Lyle Malander was last year’s winner of the annual 2018 SAICA Top 35 under 35 awards. Picture: SUPPLIED/SAICA
Lyle Malander was last year’s winner of the annual 2018 SAICA Top 35 under 35 awards. Picture: SUPPLIED/SAICA

Thirty-year-old Lyle Malander was last year’s winner of the Top 35 under 35 awards. The annual awards were launched in 2014 by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) to recognise the organisation’s young achievers.

Each year, after receiving hundreds of applications or nominations – nationally and internationally – finalists are narrowed down to 35, each of whom displays a remarkable portfolio of significant success, leadership, personal determination and drive for their age.

In some notable way, the finalists are also looking beyond themselves and making a meaningful contribution to society and to those less fortunate.

A panel of prestigious judges interviews each finalist, and an overall winner is selected along with various winners under the categories of entrepreneur, corporate and academia. Malander is one such young chartered accountant (CA) SA under the age of 35 who is not only achieving top results but also making a tangible impact.

Malander, co-founder and director of the Malander Group of companies, launched chartered accounting and financial advisory firm Malander Advisory in 2015, followed by recruitment firm Malander Placements; Malander Digital, an IT company; and, most recently, Malander UK, a financial advisory and recruitment firm based in London.

The trailblazer says he focuses on providing professional advisory and resource services to large and listed entities.

In three years, the Malander Group has created many employment opportunities for chartered accountants and finance professionals and made more than R40m in revenue.

Watch the video | The 2018 Saica Top 35 under 35 winner

The entrepreneur humbly attributes the success of his businesses to his strong team with an aligned vision: “My co-director and team have all been pivotal to the growth of the business, and their motivation and dream is what keeps us going on a daily basis.”

He says he didn’t always have the most fortunate of circumstances growing up. As a young coloured kid from Cape Town, he was exposed to his fair share of financial and social challenges. But he held on to his dreams to make a difference. Today he says his perseverance and dedication have been key in overcoming his challenges in life.

“I think what sets me apart is that I have always seen these struggles and challenges as a learning opportunity that fuels my desire to want to make a difference and create a legacy.”

Malander studied to be a CA (SA) at the University of Stellenbosch but at the end of his honours year, when he received his results, he learnt to his shock that he had received the bare minimum mark of 40% required to write the final exam.

He distinctly remembers his lecturer saying: “To those of you who have a 45% year mark, don’t worry, there have been people in the past who have ended up passing the year.” Being in the unfortunate position of having a year mark lower than that, Malander immediately had the sinking feeling that he might have to repeat his honours year.

Encouraged by some of the graduate recruiters at Deloitte, he decided not to give up and managed to pass that year. “I have realised that giving up isn’t the answer. We should always continue to follow our dreams no matter what odds are stacked against us,” he says.

After relocating to Johannesburg to complete his articles at Deloitte in 2012, he was seconded to Deloitte LLP in Chicago for three months before returning to join an accounting and advisory division at Deloitte SA. He worked on various clients including the Aveng Group, where he helped raise a R2bn convertible bond.

Malander for Change is aimed at providing technological resources and development training to institutions and organisations that need it most.

“I believe the training we get as CAs (SA) requires us to get an in-depth understanding of not only the finance environment but also the business environment in general. Gaining this understanding of the mechanics of business and the importance of controls within business has equipped me for the entrepreneurial journey in the sense that I have had exposure to various operating environments and have garnered an understanding of what it takes to run any operation,’ he says.

Malander has been instrumental in the company’s recent expansion into the UK through the opening of a London office to service clients with both its local and offshore financial advisory and resourcing requirements, as well as provide finance and recruitment professionals with international exposure.

The group has also recently started a programme called “Malander for Change”, which is aimed at providing technological resources such as laptops and internet access as well as development training to institutions and organisations that need it most.

“Coming from a background where I was exposed to poverty and growing up in areas of poverty where I witnessed the imbalances in society, I believe that we as professionals have the ability, and potentially even a responsibility, to contribute to social change,” he says.

Click here to enter the Top 35 under 35 competition.

For more information, visit the SAICA website.

This article was paid for by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.