The research looked at the use of fair value by the JSE’s top 40 listed companies

Valencia Hewlett will present her research at the 2019 South African Accounting Association Biennial International Conference in June. Photo: Ortal Hadad

A Wits trainee academic’s honours research has been selected to be presented at the 2019 South African Accounting Association (SAAA) Biennial International Conference, set to take place on June 26-28 at Emperors Palace.

Valencia Hewlett completed an honours degree in 2018. Her research evaluated the use of fair value as a measurement within the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Limited’s top 40 listed companies. This contributes to the South African field of accounting as Hewlett said there is much debate around whether to use fair value, the estimated price at which an asset can be sold under current market conditions, as a measurement model for companies.

Considering that accountancy is not generally research-based, the 22-year-old said, “Having the opportunity to do research and to be guided by my supervisor (Mr Wayne Van Zijl) really was eye opening.”

Her research will be presented in front of about 350 national and international candidates as well as representatives of accounting publications such as the ‘Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences’ and the ‘Southern African Journal of Accountability and Auditing Research’.

Wits associate professor and SAAA president, Elmarie Papageorgiou, said, “SAAA is very honoured to have Kimi Makwetu, the Auditor-General of South Africa, to be the keynote speaker.”

She said, having collaborated with the International Association for Accounting, Education & Research, SAAA hopes the conference will provide valuable feedback for experienced researchers.

Hewlett most looks forward to the possibility of being published yet acknowledges the value of feedback. “When other people start bringing in their ideas it can enhance what I’m trying to say,” the masters student said.

Andres Merino, who lectured Hewlett in management accounting last year, said that she is very professional in her work and that she makes an effort to support students in their own academic journeys.

He said the conference would enhance Hewlett’s research, saying, “From a practitioner’s point of view, a lot of insights can be arrived [at] on how to run your business.”

Thulani Mkaba, who is a trainee academic alongside Hewlett, said his colleague had struggled at first with her research. “At the beginning it was quite difficult. For instance, she would have to do extra lessons and her Saturdays were just about research,” he said.

Although overwhelmed at the invitation, Hewlett told Wits Vuvuzela, “I was just glad to get the opportunity to present. I didn’t expect anything like that.”