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Article by listed accountant: Louise Bothma

My journey in finance started at the age of 27, when I realised that my job at the time, as Financial Advisor is not going to make my dreams come true as I am not particularly good at sales.  I wanted the “good life” i.e. travelling the world, wearing designer clothes and all the other seemingly important things in life, so to get there I had to either marry a rich husband or start making my own money.  Since I was already married, the second option was the obvious choice.

It took me 8 years to complete my qualification as a CA(SA) and it was a difficult journey.  I did it all part-time, using our limited household funds to fund it all.  Having a husband and child meant many sacrifices for everyone in the household and there were many braais and parties that I could not attend due to exams that were eminent.  Many of my son’s rugby games, school functions and extracurricular activities were attended with the company of my tax, accounting or auditing text books.

Doing articles as a thirty something year old was also hard, since all my fellow clerks were single, below 25 with very few financial commitments.

At 35 I was finally able to put the distinguished CA(SA) designation behind my name and a 6 year career in commerce followed thereafter.  This was supposed to be my ultimate dream come true…?  But it wasn’t. I made more money than ever, but the working hours were murderous and there was no balance in my life.  If I went on holiday, I inevitable had to do some work on the odd occasion and wasn’t really present and missing out on time with my family.

Even though I learnt a tremendous amount in the commercial environment, it wasn’t really for me.  I did not thrive in this competitive environment.  It does not really cater for those of us who are not always the most vocal, even though we are intelligent, loyal and hard workers and I did not feel like I “belonged”.  In the beginning I enjoyed seeing my staff develop, but in the end I was so overwhelmed by deadlines, scorecards and other work  pressures, that I became short tempered and moody.

In a nutshell I do not like to conform.  I thrive in a more intimate environment where I have the autonomy to plan my own work day. 

I am now the owner of my own accounting practise and I want to incorporate the following core values that are aligned with who I am into my business:

  • Honesty
  • Live my authentic self
  • Autonomy at work
  • Balance between my professional and personal life
  • Job satisfaction by assisting clients to build and maintain successful businesses