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Biography of Futhi MTOBA

South Africa > Finance : Futhi MTOBA

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Born on 11/07/1955 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Futhi Mtoba (b. July 11, 1955) ,  South African partner in Deloitte's financial institutions service team, was the first black woman to be appointed a partner and deputy-chairman of one of the Big Four accounting firms in South Africa. On June 2008, she has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Council of the University of Pretoria.

 Ntombifuthi Temperance Mtoba was born and raised in Swaziland along with her nine siblings. It was there that Futhi’s feet were firmly planted on the earth, with her father teaching her the most valuable lesson of life. “My father, who worked for the department of agriculture, insisted his children, and especially his daughters, should be financially independent when they grew up. Five of my six sisters are graduates, including two lawyers, a medical doctor, an agronomist, and a master’s graduate,” she says. Always being fond of Economics, Futhi enrolled at the University of Botswana and Swaziland for a BA in Economics. The young Futhi, armed with confidence and courage, later moved to South Africa where she obtained her Honours in Economics, a B Com Honours at the University of South Africa, her Higher Diploma in Banking Law, and successfully qualified as a Chartered Account of South Africa (Wow!). She joined Deloitte & Touche in 1988, and so the foundation of her career was cemented.
Futhi's professional career started in Umtata at the offices of SA's first black chartered accountant, Wiseman Nkuhlu in association with Hoek & Wiehelm. She joined Deloitte & Touche in 1988 and rose quickly up the hierarchy.

She was  being named Businesswoman of the Year, 2004.

As a leading light in ABASA and as a member of the transformation committee of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), she seeks to facilitate the advancement of blacks in the profession.

Futhi Mtoba is the epitome of a new breed of South African business leader today: Highly qualified, successful, ebullient and attractively down to earth. Since joining the firm in 1988, she has risen  through the ranks to become the first black female partner and deputy chairman at Deloitte Southern Africa. She has also been appointed the first female president of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA), a body dedicated to nurturing emerging black accountants.

She is a board member of a number of professional organisations, including the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Public Accountants & Auditors Board (PAAB). She also serves on the boards of high profile financial services institutions, such as the Financial Services Advisory Board and the Money Laundering Advisory Board, to mention a few.

Futhi's road to success has not always been easy, as she joined the profession at a time when the political dispensation of South Africa was negatively disposed towards the advancement of blacks and women in business.

"When I joined the firm, I was fortunate that we had visionary leaders who already had a programme in place to train black accountants before it became a legal imperative," says Futhi. "Transformation is a slow process. One is dealing with attitudes which are an integral part of people’s upbringing, beliefs and habits and which cannot simply be jettisoned overnight — and that applies to people of all races."

With the recent passing of the financial services empowerment charter in South Africa, Futhi is comfortable with Deloitte's focus on growing black talent in-house rather than looking to merge with a black firm. "Growing skills from within is our preferred strategy — mergers invariably cause pain when integrating corporate cultures," she says. "We have a solid pool of black skills in the firm. Of the 28 black partners, 11 are African black of which four are female. The firm is  targeting 25% black by 2007."

She puts the number of qualified Chartered Accountants in the country at 20,000.  Only about 1,500 of these are black, and the number of black Africans is a mere 330. Of these, only about 90 are women. "In terms of percentages, we are washed out in decimals,” she observes. "This is quite unacceptable." Of the 214 partners at Deloitte, the number of females stands at 26, well above the national average.

It is these glaring inequalities that led Futhi to campaign tirelessly for the empowerment of aspirant black accountants.

As president of ABASA, Futhi is uniquely placed to encourage young black people, particularly those in rural areas, to enter the accounting profession. The Association works with universities and technikons to inform students about accounting and also provides funding. Deloitte has a similar programme that earmarks high-potential learners and students, providing them with scholarships to study accounting. "This is how we will get the pool of black skills into the firm," says Futhi.

Futhi is equally committed to corporate governance and ethics. She believes it's crucial to adhere to the raft of industry regulations — from the onerous Sarbanes-Oxley Act of the U.S., which came into being after the Enron scandal, to King II on corporate governance. "We needed a rude awakening. This had to happen. It will strengthen the profession," says Futhi.

Futhi's ability to cope with her myriad of personal and professional responsibilities is grounded in her self confidence, which she says stems from her father’s strict, but loving, upbringing in Swaziland as one of 10 children. "My father, insisted his children, and especially his daughters, should be financially independent when they grew up. Five of my six sisters are graduates, including two lawyers, a medical doctor, an agronomist and a master's graduate."

Futhi is confident about the future of South Africa. "We have enough people of talent, experience and goodwill on all sides who can pool their talents and work together. I would encourage all South Africans to look to the future, because it is when we complement each other and work towards common goals that we will enjoy the greatest success, and the deepest fulfilment."


Last update : 09/11/2008

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