Standard Bank Group’s Chartered Accountant South Africa [CA (SA)] Training Programme is brimming with pride after the recent results for the SAICA QE II exam. A 100% pass was achieved and two trainees placed in the top 10; a true testament to the quality of training offered by Standard Bank Group.
We had a chance to catch up with Chris von der Heyden (placed 8th overall) to find out more about his journey to success and the decisions made along the way.
- Why did you choose to study to become a chartered accountant (CA) and which institution did you attend? I completed my studies at Stellenbosch University. I chose the CA route as it is one of the most highly recognized financial qualifications in SA as well as being very highly regarded overseas. Having the CA qualification should open many doors for me and expose me to many different career paths in my future. I was always interested in numbers and finance since an early age, making the CA qualification the most appealing to me.
- What made you go against the normal trend of joining an audit form and do your training contract at Standard Bank Group? I realized quite early on in my studies that auditing did not interest me at all and I really enjoyed the financial management aspects of my course. Once I had decided on going the TOPP route I thought that I would receive the best exposure at a bank. Standard Bank was the natural choice for me as it is the biggest South African-based bank and it’s significant African footprint made it even more attractive as I’d like to work a bit in Africa.
What have been some of the highlights of doing your contract at Standard Bank Group? Each rotation I’ve been on has had its own set of highlights, but what I’ve enjoyed the most is working with new teams at each area and getting to meet some phenomenal individuals.
What has been your secret to success? My secret to success has been to live a balanced lifestyle. I believe if you spend too much time focusing on one area of your life you will never be ultimately happy. And if I’m not happy, I find it difficult to remain motivated and achieve my goals.
What are some words of wisdom for budding young accountants? Don’t focus purely on academics, take the time to build a network and put the effort in to nurture and maintain those relationships. What you know can only get you so far in life, who you know will make the most significant impact as to what you end up ultimately achieving.