Home Articles FEATURE: CAs(SA) pass final qualification hurdle

FEATURE: CAs(SA) pass final qualification hurdle

In November 2016, 2 529 aspiring CAs(SA) nervously sat for their final professional examination, the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Now SAICA can announce that 89% (2 247) of these candidates passed

The CA(SA) journey is not for the faint-hearted. It takes a minimum of seven years to complete and those who begin the journey need talent, diligence and commitment to come out on the other side with this qualification in hand. Today, this is precisely what the 2 247 aspiring CAs(SA) who succeeded in the 2016 APC can boast about doing.

For successful candidates, passing the APC is the crowning jewel to the many years of studying and training undertaken to become a CA(SA). For the profession, their achievements cement the high regard the CA(SA) designation continues to have for delivering highly competent individuals that will help build and lead South Africa’s economy.

What is the APC and what does it measure?

While many still see accountants as traditional bean counters, much has changed in the role CAs(SA) play in the business world. To this end, SAICA has made many changes to the focus of the CA(SA) qualification, which includes changes to the way in which prospective CAs(SA) are assessed. It is for this reason that the APC assesses a candidate’s ability to use and apply their technical knowledge in a real-world context by setting tasks that entry-level CAs(SA) are expected to be able to complete in the working world. Candidates become eligible to write the APC after passing the Initial Test of Competence (ITC), successfully completing an accredited professional programme and completing a minimum of 20 months in a registered training contract with a SAICA-accredited training office.

The APC, which takes the form of a written examination, places emphasis on pervasive skills (ethics, personal attributes and professional skills) and assesses whether candidates demonstrate their professional competence through the application of their acquired skills and technical knowledge in a multi-disciplinary case study, as well as their behaviour during the case study period.

The 2016 case study was based on a hypothetical private company involved in the retail apparel industry. Given the challenges faced by South African clothing and luxury goods retailers in 2016/17, this industry proved very topical and the feedback received from the professional programme providers and training officers indicated that the tasks in the case study were well triggered in the pre-release material. The examiners remarked that, in general, candidates responded very well to sections dealing with audit as well as strategy and risk management competencies but they struggled with the tasks dealing with financial accounting, tax and financial management competencies.

Perhaps more importantly, the 2016 sitting of the APC demonstrates the efforts SAICA continues to put into ensuring its qualifying process reflects the development of relevant competencies a CA(SA) needs to have in the workplace. Adding to the real-life nature of the assessment, candidates are now able to opt in to using a computer to ‘write up’ their responses to the assessment tasks using a secure software package. 54% of the candidate population opted for this in the 2016 APC.

13 candidates honoured for their aptitude and skill

Every year, candidates who perform exceptionally well and show the greatest insight into the way they complete the APC case study tasks are placed on SAICA’s APC Honours Roll.

This year, those candidates, in alphabetical order (by surname), are:

To all the successful candidates, Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive of Professional Development at SAICA, has the following message: ‘Well done, class of 2016! The renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright once famously said, “I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.” Today, the 2 247 successful candidates who passed the 2016 APC examination are living proof of this having spent almost seven years preparing for this moment. We look forward to seeing you grow and develop in your career as you become our future business leaders.’


NameSurnameTraining Office

Professional Provider Programme













SoretNelMoore Stephen


LouisaDe KramerPwC




DaniellaShenkerErnst & Young








Transformation at the heart of these results

As a critical stakeholder in the South African economy, one of the key responsibilities SAICA has undertaken is to ensure that there is a consistent supply of adequately and suitably qualified professionals who are representative of the country’s demographics. To this end, SAICA is also pleased to reveal that this year’s APC results continue to show a change in the demographics of the profession.

‘With 58% of the writing population made up of black candidates compared to 50% when the APC exam was first written in 2014, we are seeing a direct result of the significant resources that go into SAICA’s various Thuthuka transformation initiatives,’ explains Olivier.

Olivier adds, ‘SAICA is extremely pleased with this year’s candidates’ successes. They positively illustrate that SAICA is leading the process of transforming South Africa’s chartered accountancy profession and economy as a whole.’