Photo: Mr. Shaun Simpson, Headmaster at Rondebosch Boys' High in Rondebosch, Cape Town
According to Professor Rashied Small, Executive: Education and Training at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), the Institute’s annual National Accounting Olympiad benefits both pupils and their schools. “For pupils, it’s a chance to catch a glimpse of a future beyond the classroom, while schools can measure their effectiveness in imparting knowledge on this important subject,” he says.
Entries for this year’s Olympiad will close on 14th June 2019 and schools who haven’t yet registered their accountancy students should do so immediately.
A pupil’s perspective
Felicia Makondo, who matriculated from Limpopo Province’s EPP Mhinga Secondary School in 2018 and is now studying a BCom in Accounting at the University of Cape Town, believes the competition did more than test her accountancy knowledge.
Makondo participated in NAO 2017, achieving an admirable third place nationally. “It made me love accounting even more because, through the contest, I realised it goes beyond the numbers,” she says. “There was also some economics, so I experienced a side of accounting I hadn’t known before.”
Although Makondo knew she wanted to be an accountant, she was heartened by her NAO win. “I would definitely tell other kids to enter the competition because it will develop their love for accounting and improve their accountancy marks,” she says.
A headmaster’s perspective
According to Mr. Shaun Simpson, Headmaster at Rondebosch Boys' High in Rondebosch, Cape Town, the NAO helps its pupils and teachers gauge their performance.
The school is no stranger to success. For the 2018 competition, four of its students were in the national Top 50, one took second place for the Grade 12 category and two Grade 11s placed first and third respectively.
Says Simpson, “Our school enters regularly and we've performed well. Our aim is to offer our boys the opportunity to test their ability and knowledge on any open platform and the Olympiad obviously offers that chance. It's just one of the benchmarks we use to measure how both our teachers and the boys are doing, and it's proved very useful in that regard.”
Simpson encourages principals to make sure their accountancy students register for NAO 2019: “I would absolutely recommend that other schools get involved and test their mettle against their neighbours.”
How it works
To enter the contest, pupils must be taking Grade 11 or 12 Accountancy with the intention of studying a BCom degree. They can only be registered by their schools, at www.saipa.co.za/national-accounting-olympiad-2019. The entry fee is R50 per pupil but is free for no-fee schools, and they may enter as many pupils as they wish.
The written exam will be held at each participating school on 29th July 2019 and winners will be announced once all papers are marked. They and their teachers will be recognised at a gala award ceremony and will be featured in the Institute’s media releases. The venue and date of the function will be announced nearer the time.
“The NAO has been held annually since 2002 with more schools participating each year,” reports Professor Small. “The valuable experience it offers has made it an eagerly anticipated event.”
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