The Institute of Business Advisors Southern Africa (IBASA) has emerged from its latest annual general meeting (AGM), anchored by 20th-anniversary celebrations, with a sharper arsenal to professionalize the business advisory services across the country and in Southern Africa.
IBASA took to the 2018 AGM, held in Cape Town recently, a string of pivotal initiatives that set South Africa on a path to make business advisory a codified professional service. This will position the country’s business advisory service professionals to be more like their legal, accounting, medical, teaching and medical counterparts.
“Achieving this will ensure significant improvement in the quality of service delivered to business advisory service clients, the majority of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” says IBASA CEO Joseph Tshiwilowilo.
He notes that business advising is emerging as a critical factor in the arena of SME development given the growing complexity of commerce and well-known South Africa’s skills gap that holds back the growth of the sector.
The benefits of professionalizing business advisory services are many and somewhat obvious, explains Tshiwilowilo. It breeds highly qualified and trustworthy professionals.
“Professionals that live by a common code boast high levels of integrity. Whereas a free-for-all environment attracts all sorts of characters, many of which should have no business advising people who have invested life savings, entire livelihoods, into their entrepreneurial ventures”, warned Tshiwilowilo.
“High-quality business advisory services should lead to a more prosperous SME sector, a pivotal factor for the current efforts to revive the country’s economy. Ours is a timely intervention”, says Tshiwilowilo.
You would have seen that the latest economic stimulus and recovery plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks to the need to beef up the SME sector. It has been long established that South Africa’s economy needs a thriving SME sector in order to scale through the low growth trap of the past 10 years or so.
“A thriving SME sector will not only revive economic activity and create much-needed jobs but it will also lead to a more equitable distribution of economic activity,” emphasized Tshiwilowilo.
He said IBASA emerges from the 2018 AGM with a stronger base to grow its operations and impact across the region. IBASA presented to the 2018 AGM:
- A reinvigorated corporate identity captured in a new logo
- A refreshed strategic focus and positioning
- The launch of regional associations in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape.
- Work is well advanced to launch the Free State and Eastern Cape regional associations and plans are afoot to launch in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northwest, and Northern Cape.
- A brief from the department of small business development for IBASA to coordinate the process of professionalization and development of standards for business advisory services.
- A growing partnership with the Services SETA that’s yielding tangible results
- Grading and Accreditation of 174 business advisors from the Small Enterprise Development Agency SEDA
- A shot at the opportunity to develop the Business Advisory Standard Framework
- A transforming board that advanced gender representation amongst other equity principles by co-opting two women
- A growing membership base
Several (newer) associations have already come on board to beef up an already rich base of IBASA’s strategic partnerships. These include strategic partners with the South African Institute of Tax Professionals, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants and various financial institutions, development finance institutions and tertiary education institutions such as the University of Johannesburg.
“The relationships that we are building with various institutions, organisations and the envisaged regulation for business advising will be helping us in terms of growing our numbers,” said Tshiwilowilo.
He adds that “We’ve been offering business advisors a professional home for the past twenty years through IBASA, but it is only now, with the increased emphasis on the small business sector, that our profession is getting good recognition,” says Tshiwilowilo.