The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (Saipa) said on Tuesday there had been a dramatic drop in the number of pupils taking accountancy at school, meaning fewer people would enter the job market down the line.
Saipa technical executive Faith Ngwenya warned that without an ample pool of talent to draw from, organisations would face the prospect of paying a premium to retain scarce financial employees or service providers.
Pupils with an aptitude for accounting should be quickly identified and encouraged by their parents, teachers and society to pursue a career in the field, she said.
“We need more awareness programmes aimed at helping these children make the right career decision as early as possible and stay the course throughout their studies,” she said.
Greater involvement in education should come from businesses and the government as these are the largest beneficiaries of a healthy accounting job market, Ngwenya added.
Saipa has embarked on two initiatives designed to boost interest in accounting among pupils, including the recent pilot of its winter school concept providing disadvantaged scholars in the Ivory Park area with lecturers from universities in Johannesburg and mathematicians from Statistics South Africa who helped them master mathematics, mathematical literacy, and accounting.
Saipa also holds an annual national accounting Olympiad competition for schools.
“We hope to expand both programmes to as many schools as possible, eventually extending them down to grade 9 to create early momentum,” Ngwenya said.