The month of August is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating all women. We pay special tribute to more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in August 1956.
In acknowledgement, we interviewed a few of our Mazarian trainees across the country. They spoke to us about their inspirations, how they got into the field and much more.
Meet Jenna Schreuder, Trainee Accountant from our Cape Town office.
We are always interested in learning more about our trainees. Tell our readers more about yourself and the journey in your field.
I really enjoyed maths in high school, and I was quite unsure of what to study when starting university but because of my interest in maths I was considering something in Commerce. Then I started studying at UCT and began my journey to become a CA(SA).
What attracted you to Mazars? What stood out about the firm?
What immediately attracted me about Mazars was the fact that it is a medium-firm but was growing. I liked the idea of being part of a company that I could watch grow and be a part of the growth. The fact that it is an international company stood out, as I always knew I wanted to travel, and it was an attraction knowing Mazars could expose me to possible opportunities of working overseas. I also enjoyed my interview and the atmosphere of being around people who worked there. Everyone was friendly and welcoming.
From your perspective, what makes a great leader?
Someone who can take charge, especially when things aren’t going well. It is someone who gives great advice, while at the same time must be able to listen to the people they are leading. A great leader is someone that uplifts and inspires others. A great leader must be able to adapt to change and be confident in the decisions they make.
List some of your favourite “she-roes”.
Maya Angelou - as through great adversity she was able to stay strong, she never gave up and she achieved great things in her life. She fought for what she believed in and showed bravery. This is one of the few reasons that Maya Angelou is a great inspiration to many women.
From your experience within your career thus far, do you have any messages for future female graduates heading into the same field?
Keep pushing. Life gets tough and you will struggle along the way, but in the end it will be worth it. If you fail, try and try again – but always make sure to learn from your mistakes. Also remember to celebrate the small victories (such as tests, passing exams, graduation, and even personal victories) as it will help you get through the difficult journey.
What is the best career advice you have ever received? This could be from a colleague, relative or a lecturer.
Communication is key. Every job will require some form of communication with people and most likely it will be daily. If you have communication skills, you will be able to build good relationships, get along with colleagues and clients and assist you in getting through day-to-day work tasks. Your colleagues become your work family therefore it is important to be able to communicate with them properly; this will help grow healthy work relationships.
Share some of your favourite highlights since starting at Mazars. This could be work-related or even everyday interactions with your office colleagues.
Meeting new people and making friends at Mazars has been a highlight, as the people at work and on your teams get you through your day at work. Applying sections from university that I enjoyed studying to real-world scenarios. This is a great feeling as it allows you to realise how far you have come and how much you learnt at university.
Do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has changed your view on the general work environment in any way?
Definitely. It has made me appreciate being able to come to work daily, as now I sometimes miss the interactions with other people in the office. However, it has made me realise that the traditional way of working cannot be relied upon and a permanent change can and needs to be made. Made me realise how much can be done without the need for an office.
How have you maintained focus and motivation in the face of changes brought by the pandemic? Highlight something important during your day-to-day, that helps you cope with certain challenges.
It has been challenging to maintain focus and stay motivated; however, I realise that setting a strict work schedule helps to separate your work and personal life. By taking time away from my laptop working, it has helped me regain focus and motivation rather than stare at my laptop all day without taking breaks. This results in working more efficiently.
What do you think the future of audit, tax and advisory looks like in South Africa?
In general, everyone in these fields will need to learn to adapt to being able to work remotely. Due to the lockdown, it has now become essential to be able to work remotely and make use of technology. Therefore, we will need to start decreasing the use and reliance on paper and physical files and start keeping everything digital.
We will also be relying less on face to face contact, more things will be done electronically and remotely.