South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) names UP graduate as 2021 Trailblazer

Posted on November 04, 2021

Roger Wyllie, a graduate of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, has won the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 2021 Trainee Trailblazer competition. He completed his BCom Accounting Sciences degree with distinction, and also did the Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting in 2019. 

This competition represents a form of validation for both his work ethic and the direction he decided to pursue upon entering his traineeship, said Wyllie. “I invested significant time and energy into digital upskilling to help contribute to my firm’s greater strategy optimisation. Almost two years into my traineeship, this award verifies my chosen path.”

Wyllie chose the CA stream because of its versatility. “Chartered accountants possess a unique dexterity of knowledge, which means they can prosper in multiple fields and reshape their career at will. South African CAs are also globally renowned, which makes the designation even more appealing,” he explained.

According to Wyllie, SAICA's CA2025 competency framework ensures that CAs are more aware of social, environmental and governance concerns. They recognise the importance of innovation, as well as the risk of inaction in the ever-revolving financial system. They realise that the future is human powered, and technology enabled.

“To summarise, the CA of 2025 is a trailblazer. I would like to think of myself as a trailblazer of sorts. I’ve been working relentlessly since my articles began to provide my clients at our practice with a unique experience, a digital experience powered by meaningful human interaction,” he said in his video contribution for the competition.

Currently, he is a second-year associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), auditing listed entities in the technology, media and telecommunication sector. He also works for the PwC Africa Assurance Innovation team.

“I got onto this team by creating various idea statements, most of which start with the word ‘imagine’. Imagine if we didn’t need to open pdf documents to compare them to clients’ records? Imagine if we could perform foreign exchange testing by pressing a single button. Imagine if we could visualise all the sources of overtime within a firm, allowing us to preempt employee burnout and rectify the situation before it occurs.”

Within a year and a half year into his training contract, he had solved 28 problem statements, translated into 28 scalable, dynamic assets designed to optimise the practice from the ground up.

These contributions have recently led to his nomination as global tech ambassador for PwC on behalf of his African territory, where he will be responsible for sharing PwC’s digital story with current and prospective clients. As a global tech ambassador, he will contribute to a greater network of tech ambassadors and liaise directly with territory leadership regarding PwC’s digital expertise.

Wyllie has also been recognised as the African top contributor to PwC’s digital repository, an initiative that was created earlier this year. In 2018, he was named one of the ‘Top 10 students in the South Africa’ based on future employability criteria by GradStar.

He hails UP for establishing his foundation, stating he was able to learn important theoretical concepts while also establishing a vision for himself and his career.

“I enjoyed multiple conversations with my Financial Management lecturers regarding the future of audit and how to prepare for its inevitable arrival. This allowed me to learn important programming concepts while still pursuing my degree, offering a valuable head-start to my digital journey.”

Wyllie has some advice for current EMS students. “Firstly, begin upskilling now. Although digital acumen is not a requisite for success, it is a differentiator. The finance and engineering fields have begun converging and hence, individuals who can demonstrate proficiency in both fields will soon be in high demand, especially given the 4IR. I would like to urge students to begin their digital upskilling journey as soon as possible.”

His second piece of advice is for students to find a firm that is willing to support their growth and is willing to invest in its people before its bottom line.

- Author Petronel Fourie

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