The St Mary’s Accounting Department is one of the newest in the School, with the 2010 matriculants being only the fourth class to take this subject in Form V. Nevertheless, it is a vibrant, lively department that aims to furnish its students with the skills necessary to understand Accounting. These are competencies needed by anyone who wishes to start her own business – and at St Mary’s we strive to encourage and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our girls.
Accounting is offered as an optional subject from Form III onwards. In our classes, the girls learn principles of Accounting and Financial Management such as bookkeeping, drawing up financial statements and interpreting financial ratios for sole proprietors, partnerships, close corporations and companies. The curriculum is extensive and prepares the students for future careers in finance, although Accounting is not a prerequisite for enrolling in a Bachelor of Commerce course at university. It is a challenging subject that teaches our girls to think logically and to work accurately under time pressure.
The Accounting Department also organizes several entrepreneurial activities during the year. Our girls have the opportunity to participate in the JSE/Liberty Life Investment Challenge, where they learn how to trade in shares by creating a fictitious portfolio. Schools all over South Africa participate in this challenge and there are monthly prizes for the students whose portfolios are the most successful. There is also the Accounting Olympiad for Senior Students.
Economic and Management Sciences is a compulsory subject for Form II students and is offered to this year group only. This subject covers basic aspects of Accounting, Economics and Business Management and aims to provide the pupils with a general overview of key concepts in the world of commerce. In EMS we hope to teach our girls the value of money, although some parents might question our success at times!The main focus of the curriculum is on Accounting, since we aim to introduce this subject to the Form II girls so that they are able to make an informed choice when selecting their subjects for Form III. We teach primarily basic principles of bookkeeping but touch on some other subjects such as types of business ownership, supply and demand and budgeting. This means that our girls know what to expect if they choose Accounting as a subject and we hope to encourage them to become entrepreneurs.