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See full profile: Johannesburg Accountant - Emily Phiri


Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?

I initially wanted to study medicine. Being an Accountant was my mother's dream and am glad she pushed me in this direction.


When meeting with clients do they mostly come to your own premises or do you mostly go their theirs?

I mostly go to my clients, Cafe


What is your preferred mode of communication with your clients?

Email, Phone, Face to Face, Skype, WhatsApp


Have you ever done an online video call with a client?



What do you love most about accounting?

Being able to paint a picture of the health of the company and being involved in giving direction/guidance on the future. I enjoy mapping the route between where my clients are at and where they would like to be in terms of their business. I like being part of a growing company


Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?

Absolutely. Decision makers need the know how that accountants bring to the table. Without accountants, businesses will always be playing catch up not able to set proper goals and measure their performance against those goals. Accountants not only shine the spot light on problem areas but also help formulate solutions and possible way out to ensure sustainability. Accountants are also the moral compasses in organisations as they insist on ethical behaviour at all times.


What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?

Intergrity, solution orientated, ability to think beyond the trial balance. Ability to ask the tough questions and ability to engage and communicate at all levels apart from being subject matter experts in everything finance.


What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?

Reputational risk suffered . We need to regain our reputation of being trustworthy and doing the right thing. We have to go back to basics and bring ethics back into the profession. Our reports are being second guessed.


What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?

Financial planning and reporting (Budgeting, forecasting and budgetary control); Decision support, Process and procedure reviews and controls, contract review, Annual Financial statements, Book keeping, governance


Describe your average client:

Small and medium company that either have non exisiting processes and controls in place yet, Firms looking for financial plans and in need of controls. Start ups.


How far away from your premises is your furthest client?

50 kms 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 proper record keeping, governance and inability to keep track of their financial performance. They have minimal accounting skills and seldom separate the firms's transactions from their personal ones. Limited long term vision and inability to invest surplus profits. Some of them are good at doing what they love but have no records to show how well they are doing. There is lack of adequate financial planning assistance given to start ups.


What accounting software do you like best?

Pastel and SAP


What other software, online services or apps do you use?

Excel, Smart Sheet


Do you think the coming wave of automation in the next few years will steal some accounting jobs and why/why not?

I do not think so. Where as a lot of back office processes could be done without too much thought, the decision making aspect of accounting needs a brain. Someone has to ask the question -"so what, what do these results mean, what is the environmental impact" etc Accountants just have to move firmly into the business support roles as opposed to record keepers/bean counters. Automation will help report historical performance but you need accountants to use the information at hand to help map the future.


What is your opinion on Bitcoin?

I have no opinion


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I jog/dance, read, tutor learners and read my bible


What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?

To run an orphanage


What has your experience been on FindanAccountant?

Too soon to tell


See how our other local South African accountants have answered the above questions.