See full profile: Bedfordview Accountant - Sandy Stewart
Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?
I was caught between being an accountant or doing engineering, as I was good at maths and science at school. My first choice for studying was engineering, which I was accepted to, but an engineering friend of the family at the time warned what a hard career it would be to follow as a woman.
My other driving goal was to be financially independent as my mum struggled to bring us up on her own. I have been very pleased with my career choice as I love adding value, solving problems and implementing better ways of doing things going forward.
I ultimately get bored quickly so structure, build models or implement systems to allow the boring things to be done quickly and easily.
When meeting with clients do they mostly come to your own premises or do you mostly go their theirs?
It's a mixture of both.
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?
Solving problems and delivering value and solutions.
Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?
Yes definitely, as long as the person is prepared to work hard and understand what they are doing.
What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?
Integrity, enthusiasm and passion for doing things correctly. High attention to detail. Service delivery, within deadlines.
What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?
The fact that clients are not prepared to pay a fair price for the service.
What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?
Implementing accounting systems and dealing with all the various tax issues, with SARS.
Describe your average client:
Small to medium sized owner-managed businesses, They vary between clients that own properties, manufacture and sell items, deliver projects, management consulting and export goods - oh and a wildlife safari lodge or two
How far away from your premises is your furthest client?
20 kms. I do 90% of my work on line though.
From your accounting experience, if you could cite one of the biggest reasons SME's in SA fail, what would it be?
Lack of cash flow management and business owners not focusing on growing their business enough.
What accounting software do you like best?
What other software, online services or apps do you use?
Pastel Xpress, Quickbooks online and Quickbooks
Do you think the coming wave of automation in the next few years will steal some accounting jobs and why/why not?
I don't think so as one still needs experience to do the correct entries and understand the implications of doing things a certain way (where there is a choice) or different ways. Even the correct way to disclose items, and what to disclose is important. I also don't know how automated systems can advise a client of tax efficient options.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin?
I am very wary of it - it's a fad as as I understand it, it can split into various other outcomes and there isn't any control over where it develops to.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Photography, especially wildlife photography. My husband and I run a photographic safari business. I was extremely fortunate to join him with clients in Chobe 3 times in 2017 - a dream destination of mine. www.stewartphotography.co.za We also enjoy our own caravaning trips to various national parks - Kruger, Kgalagadi and Etosha have already been booked for this year.
What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?
To spend 6-9 months touring through Southern Africa, as far up as we can go.
What has your experience been on FindanAccountant?
Excellent. I get about 90% of my clients through this website.
See how our other local South African accountants have answered the above questions.