Written by Milpark Communications
Milpark: Can you take us back to when you first knew you wanted to be a CA?
Asanda: When I was in grade six, my aunt was studying accounting. I came across one of her books – those old ledger books – and asked her what they were about. She explained that it was for her accounting class and that if you do accounting you become a CA. I was always good at maths but I grew up thinking that, as a girl, you can only become a nurse or a teacher, so when I heard about studying accounting and being a CA and that I would be dealing with money, I decided I wanted to do this.
Milpark: Please give us an overview of your early professional days.
Asanda: After studying, I didn’t do articles. I hadn’t applied because my plan was to do my CTA first and then do articles, so I started working. I started at the bottom as a debtors person, then creditors, and then I did bookkeeping at a small auditing firm. In 2006, after a few months in that role, they realised how good I was and offered me the option to do articles. Even though it wasn’t my plan at the time, I was happy for the opportunity.
Milpark: Tell us about your journey to do your CTA.
Asanda: In the second year of articles I registered to do CTA with a university in Johannesburg, but I first had to do a bridging course. I really struggled and only passed two modules. In the second year I had supps and only passed one module. It was very difficult for me to be working and studying – that’s how my articles took four years instead of three years like everybody else. I then decided to try distance learning, but again I only passed two modules. Bear in mind this was still the bridging course, not even the real thing, so I was really demotivated and felt I would never be able to do CTA. At the same time, at the back of my mind I knew I needed to do it.
Milpark: What led you to study with Milpark Education?
Asanda: I kept on failing and trying over again, but in 2013 I stopped pursuing my CTA. I decided to take a break and focus on work. I enjoy tax very much so in 2017 I did my honours in tax. But I felt that not having the CA qualification held me back from the opportunities I deserved. At work I observed that they always hired qualified CAs even though I was more experienced and then I would have to train them and watch them progress ahead of me. That’s what made me want to try CTA again. Both universities that I had studied at wouldn’t accept me because I had failed repeatedly, but one day I came across an online advert for Milpark Education and saw they offered an online option, so I registered to study in 2020.
Milpark: What did life look like for you as a working mother who was also studying?
Asanda: I had two kids and I was pregnant and I was studying, plus I had my work at the same time and it was also Covid. It was very hectic. I would work until 18:00 and start classes at 18:30 until 19:30. That meant I had only 30 minutes with the children, so I would play with them and spend time with them before they go to bed at 20:00. At 20:00 I would go back to studying until 21:30. By that time I would be so tired I couldn’t study further, especially in the early months of being pregnant. I would wake up at 03:00 or 04:00 and study some more until 05:00 when I need to start preparing for the kids to have their online classes as they were still at home.
Milpark: What are some of the highlights of your study journey?
Asanda: Being pregnant and still managing to pass both my bridging course and the PGDA. It showed me that I am stronger than I think I am and that anything is possible if you put your mind and head into it.
Milpark: What role did Milpark play in helping you reach this milestone?
Asanda: The lecturers; are the best lecturers that I’ve ever had in my life. They know what they’re talking about and they go over and above to help us pass and make sure that we understand what we’re doing. They’re determined to help us be CAs – I noticed that from the beginning. Gareth, Leon, Andrew and Riaan are passionate about helping students not just be CAs but to be the best CAs out there. They really help with how we think, how we see things, how we approach life in general. All of that helped me to finally succeed after my many ups and downs. Being able to work and study online was also very helpful because it meant my life didn’t have to come to a standstill in order for me to study.