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Insight is a powerful tool and can help us adapt to unfamiliar situations. Starting your training contract can be a daunting experience, with so much to learn and take in. A little extra guidance never goes amiss so final year trainees weigh in with what they wish they’d been told at the beginning of their training contracts. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some useful tips to help you through the rest of your contract.

Pieter van Rooyen, Newtons Bloemfontein: “I learnt in my three years that when you think you have reached or passed the limit of your stamina, endurance or knowledge, that’s when you really start to know yourself and what you are truly capable of. In your trainee years, a 40-hour week is a number and if you want to be exceptional, use that as your base and see how much more you can add on in a seven-day cycle.”

Luthando Menziwa, Auditor-General of South Africa Bloemfontein: “I wish I’d known…how little I knew about how to work and manipulate large data using Excel, how little I knew about verbal and written communication and how to tailor it to different audiences (CEO, CFO and the clerk/junior level staff) and how to make a professional document and meeting packs to be discussed in executive meetings.”

Mpumelelo Thompson, Deloitte Port Elizabeth: “Articles is a very special part of the journey, it’s the only part where you are both a student and a professional. Make new contacts, build genuine relationships with your clients and co-workers.”

Teressa Michael, Eskom Johannesburg: “As exciting as it is to have your financial independence, working is a lot of responsibility. Remember you have to start somewhere and where you end is within your control. Don’t wait around for opportunities to come to you, make them happen. Be proactive and aim to add value in everything you do. Remember you are building yourself as a brand, create demand for that brand.”

Fathima Sheik Hoosen, Moore Stephens CJL Durban: “Articles can be as boring as the title or as exciting as you make it – I strove to take every opportunity presented to me during my articles.”

Reshoketswe Maggy Ledwaba, PricewaterhouseCoopers Mafikeng: “Your working hours are only eight in theory. Your pay cheque is not as big as you think it is. You are not as tech savvy as you thought you were. Paper cuts are not lethal.”

Zainab Losper, Mazars George: “You will get good criticism and bad criticism – differentiate between the two and don’t let it get you down. Learn as much as you can from your senior audit clerks, as they will be able to teach you how to reach all your competencies as soon as possible.”

Pieter Daneel, Investec Johannesburg: “Building relationships and a good network is just as important as technical abilities. Planning your rotations and exposure is very important in terms of SAICA outcomes and sign-off. Study hard for ITC and APC despite being busy at work – qualifying as a CA is your top priority.”

Epic Discussion

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