When Western Cape MEC, Ivan Meyer, delivered the 2015 Provincial Treasury Budget, his vision was clear: To embed good governance across the Western Cape and entrench a culture of financial accountability in the province.

Today, thanks to the Western Cape Government Provincial Treasury’s (PT) newly established Chartered Accountants Academy, that vision is one step closer to fruition. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) believes the Academy will drive the province forward as it opens its doors to its first set of future financial leaders in March 2016.

“Effective financial management is critical to the success of any organisation. PT’s contribution to the consistent rising trend of unqualified audits in provincial departments and municipalities in the Western Cape has laid the foundation of setting up a best practice office. If poor financial management exists, it is very easy to redirect and abuse resources. When that organisation is local government, this mismanagement directly affects service delivery,” says Meyer.

The PT knows this. So it approached SAICA to become a training office for prospective chartered accountants (CAs) to overcome this problem.

“One of our primary goals is to improve the quality and standard of financial governance throughout our department as well as the Western Cape Province. To achieve this we require quality leadership and good governance practices. Chartered accountants possess these qualities,” explains Adila Aboo, Deputy Director of the PT’s Chartered Accountants Academy.

Leadership, accountability and skill: The three crucial components of good governance

In addition to receiving competencies associated with auditing and assurance, the Academy’s Management Decision-Making elective will expose CA trainees to extensive knowledge and intensive experience in key government areas including management, decision-making and control. In doing so, the PT aims to train government finance specialists who have the skills and experience necessary to manage the various components of government where CAs are so desperately needed.

Speaking on the PT’s recent accreditation, Adri Kleinhans, Project Director: Training at SAICA echoes these sentiments.

“Many factors contribute to a well-run provincial government. One of the most important is sound financial management. Another is leadership, accountability and ownership. The Academy’s training framework addresses all these aspects. This will help the PT build an internal capacity of suitably skilled people who are passionate about strategic financial leadership in the Western Cape province.”

“We are excited to be able to partner with the WCGPT on this new venture and are confident that it will have a significant impact on the future leaders of our country.”