Inge Mulder has been the SANRAL CFO since 2003 and earned her SAIBA CFO designation in 2020.
Why seek a professional designation for a role you’ve occupied for over two decades?
There are a few reasons that convinced Inge Mulder, the CFO at the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), to apply for the CFO(SA) designation in 2020.
Firstly, acknowledgment of work experience was an attractive aspect of the designation according to Mulder.
“What the CA designation doesn’t do is recognise your experience post articles.”
SANRAL has long been a believer in making sure that their staff’s workplace experience is acknowledged and encourage their staff to obtain professional designations from accounting membership bodies.
“Most of the accounting staff at SANRAL have been there for many years. So they’ve got a lot of experience. It’s just how do you recognize that experience? And if there is a gap, how do you fill that gap? And that was the idea of following the route and getting people through the process of registering professionally,” says Mulder.
This is part of a bigger narrative of trying to up-skill people in the face of increasing automation. “If you think about the motor industry and the fact that you can mechanize the whole assembly line.In South Africa, we tend to not want to go that route because we want to be labour intensive,”.
“But if you up skill them, then even if it’s mechanized, you still need people at some point. For accounting, it’s the same, you move them away from data captures.”
To qualify for the CFO(SA) designation, you must show significant workplace experience, proving you’ve obtained 34 competencies.
After two decades of CFO experience, this wasn’t a problem for Mulder.
Mulder describes the process of checking if you meet the 34 competencies needed to qualify for a CFO(SA) as rigorous, particularly the interview component with an assessor.
“I think the process was good and well defined. Also, in terms of checking exact experience, I find when you do interviews with people for jobs, they would cite something on their CV like ‘I was involved in’. It doesn’t necessarily mean they actually did the job or they know how to do it. So it’s always good to follow it up with a direct question.”
Another element of the CFO(SA) designation that stood out for Mulder was its South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) registration, which is based on an underlying qualification at NQF level nine. In contrast, a CA designation is based in a NQF level eight qualification, which helps, “says Mulder.
To obtain a CFO designation with SAIBA you must have obtained the following: Bcom+Hons+MBA +8 years post articles experience + senior finance executive position.