Lorraine de Villiers has been a part of our company for 12 years. She is a finance aficionado and inspiring mom of two, who believes that finding balance is critical to enjoying one’s job. While she adores building her career, she enjoys investing in her family just as much. In addition to her love for number-crunching, Lorraine is also exceptionally passionate about agriculture. Located approximately 35km outside of Caledon, her family farms with grain (wheat, barley, canola, oats), and livestock (sheep and cattle). She shares some of her insights with us in the article below.
Please provide some insight into your years of experience within the industry.
“I started my articles at PwC’s George branch in 2004, directly after finishing matric,” says Lorraine. “I studied BCompt (or BRek as some call it) through Unisa’s online platform, and after four years I finished my degree and articles simultaneously. After completing my articles, I stayed on for another year at PwC as a senior accountant. Then I moved to Bredasdorp and started working at Boshoff Visser. They seconded me to Overberg Agri and most of my career at Boshoff Visser was spent at Overberg Agri’s offices in Caledon. I was specifically seconded for the compilation of all the Group’s financial statements on CaseWare—a software package specifically developed for the compilation of IFRS compliant financial statements. In September 2010, I was employed on a full-time basis by Overberg Agri, and in 2012 I was promoted to Group Financial Manager. I have seen the Group evolve and expand over the past 12 years. My experience includes a broad knowledge of accounting, financial statements, consolidation, amalgamation and taxation and I work with the finance teams of the Acorn Agri & Food Group on a daily basis,” says Lorraine.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
“I love spending time with my family—doing anything from camping, hiking, having a picnic, watching a movie, going to a favourite restaurant, or taking a road trip through our beautiful country. We recently travelled to the Kruger National Park, and our next bucket list trip will be to Kgalagadi,” continues Lorraine.
What do you love the most about your job?
“I can’t pin it down to only one thing. Firstly, doing what I love doing most (anything with figures) is ultimately the reason I’m still happy within my role after 12 years. And as an added bonus, I get to work with an awesome finance team throughout the Group. I have always loved being part of a team of people that works towards a common goal. The Acorn Agri & Food Group finance team is nothing short of awesome,” notes Lorraine.
Do you believe that women have enough opportunity to excel in the financial services industry? What do you believe can be done for women to receive more opportunities in this sector?
“Yes, I do. I believe that good employees will always be in demand, regardless of gender. Personally, I’ve employed more women than men, and it’s never been because of gender, but rather being the best candidate for the job, regardless of their gender,” continues Lorraine.
“I’ve seen enough women in finance excelling in their careers and I believe that you just have to be the best version of yourself and do your job exceptionally well—then the opportunities will follow,” says Lorraine.
Have you ever had a career mentor? Or anyone that you admired within the industry? Please share a bit of information as to how they impacted your career journey.
“I’ve had plenty. From audit managers and partners, bosses and fellow financial managers, there have been so many role players during the course of my career. I firmly believe that you can learn something from everybody—in all walks of life there are life lessons lurking, we just need to pay close attention. If I look back at my career, the one thing that stood head and shoulders above all other things would have to be integrity. I’ve always been inspired by leaders with integrity and if I list the mentors throughout my career, that is the one trait that I can write next to each of them,” concludes Lorraine.