Accounting firms’ managers’ and trainees’ perceptions of managerial competencies required to manage diversity in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Msizi V. Mkhize


Background: In South Africa, there is a shortage of black chartered accountants, with some progress being made in transforming the industry. Accounting firms’ managers must be prepared to effectively manage the increasing diversity of the profession.

Aim: The purpose of the study was to identify the managerial competencies required by accounting firms managers to effectively manage diversity in KwaZulu-Natal.

Setting: The setting for this study is accounting firms in KwaZulu-Natal.

Methods: A prospective, descriptive and analytical, cross-sectional design using systematic sampling was employed. The responses of 45 accounting firms’ managers and 114 trainees were analysed.

Results: Both managers and trainees perceived the six managerial competencies important in managing diversity, but the ranking order of perceived importance indicated that there are variations in ratings. Teamwork and self-management competencies were highly rated by managers, while communication and teamwork competencies were highly rated by trainees.

Conclusion: The managerial competencies are vital for the accounting firms’ managers. The study suggests that the accounting firms’ managers should consider the importance given by trainees and by themselves in prioritising the most important competencies they require in managing diversity. Accounting firms are encouraged to incorporate the six managerial competencies into the job descriptions or job advertisements and in the firms’ management development programme or training and development programme as the managerial competencies will assist managers in managing the diverse workforce effectively.


managerial competencies; accounting firms; accounting firm managers; trainees; managing diversity; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa

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Submitted: 14 July 2015
Published: 27 October 2017

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South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences    |    ISSN: 1015-8812 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2222-3436 (ONLINE)