Gareth Cotten is the Course Instructor of the UCT Financial Management, UCT Bookkeeping, and UCT Payroll and Tax Administration short courses. In this short video, Gareth introduces these highly practical online short courses, and we catch up with 2 past learners who are confidently applying the skills they gained in their careers.
The beauty of Finance, and just numbers in general, is that it ties through as a common thread through any business unit, or whatever career path; anything you might work in. So even if you work in something like Human Resources or Marketing, at the end of the day everything does get reduced to numbers. So not only does it help make your job easier, but it also opens up paths for improvement and promotion in a big way, by having those numbers skills behind you.
I think the reason why I decided to take the course is very much sitting in those shareholder and board meetings. When the financial advisor was busy talking about specific aspects of the financials I really did start to feel a bit stupid to a large degree, and felt that doing a course like this would give me sufficient tools to be able to understand what was happening. I was interested in doing a financial management course and I didn't know at that time where can I do this and how am I going to do it? So I started reading about GetSmarter and UCT and their online basis. I spoke to my husband, we read on their website, made an application and that's how I got to be knowing about GetSmarter.
What students would gain from doing these courses? Bookkeeping is going teach people skills on how to actually put together a set of books. So, even if they are already using an accounting program or something like that, it actually teaches the principles and practices and the theory behind why that happens. It makes it that much easier to understand the bookkeeping process, to understand the numbers and the results that you're getting.
Looking at Financial Management, what they'll be able to learn is basically to interpret a business's performance. So, things like finding inefficiencies, being able to look ahead, budget into the future, which is always a very difficult thing to do for business owners and managers.
And then from the Payroll and Tax aspect, you're looking at things like being able to make your business as tax efficient as possible. So that is not paying too much tax, and just keeping your payroll and employees tax as efficient as possible as well.
I think, from a business perspective, once again it give me the confidence to be able to sit in a meeting and understand how the financial person gets to those answers. And I think personally, it helps me to really understand where I am financially. It's definitely helped me think differently about my present state of finances. I do actually commute through the train. You can also access it through your cell phone, so while I'm commuting through the train I could be able to be reading whatever the information that I needed at that given time; watching of videos. And also, my job requires me to be a very flexible individual; I move from places to places. I was in Pretoria in the middle of me doing the course, and on that, I managed to submit my assignment on time, while I am attending a work related activity. There is always support from the instructor, or the course coordinators and what that does is it just helps you to relax and to be able to really take in the content that they are learning.
Very importantly, they really like the fact that they get to apply, practically, what they're learning pretty much straight away. This is the other thing about the time and location flexibility; because you don't have to pull time out of your life to go and study somewhere, or go to a university class at some certain time, of day you can learn something, cover a section in the notes or in the discussion forums, and instantly go straight back to what you were doing and apply it, straight off the bat.
What it means for me for the course to be backed by UCT; it's probably one of the main reasons why I actually decided to do the course. For me, the reputation of UCT, I hold it high regard, and it was a simple decision for me.
The beauties of these qualifications is that by virtue of the tie to the University of Cape Town, they are extremely employer recognised. So straight away they recognise the brand, which is backed by one of Africa's best universities. What would I tell a potential student who is considering a course with UCT and GetSmarter? I will say go! Go for it! It is very much interesting. There is a lot of interaction, and you don't feel alone, you don't feel to be lacking in terms of the Information. The discussion forum is there, you can just put your information and somebody from the group will be able to assist you, you don't feel lonely in terms of doing the course.