Student Name: Nonhlanhla Zikalala
Program: Bonani Work-Readiness Program
They say good things come to those who wait. I had to wait for a full year hoping and waiting for that phone call saying your name has been shortlisted for an interview. Looking back I see that my patience was being tested and there were greater things waiting for me but I just didn’t know. I just didn’t know better; I was an ordinary girl from the rural areas and I knew I was destined for great things but things seemed really bad and hopeless.
I remember how it all began. After spending the whole year of 2006 unemployed and frustrated, I heard about Guarantee Trust. I consider myself really fortunate to have been accepted onto the program. We were a group of 40 students, coming from different walks of life and institutions. I found it very difficult because I was from a disadvantaged background and I was totally different from the rest of the group. I looked down on myself thinking that I wasn’t going to make it.
I am reminded of a day when we were doing the study course, I had to define the word phenomenon and use it in sentences. I was able to define the word but couldn’t make sentences. My then facilitator referred me to the Academy Manager who spent an hour with me trying to help me make sentences, that was after I cried thinking that I wasn’t good enough and not clever enough to do the program. I had to work very hard to feel equal to the other students. I eventually broke through and got the hang of it. Learning to apply information was what it was teaching us, and it worked. I was not going to make it if it was not for the help of the facilitators and the help of other students who encouraged me to not underestimate myself. I completed the training at the end of September 2007 after which I was placed at Equity Accounting on the Bluff in Durban.
On my first day, I was given two huge bags full of invoices. I had to do bookkeeping for one of the famous stores in the Pavilion Shopping Centre near Durban. I managed to do it without any problems. Thanks to the Virtual Office facilitators of Guarantee Trust, I was already skilled at these tasks. If it was not for them I wouldn’t have made it. When I had completed 2 years and 4 months of training at Equity Accounting they advised me to apply for “Recognition of Prior Learning” at SAIPA so that I could write the final Professional Evaluation (PE) exam before the usual 3-years of learnership. I was a bit nervous but I tried to gain as much experience as I could for the examination since it was known to be a difficult paper to pass. SAIPA credited me with 6 months for the time that I spent at Guarantee Trust.
I wrote my PE Exam on the 13th March 2010 and I passed it. As a result, I now have the professional designation of Professional Accountant. I was the first student in my group who got a chance to write the PE Exam before completing the full 3 years of training required by SAIPA. I’d like to thank Fasset who make dreams for disadvantaged students like me come true. If it was not for the funds that they contribute to Guarantee Trust my dreams would not have come true. I would also like to thank Guarantee Trust for believing in me. They did not look at where I came from. They groomed me to be the best Professional Accountant I can be.
Lastly I would like to thank Equity Accounting and my monitors, Humphrey and Steven. They had complete confidence in me and exposed me to as much as they could in the accounting field. They believed in me in such a way that there is nothing that I can say besides that they gave me a chance despite all risks involved. I am also thankful for the help that they gave me in preparation for the PE exam.
In June 2011, after completing my articles, I got a job at the Department of Justice as Assistant Director: Finance (Third Party Funds) KwaZulu-Natal. I am responsible for monitoring Third Party Funds within the province (77 Courts). This includes funds from Maintenance, Bail, Deferred Fines, Admission of Guilt, Payments into Court and ensuring that all these modules reconcile at the end of the month. I also supervise the work of the State Accountants.
I can proudly pronounce myself a Professional Accountant with the help of Almighty God, Fasset, Guarantee Trust and Equity Accounting not to forget family and friends who supported me.