Thandeka Mabona

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 Thandeka Mabona, Trainee Accountant at Mazars in Johannesburg.

We are always interested in learning more about our trainees. Tell our readers more about yourself and the journey in your particular field. 

I come from a family of 5, my grandmother, mother and two siblings. Started school around my township until grade 3 then moved on to Laerskool Toitskraal. I  completed my high school at a boarding school in Delmas, which was the first time I left home and stayed away from family. I did both my undergrad and postgrad at the University of Pretoria, had some of the best and worst experiences of my life, I would not change anything, I grew quite significantly through that period. I thereafter joined Mazars to do my three years of articles.  

 What attracted you to Mazars? What stood out about the firm? 

I was allocated to Mazars by bursary program. My time spent here, I grew to like the organisation. I have met some really good people whom I have learnt a lot from and still continue to. I have also learnt a lot about myself in the year and a half that I have been here and that for me is important.  

From your perspective, what makes a great leader? 

Someone who doesn’t give orders, rather someone who engages the team and encourages team ideas which allow for room for growth.  Someone who sees every moment a teaching moment and gives constructive criticism, as well as allows herself to learn from others. 

List some of your favourite “she-roes”:

My mother and grandmother. They are very fragile yet so tough and strong-willed. They inspire me to be the best that I can be and that everything is in the horizon and is attainable if you set your mind to it, I have seen them do the impossible and that for makes me believe that I can be whatever and whomever I want.  

From your experience within your career thus far, do you have any messages for future female graduates heading into the same field? 

Talk to people about the career, the opportunities and the different paths you can take. Attend functions to get to know your potential employers and see if they are a good fit for you. In an environment that is still male-dominated, remember that you worked for this, you have earned it and you have the right to the seat at the table, be yourself and speak out when there are things that concern you. Present your best foot forward. 

What is the best career advice you have ever received? This could be from a colleague, relative or a lecturer.  

There is no timeline to when you should have achieved certain things, put your head down, focus and it will all be yours in due time  

Share some of your favourite highlights since starting at Mazars. This could be work-related or even the everyday interactions with your office colleagues.  

I really love tea, so I would say having small conversations while making tea, sometimes those conversations get you through the day or you learn something new either about a colleague or in general.  

Do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has changed your view on the general work environment in any way? 

Yes absolutely, with the 4th Industrial Revolution already unravelling, I think this was an unfortunate wake up call for a lot of organisations to realise that almost everything can be machine-based and there is no longer need for people to sit in one place and work or have some storage for a whole lot of papers used for reporting.  

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. 

I practice yoga and have some mediation sessions when I feel off, tea also works to calm me down, chamomile.  I recently bought an air diffuser for essential oils and I use that to fill the room with calming oils like lavender, ylang ylang, etc.  

What do you think the future of audit, tax and advisory looks like in South Africa?  

At this point, there is an urgent need to restructure that skill set that a CA must keep up with current changes.  The traditional way of auditing will be thing of the past as we already have an IT audit that tests systems and does half of the work that auditors perform currently.  

I believe that auditors should focus on data analysis – what the numbers mean for the company over and above ensuring that the numbers exist. That for me adds value to the company and investors as auditors are the only ones in general that get to scrutinise numbers (other than the client) and have privy to request evidence of data.