See full profile: Klerksdorp Accountant - Hendrik Van der Walt
Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?
I originally thought about becoming an actuary, but soon realised I prefer business figures to complex mathematical theory. Each business has its own financial story and I enjoy helping clients make the most of theirs.
When meeting with clients do they mostly come to your own premises or do you mostly go their theirs?
My clients come to my office
What is your preferred mode of communication with your clients?
Email, Clients sometimes prefer a more personal touch to communication; the kind you get from face to face meetings but otherwise emails are more structured and reliable.
Have you ever done an online video call with a client?
What do you love most about accounting?
When a client is relieved that we can do the boring work and give them something valuable in the end.
Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?
If you are interested in how a business operates, like figures and doing things the right way; I can certainly recommend it.
What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?
High ethical standards and a commitment to quality services. Some of my clients' biggest headaches (and mine) are as a result of work not done with the proper care.
What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?
Competing with people who provide poor services at a very low cost. Not all accountants are equal and some are not even accountants.
What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?
Identifying and managing the clients greatest compliance risk (with as little hassle as possible) and using this exercise to provide the client with as much valuable information and assistance as possible.
Describe your average client:
Small and even a few medium sized entities; some are other professionals.
How far away from your premises is your furthest client?
Our furthest client is a South African currently living in Dubai.
From your accounting experience, if you could cite one of the biggest reasons SME's in SA fail, what would it be?
The lack of planning ahead and a tendency to ignore the importance of a sound financial structure means clients are not properly prepared for capitalising on their opportunities or prepared for surviving lean times.
What accounting software do you like best?
Dext (previously Receiptbank). The client simply takes a photo of any invoice to capture it in their accounting system. The program identifies the amounts, supplier, dates etc and saves the image and information in the cloud. Your accountant can simply log in from his side and do the rest.
What other software, online services or apps do you use?
The most widely used software is Xero and Sage online. We do work with any quality software however like Wave and Quickbooks.
Do you think the coming wave of automation in the next few years will steal some accounting jobs and why/why not?
Bookkeeping will likely be replaced by automation; but the value of accounting does not lie in capturing data, it lies in everything that happens after the data has been captured. Being able to evaluate the information, spot what isn't there and interpreting what this means for the client, is still way beyond the capabilities of any automated process.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin?
Cryptocurrency has a lot of potential, but our markets are not yet prepared for it, especially when it comes to preventing its use in not-so-legal activities.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
When I do have some time off, I like to spend it with my wife and our dogs. Sometimes I read about interesting things or when I just want to relax I play a computer game.
What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?
Visiting all the wonders of the world.
What has your experience been on FindanAccountant?
The experience is great so far; it is interactive and focuses on matching the right client with the right accountant.
See how our other local South African accountants have answered the above questions.