Prof Elmar Venter - University of Pretoria

I finally managed to squeeze some time into Prof Venters’ diary on your behalf! (You’re welcome!)

Prof Venter is a Chartered Accountant, and the Head of the Accounting Department at The University of Pretoria.

I wanted to chat to him for a few reasons. In this article, I’ll focus on the discussion we had around the perception of accounting vs reality. 


What is accounting? Perception vs Reality

If you’ve been studying accounting for a while, you may think you can skip past this section, because you know the answer to this, right? 

I recommend you take a look, because most of our students have a certain perception of accounting, which isn’t actually reality. 

Why does this matter? In higher levels of studying, you’re going to find a major shift from formats, formulae and debits and credits, to problem solving, subjective discussions, guidelines and application. If you’re not aware of why this is… you’re going to struggle more. 

The diagram we refer to:

This 'future-proofs' us

If a job is PURELY rule-based, you can automate this easily. If the formats, formulae and debits and credits need no interpretation, subjectivity and professional judgement, then computers will easily do this for us. 

However, this is NOT the reality of accounting, so while this is more painful for studying, it does create far more opportunities for future accountants. 
I also chatted to Bruce Vivian (Head of Accounting Education at IFAC) about the obsolescence of accountants, and this discussion ties in with that

Take-away for your studying?

Focus your studying on understanding, not memorising. 

Focus on problem-solving skills, not repeating the same questions and answers. 

Focus on communication and application.

If you can relate, or have a query...

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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