FNB Xero Programme for Accounting Practices to capacitate small black-owned accounting practices
JOHANNESBURG - FIRST National Bank (FNB), in partnership with Xero and Edge Growth, yesterday announced the launch of the FNB Xero Programme for Accounting Practices (FXP), a developmental initiative that will capacitate small black-owned accounting practices and by extension the small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector.
In a statement, FNB said applications for the programme would be open from April 6 on the Edge Growth website to registered accounting practices that have been in operation for at least three years; were at least 51 percent black-owned; have an accreditation with a professional body, such as the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants or South African Institute of Professional Accountants; have industry experience servicing SMMEs; were keen to embrace technology to improve; and have aspirations to grow and attract investment.
A maximum of 15 entrepreneurs would be selected to be part of the programme, which would begin in June and run for eight months.
“Now, during the biggest crisis most SMMEs have ever faced, South African accounting practices are at the front line of helping the small business sector – which accounts for an estimated half of South Africa’s workforce – weather the storm and plan their road to recovery, FNB said.
It said small accounting practices faced challenges themselves.
“They are typically started by accounting graduates who might lack holistic enterprise development, leadership and digital skills, and don’t always have access to the right technology to help them to work more efficiently,” it said.
Heather Lowe, the head of SME Development at FNB, said: “Ninety percent of the requests to FNB’s small business mentorship hotline over the Covid-19 period have been related to bookkeeping, and it became clear that this is an area in which effective intervention could have an outsize impact.
“The programme is based on a desire to shift the needle, and so we decided to focus on supporting accounting practices that have several years of experience, are accredited, have experience serving the SMME sector, and are at a stage that an intervention could take them to the next level. We also want to focus on black-owned businesses from an enterprise development standpoint, and on smaller enterprises that can be expected to scale.”