Buhle Hanise, a mother to a precious baby girl, is a Chartered Accountant powerhouse and also the president of the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA) organisation.
Hanise’s career started at various auditing firms within the manufacturing industry before moving into financial sector as a turnaround specialist. She then ventured into business restructuring, previously dubbed as business rescue, and is currently the Chief Financial Officer at BAIC SA.
With the motto ‘Develop as we Lead’ anchoring the AWCA, the NGO seeks to create a mutual support and developmental space for African women within the profession as they climb the sometimes tricky CA ladder.
The busy professional took time off her busy schedule to speak to Moziak about the AWCA and women within the profession.
Running an organization of this magnitude in tandem with other commitments must be challenging. What does a typical day in the office look like for you and how do you manage your schedule?
There is no typical day, and it differs on a day-to-day basis. It’s not easy, but having the right support is what has kept me sane all these years. I prioritize daily, instead of weekly, because things come up and things happen. There are days where I have to get into meetings in my car whilst waiting to go attend my daughter’s activities at school…that’s just how I do my work/life balance, if there is such a thing.
Prioritizing and planning are key, and that talks a lot to our articles training where the majority of one’s time is allocated. (But) I really think life generally requires planning to overcome stumbling blocks one would have anticipated.
In terms of running the organisation, I believe it’s important to surround yourself with people who are knowledgeable, experienced and who know better than you. I have a particular team of excellent board members and subcommittee members who teach me more than I teach them.
As you get older, you want people who add value to your life, both personal and work, and not take away from it.
From entrepreneurship forum to professional development, could you share how the AWCA’s culture prepares its members for the competitive workplace?
We run a lot of activities, from workshops to seminars to programs. Each of these cover different aspects of the profession, including hard and soft skills. Within our Professional Development Portfolio, we do preparatory workshops to support our members – which is important in guiding them to finish their articles and get them ready for the next phase. The next step could be staying in the profession, working within the industry or starting a business.
We have financial literacy workshops that teach financial self-empowerment and careers workshops.
In terms of being ready for a competitive workplace, our Power Spaces/ Mentorship workshops/ Leadership portfolio activities support members by unpacking soft skills. One of our recent workshops drifted into the ambit of marriage and motherhood and it came out that many of our members were worried about their corporate careers being negatively affected by these two pillars. We address these real issues so that members are prepared for the balancing act of being both a family woman and a CA professional.
Another tier of our membership is those that have decided to start their own businesses. Because of that, the AWCA launched its Entrepreneurship Forum in 2016 to ensure those members are also supported. We run an annual Entrepreneurship Forum Summit that tackles various entrepreneurial issues and topics through round table discussions dubbed as Mahube Round Tables, that runs throughout the year. We also discuss opportunities that exist.
Despite the notable strides in gender equality within the African continent, the CA profession is still a highly male dominated industry. How important is women empowerment to the AWCA?
Women empowerment is still a serious topic and remains top-of-mind for AWCA and we want the emancipation of women to continue. But at the same time, we want a society that is still balanced. Strongly entrenched in the culture of the AWCA is helping women to rise and the onus is on us to support each other. (So if) in 2022 we are still preaching the women empowerment agenda, yes – it is still as relevant and important to us.
For our young readers who are considering a career in this field, could you share some of the career options available to them post-graduation?
There are numerous career paths available within the CA profession. From taxation, auditing, business rescue, working in a particular industry and starting your own business. Articles are a training ground where you are given wings that enable you to fly. As a result, chartered accountants can do anything and I am the perfect example.
Between the traditional route of learning, graduation and seeking employment VS the more contemporary nuance of creative problem solving and entrepreneurship, what is more important to you and AWCA, and why?
All the above are important to me and the AWCA. Added to this is: do what feels right and have the right foundation upon which to build your career. If you are passionate about what you do, you won’t mind staying up all night doing it.
For the score of unemployed chartered accountants who may want to apply for internships or career advancement opportunities, how can the AWCA assist and prepare them for the job market?
We stage many workshop sessions and seminars where individuals can learn and network – preparing them thoroughly for the job market. Please visit our website www.awca.org.za and our social media pages, where further information about our events, memberships and other opportunities are listed.
What do the next 5 years look like for you and what are some of the career objectives that you would like to achieve?
I feel like I’ve been running the race for a number of years now, so in the next five years I want to enjoy life and enjoy the now. I’ve always been a self-lover and a lover of life, so I want to continue doing that. I want to watch my daughter grow up to be a good citizen and enjoy the fruits of my labour. I want to uphold authentic leadership in this profession that I love so much.
Connect With Buhle Hanise
LinkedIn: Buhle Hanise CA(SA)
Connect With African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA)