Clear and accurate financial tracking and management are important for the success of any enterprise. Yet, skills in accounting and bookkeeping are scarce in South Africa. Add value to your business, grow your skillset with an online short course from the University of Cape Town, and build on your current qualifications with a certificate of completion.

The practice of accounting involves preparing and analysing financial statements, tax information, and other reports. While bookkeepers focus predominantly on recording financial information, accountants perform higher levels of analysis and interpretation. For many smaller businesses, bookkeeping is sufficient to ensure financial transparency and the appropriate money management moving through an organisation. Larger, more complex businesses usually require the services of an accountant. Both functions help to ensure a business stays organised, efficient, and compliant with legal regulations. However, there are a variety of accounting-related roles and specialisations that also contribute towards these objectives.

Accurate and comprehensive bookkeeping typically supports the work of accountants, and in many contexts, bookkeepers add value by tracking revenue, producing invoices, managing payroll, controlling inventory, and balancing ledgers and accounts. Although bookkeeping is now largely run through software, employees who understand the underlying principles are better placed to support their organisations.

Understanding accounting procedures is essential for professionals looking to aid operations in the accounts or finance department and for entrepreneurs aiming to start their own business. Important skills include creating and interpreting accounting records, drafting budgets, developing tax solutions, and managing credit and debt. Employees who grasp accounting concepts can help support business decision-making and monitor company performance and maximise profit.

Pivotal to running any successful business is payroll and tax administration, as a company relies on its staff and legal compliance to operate. Payroll is often the largest expense of a business, and in an increasingly technical work environment, a dedicated payroll administrator is often necessary. This role entails calculating, allocating, and deducting payroll and understanding the calculations in employee leave systems. Supported by an understanding of individual and business tax concepts, a professional in this position helps run an organisation that values its employees and effectively manages important activities like eFiling and VAT returns.

When it comes to the overall financial health of an organisation, eliminating financial wastage is imperative. Cost and management accounting is an important function that both finance professionals and business leaders can apply. It provides managers and entrepreneurs with an informed internal decision-making structure based on cost-cutting practices and efficient resource management. Training in this field typically covers concepts like job costing, process costing, absorption costing, variable costing, and cost-volume-profit (CVP) analyses. These technical skills allow professionals to link strategic business plans with the practical constraints of a budget.

Contribute to the smooth financial operation of a business of any size, across a range of industries, with practical knowledge of basic accounting, bookkeeping, management accounting, or payroll administration and taxation. Hone your skills with an online short course from UCT, and verify your newfound competencies with a certificate of completion.