effort into, grow as professionals.

It is at this stage one realises, not only are we making sure that our clients’ goals and deadlines are achieved in terms of assurance and other engagements, but that we are instrumental in guiding the next generation of professionals, that this is how we demonstrate not only stewardship but integrity and teamwork every day.

One of the hardest adjustments to make when jumping the gap between trainee and a fully-fledged professional is the level of frustration and disappointment one feels when they don’t hit the water swimming, but flail and flounder to keep their heads above water. I have had many of my superiors express that it is a slow and painful process to make the change from a trainee to a supervisor, but that doesn’t mean we are allowed to be incompetent.

While I have disappointed myself on numerous occasions while tackling the challenges I am faced with, I have been told I am doing alright, but is alright just that, is it alright? One becomes a CA not to remain within mediocrity. One becomes a CA to achieve, to reach higher, see clearer and go further.

SAICA’s attitude and mandate of their professionals maintaining lifelong learning is certainly a concept which is instilled from the beginning of this journey, but this late in the game, I am amazed that there are numerous days where I feel about as knowledgeable as I did when I walked into my first day of training. The only difference is now I am allowed to feel disappointed in myself, and while I continue to feel this, I know I will continue to strive for excellence

Jordan van der Merwe

Audit Supervisor, Johannesburg

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