Wits University recently hosted Brian Joffe, the former CEO and founder of Bidvest and now CEO and founder of Long4Life, for a conversation around the profession of chartered accountancy and entrepreneurship. Though I was supposed to be a panellist in the debate and presumably have something intelligent to add to the conversation, I spent most of the time drawing from Joffe's years of wisdom and insights. He made a number of important points about entrepreneurship and what he has learnt over the years. However, his articulation of the role of accountants and how they can better serve the world made for some scrumptious food for thought.

In a room full of accounting students and lecturers, Joffe asked: "What do you think accounting actually is? What do you think accountants actually do? You are historians. You record history. We essentially record the history of what's happened and we have the methodologies to record that history. I don't think historians equip anyone to unders...

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