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Margo Steele School of Accountancy honours top students

- Wits University

The students' achievements underscore the school's impact on transforming the accountancy profession over the 30 years since democracy.

Margo Steele School of Accounting Prize Giving Event

The newly renamed Margo Steele School of Accountancy honoured its top-achieving students at the annual prize-giving breakfast on 17 May 2024. The school awarded 2023 top performers in disciplines that include financial accounting, taxation, audit and assurance, corporate reporting and accounting information systems. These prizes were sponsored by several companies such as KPMG, Investec Private Bank, Standard Bank, Ernst and Young (EY), Deloitte and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). View prizes here.

Bilal Said, who is currently doing his Post-Graduate Diploma in Accounting and a financial accounting ll tutor at Wits was awarded the SAICA prize for the top Wits’ Bachelor of Accounting Science 3rd year Student, along with the EY prize for the Top Tax lll student, and KPMG Prize for the top Financial Accounting lll student.

“Three years ago, I was not the student I am today. I was not the most diligent, focused learner and struggled with motivation to actually do the work, despite everyone speaking of the potential I had if I just put in the work,” said Said.

Said graduated his Bachelor of Accounting degree cum laude. Refering to his achievement, he posted the following on LinkedIn: “But a reminder that you can’t change the past, but you can definitely change tomorrow with your actions today, day by day”.

The Wits School of Accountancy has been renamed in honour of former Head of School, Margo Steele. This was made possible through the donation of  $10m.

“This donation of nearly R200m, is one of the largest in Wits’ history. It positions the school to change the lives of hundreds of students through scholarships and bursaries, to implement the sorts of resources and support structures that would provide our accountancy students with an unparalleled learning environment, and would ensure the ongoing professional development and excellence of our academic staff,” said Professor Jason Cohen, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management.

He used the opportunity to note the broader accomplishments of the school under the leadership of the Head of School, Professor Zubair Wadee.

“If you consider the top five ranked universities in the SAICA Initial Test of Competence (ITC) exam, you will note the massive contribution this school makes to the transformation of the accounting profession in the country. If you add up the black South African candidates passing from University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, and Stellenbosch and North West universities, all taken together just equals the total number of successful candidates from this demographic put through by Wits,” said Cohen.

Wadee said the Margo Steele School of Accountancy contributed widely to the transformation of the accountancy profession in the 30 years since democracy.

"A reflection on the number of black students that were in our PGDA class in 1994 reflects black students constituted 2% of the class. This is in stark contrast to the 75% of our class that was black that closed off the 2023 academic year, and represents a significant democratic gain that has an impact across multiple layers of society,” said Wadee.

“This directly aligns with the ‘Wits. For Good’ vision and Wits 2033 strategy which, among other areas, focuses on achieving social impact and pursuing excellence.”