See Full Profile: Alberton Accountant: Stepahnie Snyman
Were you always planning to be an accountant and why?
No, not really. I always wanted to start and own my own business. I wasn't sure what my business was going to be but i knew that I didn't want to work for a big corporate company environment my whole life.
I knew that understanding financial information was a prerequisite for any business owner and so I decided that to be a successful entrepreneur an accounting and tax degree could only benefit me.
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
What is your preferred mode of communication with your clients?
Email, Phone, Face to Face
Have you ever done an online video call with a client?
What do you love most about accounting?
I prefer tax to accounting. I love finding solutions to complex problems and helping my clients structure their business and personal affairs in the most efficient manner. This is only possible by getting an in-depth understanding of my clients businesses so i am exposed to so many different industries and new situations - it never gets boring!
Would you recommend accounting as a career for school-leavers, and why?
Yes i would without a doubt. And i would recommend specialising in tax. Every single successful business needs an accountant because every business needs to pay tax. And even in economic downturns, businesses understand that a tax consultant is not a luxury but a necessity.
What qualities should South African business people be looking for in their accountant?
In my opinion the qualities that set an accountant apart from the rest is being solutions driven. Financial advisory services is so much more than compliance, it is a means to understanding and growing your business in the best way. Accountants need to act as a financial business partner and not a compliance officer. Accountants that are themselves business owners understand the holistic approach to financial advisory and can talk to their clients with practical experience for growing their businesses.
What is the biggest challenge facing accountants today?
Accepting clients that have not employed an accountant or tax advisor before and have managed their financial affairs themselves for many years, leaving a mess and backlog of taxes and financial processes that simply do not work. It’s easier to get it right from the beginning than to fix many years of problems later.
What aspects of accounting do you focus on most?
I specialise in corporate tax and tax planning and financial advisory services.
Describe your average client:
A small business or start-up that is looking to register their first company. We assist them in deciding the best legal structure for their businesses, to the actual company registration and various tax registrations and tax planning.
How far away from your premises is your furthest client?
From your accounting experience, if you could cite one of the biggest reasons SME's in SA fail, what would it be?
Business owners need to focus on their core business which is ultimately making money. Most business owners cannot afford the time to focus on their financial aspects of the business so this takes a backseat. The problem is, this means that the shareholders and directors are "running blind" because they don't even know if their businesses are making profits or losses. They tend to just focus on cash flow and whether there is money in the bank which is very different to making a profit.
What accounting software do you like best?
Quick books for small businesses. It’s the easiest for non-financial business people to understand and to pull reports themselves if they want to. For larger clients i would recommend Pastel.
What other software, online services or apps do you use?
Sage Pastel Payroll, Caseware
Do you think the coming wave of automation in the next few years will steal some accounting jobs and why/why not?
No, because i don't believe the real value in an accountant or tax advisor is in the monthly bookkeeping and compliance. It is in interpreting financial information to enable our clients to make relevant and critical business decisions.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin?
I think the concept is clever and I buy into the advantages but I have to admit i have never bought or used any Bitcoins so I'm not sure how practical it is or how widely used and accepted they are.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What spare time? I love travelling.
What is the most interesting thing on your bucket list?
To climb Mt Kilimanjaro.