What Makes CAs Such Great Entrepreneurs?  

Listen. It’s possible that, before clicking on this blog article, you didn’t strictly consider CAs(SA) to be strong entrepreneurial candidates. Considering the existing conception of entrepreneurs as gung-ho ideas people who eschew the careful calculations of their own accountants for a misty-eyed pipe dream, you’d be forgiven for the misstep.  

Nevertheless, the qualities which make a great CA(SA) are the very same which put us in a strategic position to excel as entrepreneurs – accountrepreneurs, if you will.  

The top three qualities which make CAs(SA) good entrepreneurs  

The hard-won skills which got most CAs(SA) through years of gruelling accounting studies are the same skills that set us up for success as entrepreneurs. Many CAs(SA) share the following top characteristics, which also make them good entrepreneurs:  

Getting a(head) for business  

It might seem obvious, but we can’t omit the fact that the years of training that CAs(SA) undergo for our qualifications give us excellent business skills. Accounting is, after all, the language of business – and CAs(SA) are fluent in the lingo.  

CAs(SA) possess an enviable bank of financial knowledge which we can put to strategic use. Accountants are, for instance, in a good position to understand how to raise funds for our own businesses. Unlike most other entrepreneurs, we don’t have to engage the (pricy) services of another accountant to perform basic operational functions.  

Being an entrepreneur requires you to wear a wide variety of hats, and CAs(SA) come with an accounting cap built-in. We can do things like bookkeeping, cash reconciliation, budgeting, expense tracking, payroll, tax records, and risk analysis in our sleep. That gives us a distinct edge of efficiency.  

Throwing some weight around  

Here’s an oft-neglected perk of having the CA(SA) stamp next to your name on a degree: there’s real credibility to your entrepreneurial name. That isn’t to say that CAs(SA) are naturally more gifted at business than other entrepreneurs. But, it certainly helps business relationships to have years of training and qualifications behind you when you’re bidding for business funding or partnerships.  

After all, accountants are some of the most trustworthy professionals on the market. Of course, we’re desirable people to do business with! We can use that to an advantage in the world of entrepreneurship.  

Invaluable industry insights  

If you’ve spent any time whatsoever in commerce and industry, then you’ll have garnered valuable, in-depth knowledge of a range of different companies and industries. With this insider knowledge, CAs(SA) are set to identify everything that our clients are doing that could be optimised by a third-party service provider – and then become that third-party service provider!  

Again, the hard skills that CAs(SA) accrue during our many years of study and training position us to succeed as entrepreneurs. Accountants are recognised for our remarkable analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to forecast. These are quantifiable skills that are also desirable in business leaders who have to navigate frequently uncertain entrepreneurial waters.  

Accounting for the pros, by the pros  

Still unconvinced that CAs(SA) make excellent entrepreneurs? Don’t take our word for it. Brian Joffe CA(SA), the founder of Bidvest Group, is living proof that chartered accountants have what it takes to build successful entrepreneurial businesses.  

Joffe founded Bidvest Group in 1988 with a $1 million cash shell that he made from acquiring and growing a pet food business. Ultimately, he cultivated Africa’s answer to the American multinational, General Electric.  

In addition to his financial knowledge, Joffe leveraged his innate leadership skills, accuracy, accountability, and organisational skills to make a roaring success out of his entrepreneurial career. What’s more, is that these are skills that he honed during his span as a CA(SA).  

In Joffe’s own estimation, CAs(SA) make for good entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurship is fundamentally linked to balanced risk-taking,” he says. What describes an accountant better than the word “balanced”? However, the risk-taking side of things is one that he acknowledges cannot be learned. “You’re either born an entrepreneur, or you’re not. There is no in-between.”  

The bottom line  

Ultimately, the mixture of hard and soft skills which make for a successful CA(SA) also make for a successful entrepreneur. When you combine an inspiring vision with a sharp mind for the financial detail, you’ve got a potent recipe for entrepreneurial success.  

If you’re an aspiring CA(SA) who (like Brian Joffe) is also a born entrepreneur, and you’re prepared to take on the exhilarating world of business leadership, you’d do well in a TOPP program like VAT IT’s. You can read about why Dillon Ribeiro and Amy Shenker took this path to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit. Hey – if you’ve gotten this far, you’re an independent thinker. You can also do your own research on the program here.   

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