"I am a very focused individual. I put my heart and soul into my work as a partner," says Bridgette Morakane Modise, a partner at KPMG South Africa.
Modise always knew in her heart what she wanted to be. "Being an accountant was always my first choice. Character is everything. I have always admired Moses Kgosana, the deputy chairman at KPMG. His character was admirable."
A former student of Mapetla High School in Soweto, who earned a BCompt (Hons) CTA degree from Unisa, Modise became a chartered accountant in 1997 and joined the Certified Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in 2001.
Her work experience began at the South African Football Association from 1987 to 1988 as an office administrator. The following year she joined BASF, a multinational audio and pharmaceutical company, as a commercial trainee on a two year programme in 1989.
Modise then served her articles from 1992 to 1995 at KPMG as a senior accountant. Her responsibilities included performing audits for a variety of clients. On completion, she joined Absa from 1996 to 1997.
"I knew needed to learn to grow. I joined KMMT after working at Absa. This move was all calculated and planned," she says.
In April 2002, KMMT merged with KPMG.
"When I did my articles then, there were more than 15 black Chartered Accountants. Today, there are less than 100 but I think there is progress. There are certain bodies set to ensure that we make strides in growing professionals in this field."
In 2002 she became a partner and now works in the risk and advisory services business unit.
She helps organisations effectively manage their business risks by providing the following services: risk management, corporate governance, internal audit and performance audit.
Her client base encompasses both the private and the public sector, from large corporates to smaller entities across all industries. Modise's responsibilities include project management, business development, staff development and managing client relations.
Modise says that leadership and humility are her driving factors. "I would like to treat people as I would like to be treated. I am open, optimistic, honest, and saying thank you is not a problem for me. I am not abrasive. I keep my word and enjoy motivating people. Sometimes I think I am too positive," she says.
"The challenge is that this has always been a male dominated field. But now there is a fair proportion of males and females doing their articles," she says.