Gil Gorgulho, the abacus master


He has always had a knack for numbers, whether it came to mathematics or accounting. Mastering the abacus has led him to propel in his field of work.

As of July this year, Chartered Accountant, Gil Gorgulho has been elected chairman of the board that governs the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

“I have always enjoyed numbers… it just worked for me,” Gil said.

This led him to do a B.Com degree at the University of Cape Town, which he says made sense to follow that route.


After university he began his training contract from 1988 and finished his qualifying exam in 1990 at Horwath Zeller Karro Chartered Accountants, where he still practices today.

However, this entry period was interrupted as Gil found himself being roped in by the army for a year. But this was not an impediment but a stepping stone in his character as Gil explains.

“I learned team work and discipline there, when I came back to the firm, lots of people noticed a change in me,” he said.

After returning to the firm, he worked as a manager until he became a partner in 1995.


It was about that time that he joined the Portuguese golf club, the Redskins where he held positions such as chairperson and treasurer.  It was here that he met Allen Keet who encouraged him to get involved in a discussion group at SAICA’s southern region. This Gil believes, put him on the path to where he is today.

Even though he admits to loving golf, he says he does not play nearly as much as he would like due to his duties. Staying true to his Portuguese roots, he also loves football and found himself coaching the Vasco women’s team in the 80’s up until 1992. Among the women he coached were Desire Ellis and Tes Rodrigues.

Gil Gorgulho with one of the closest to the pin prizes on the par 3
Gil Gorgulho with one of the closest to the pin prizes on the par 3

Music is also another love of his and he recalls having a mobile disco during his years at varsity which also helped him get over his fear of public speaking.

When he is not indulging in his love of sport or work, he is spending time with his family. He is married to Anita whose family are originally from Madeira and have roots in the fishing community in Cape Town.  Gil and Anita have a son finishing matric and a daughter who is studying business science.

Even though the company he works for has been around for 75 years, Gil plans to add to the oncoming years.