THE importance of a good reputation in business was emphasised when Softline Pastel Accounting managing director Steven Cohen delivered the keynote address at a cocktail function held at the St George's Park Cricket Oval Indoor Centre last night.
Cohen rescheduled a company meeting to come and address trainees and qualified Port Elizabeth accountants at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) Thuthuka function.
"A good reputation applies in business. If you have a good reputation, people will follow you.
"I truly believe you do not set up to build a good reputation, but it comes from the heart. Drive a Ferrari if you love Italian design but don't drive it because you want to be respected for driving it," he said.
"You do not cultivate a reputation – it comes from ethics, what's right, what's wrong, and your personality.
"Having a good reputation does not mean you must be perfect, but be decent. You are going to make mistakes in life – if you are always trying to be perfect you will bottle- neck yourself and your company. Just be responsible."
Cohen applauded Saica director of transformation Lwando Bantom for organising the event.
"It is because of Lwando's reputation that I came here. I think this country is lacking more people like him who are trying to help others. He is doing a great effort by trying to connect people instead of just sitting at his house and watching TV.
"I wish more people in this country were like him," he said.
Cohen compared himself to Robin Hood. "I kind of dig him because I am that kind of dude. In life you must always justify every decision you make.
"There is so much good to do in this country. We are a 'can do' nation," he said.
"My family relocated to Australia and they have been asking me why I am still here.
"The only time I will leave is when bad people run this country – I do not mind incompetence because they can always surround themselves with other people."
The event was sponsored by Nedbank, Saica and Pastel.
Nedbank area manager for retail relationships banking, Mawanda Shungu, said: "At Nedbank we understand and believe that at the heart of our socio-economic challenges, solutions can be achieved through collaborations with all the key stakeholders in support of government's efforts."