South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) approached ThoughtCorp to assist in engaging accounting students with the nowiCAn web platform, launched in January 2010.
Having undertaken a detailed needs analysis, the ThoughtCorp team understood that SAICA objective was to create a means to communicate with students from Matric level through to those in the process of completing their CA qualification.
“We wanted to create an online student community that would function as a support network across universities for prospective Chartered Accountant South Africa (CA[SA]) students,” explains Venessa Oger, Project Manager: Universities at SAICA. “CA(SA) students are often under extreme pressure, so we decided to address their wellbeing, as well as to speak to students about the profession of chartered accountancy in a way they would enjoy.”
ThoughtCorp worked in partnership with SAICA’s creative agency to translate the nowiCAn brand into an exciting, interactive web offering that would grab the imagination of students as well as offering relevant information on the accounting profession. The nowiCAn website (www.nowican.co.za
) also offers students the opportunity to sign-up and become a member of a personal wellness programme at a nominal charge. This programme comprises various elements aimed at ensuring students enjoy the support they need, from stress, financial and medical counselling to discounts on textbooks and other products, as well as the chance to interact with other students from across the country.
Other features on the website include comprehensive information on everything from what it means to be a CA(SA) or how to become one, leaders in the industry and upcoming events and a range of funky features that are sure to keep students who register browsing for hours.
From the Rocket to Riches game (try to grab as many treasures as you can when you are shot out of a canon across the screen) to the ability to design your own personal avatar, the site is aimed at being enjoyable as well as informative. Doodle in the colour of your choice on the page header, view upcoming events or browse shopping specials. Users can also pose questions to leaders in the industry, write a blog post or use the Map My CA(SA) Path to find the best way of completing their journey to becoming a CA(SA).
Students can watch video clips profiling industry leaders, or nominate leaders they would like to see on the site and suggest questions. Forums also allow users to interact with each other and generate relevant content.
“The nowiCAn website allows SAICA to communicate with Generation Y students who love technology and know how to use it,” says Oger. “It also helps SAICA as a professional body to understand our students better and to keep track of trends.”
ThoughtCorp Director Robert Braune believes that the nowiCAn web platform will be integral in achieving its aim of engaging with prospective and current CA(SA) students and Oger agrees. “At our recent launches of the website at universities around the country, students loved the look and feel of the site,” she enthuses. “We have already exceeded our target of student registrations by more than four times what we had hoped. Now we need to make sure we keep students’ attention with our fresh content. We’re currently in the process of planning nowiCAn events for the upcoming year.”