See full profile: Bryanston Accountant - Debby Wittmann
Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?
From my first job out of school I was involved in Finance and Accounting and it has been the only department I have worked in for my entire working career. I enjoy working with numbers, they tell a very detailed story if you know how to read them. Understanding the finance and accounting side of the business with little experience came naturally to me and therefore I love working in this field as I am able to see thing and understand businesses in a way that others cannot.
When meeting with clients do they mostly come to your own premises or do you mostly go their theirs?
What is your preferred mode of communication with your clients?
Have you ever done an online video call with a client?
What do you love most about accounting?
I love the information it provides and it paints a clear picture of the flow of money from the business allowing the shareholders to identify the financial position of the company and act accordingly.
Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?
Yes, If you study accounting through high school and university, accounting provides an overall business understanding which will provide unexplainable benefit for anyone who wants to run their own business one day. Many CEO and Shareholders of big companies hold accounting qualifications such as CA(SA) or CIMA. The demand for accountants will forever be necessary as it is a fundamental part of a business to function and be successful.
What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?
The qualities that any good accountant should have should begin with accuracy. If an accountant is not accurate in their reporting then there may be severe consequences with SARS, Audit Firms and the Shareholders. Other qualities that an accountant should possess is Timeliness and Efficiency, reporting of financials needs to be timely and provided efficiently otherwise the information becomes dated and can affect business decisions. Information must also be Reliable and should have supporting information wherever possible. It should be free from error and bias. Information should also be presented in a standard format and be Comparable so to relate to previous accounting periods. Information should also be Relevant to the users to assist with decision making and, therefore, understandable and clearly represented.
What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?
The number one issue facing accountants today is the development of basic accounting software, which allows small business owners to manage their own accounts. The problem arises when these business owners don't have the necessary skills to fully understand the reports provided by the system and therefore critical business decisions are being made by unqualified persons.
What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?
Understanding the business of the client. If the accountant does not understand their client's business, they will not provide a quality service. There will be misunderstanding of information or communication, which can have a negative impact on the company. It is therefore important to understand the business as if it were your own to provide good service.
Describe your average client:
Our average client is a medium sized entity that has 5 to 20 employees and provides services to the public. They insist on monthly management reports and monthly meetings to discuss the financial position of the company and address any issues that may need to be resolved in the near future.
How far away from your premises is your furthest client?
We have international clients and, therefore, our client who is probably furthest is in Australia, therefore +-10,201 km away. If we were to only consider locally, that client is based in Cape Town 1,400 km away.
From your accounting experience, if you could cite one of the biggest reasons SME's in SA fail, what would it be?
Lack of understanding finance and how to utilise it to their advantage. Cash is important and knowing the difference between when to buy cash or when to finance an asset is important. Marketing is also very important, many people underestimate the power of marketing. Some businesses have a fantastic product or service to offer but they do not have the exposure to bring in business.
What accounting software do you like best?
What other software, online services or apps do you use?
Pastel Partner, Pastal Payroll, Sage One, Xero, Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Kudu, VIP Payroll, eFiling, Dropbox, Google Drive
Do you think the coming wave of automation in the next few years will steal some accounting jobs and why/why not?
Yes, I think software has already taken big steps into automating the accounting processes. Automation of these services prevents human error and is a lot more efficient and, therefore, a lot more cost effective to the business.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin?
Crypto Currency is already accepted as a form of payment for many products sold online throughout the world. Perhaps not Bitcoin but crypocurrency is the payment system of the future. There has been a lot of hype around it recently, people looking to use it as an investment source.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Researching Entrepreneurs and reading their biographies. I love business and how they operate. I intend on becoming a business coach one day so as to provide an all round service to businesses and, therefore, not just accounting services. Business Rescue is very appealing; to be able to provide your skills and knowledge to help someone be successful is what I ultimately want to do.
What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?
To travel up through Africa in a 4x4 SUV and provide necessities to all the villages we pass through.
What has your experience been on FindanAccountant?
Excellent. I have received majority of my clients from this site and will continue as a member until I stop practising.
See how our other local South African accountants have answered the above questions.