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Pursuing her purpose

Leading a fast-growing advisory firm

Lornelle Jonas is a Johannesburg based businesswoman.

Meet Lornelle Jonas.

The driven accountant who transitioned from

a corporate job to becoming the founder of a fast-growing Johannesburg based accounting firm. She is the managing director of E’lique Advisory, a leading professional services firm specializing in accounting, tax, and advisory services.

Our writer Melissa Nare catches up with Lornelle and touches on her journey to entrepreneurship, her passion for making an impact and being a young female leader.

Originally from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, Lornelle studied in Cape Town and thereafter completed her articles at PWC in Kimberley before moving to Johannesburg. She worked at Liberty Group Limited for a period of two years in the group internal audit department (GIA) and moved to First Rand Group Internal Audit. It was during her time at FirstRand, that she got the idea to start E’lique.

Journey to entrepreneurship

Like many people, the Covid-19 pandemic brought an existential crisis for Lornelle. She was not finding joy in her job because she had been in the corporate world for close to 10 years. “I actively started E’lique Advisory as a side hustle in 2020,” she shares. She decided to become a Xero partner and within six months achieved xero partner silver status. She left her job in May of 2021 to go into business full time. Two months down the line she appointed her first employee and rented office spaces in August of the same year.

A year later the team moved into a bigger office space in Alice Lane, Sandton and E’lique Advisory also became the first female and black-owned Xero platinum partner firm in South Africa.

“That was quite an achievement for us to celebrate. In hindsight it made me realize that there's still a lot of work to be done in terms of transformation and leading the way and opening the door for other female owned and black-owned businesses in the accounting industry.

Entrepreneurial Lornelle is the happiest

Purpose and impact have always been her biggest drivers and knowing that she is impacting lives through her company is something that she prides herself in. To her friends, Lornelle the entrepreneur is the happiest.

“I would say the highlight for me about my entrepreneurial journey is appreciating my journey, everything that I had gone through, the experiences both in work and outside and how it has shown me that I can do this, that I am made for this that this is actually where I thrive.”

She says the impact that she’s been able to make in the businesses she has worked with is another one of her highlights.

“We've achieved Xero platinum partner status and those are things that can be celebrated but the more so the fact that I've made it this far”.

Overcoming challenges

As someone whose expertise is in accounting and tax Lornelle encountered challenges in other areas of her business.

“One of the things that I found challenging initially was marketing. What really helped me understand the full extent of what it means to run a business signing up to be part of the Investec Startup School in September of 2021,” she concedes.

This helped her hone her skills in marketing, learning how to pitch to investors, how to sell her services, understanding her purpose and how to articulate it. She admits that letting go of her fear and putting herself out there led to her starting the platform Tax Tuesdays. This is where she creates content educate individuals and small business owners on how to be tax compliant through Facebook Lives and Master Classes.

She also had challenges managing people and finding the right talent and admits it is something that she is still growing in. “As your vision becomes clearer, you kind of figure out the attributes that you are looking for in terms of people. Finding the right talent for your company is very important,”Lornelle explains.

What does it mean being a young woman in leadership?

This businesswoman believes leadership is all about serving something bigger than yourself.

“Being a leader is a huge responsibility and it's not something to be taken lightly,” she says, adding that being a young woman in leadership allows her to pave a different path and create a different narrative, to inspire others to have courage to take charge of their lives and to go after their dreams.

“It is about setting a tone for achieving the impossible and being able to rise above your circumstances.” She says being a young female leader also means taking care of yourself and your mental health and by extension her team.

Sound advice

You have to believe in yourself before other people believe in you, know your why, live by it because that is the thing that will drive you and carry you to continue long after you know the stresses of this life has passed.



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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