Home Articles FEATURE: SAICA congratulates its successful APC candidates

FEATURE: SAICA congratulates its successful APC candidates

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In November 2017,   2 703 aspiring South African chartered accountants (CAs(SA)) sat down to write their final professional examination, the Assessment Professional Competence (APC), with great expectations. Today, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is delighted to announce that 2 168 candidates (80%) passed this final qualification hurdle

For successful candidates, passing the APC is the final hurdle in their seven-year (minimum) qualification marathon. For the country, every aspiring CA(SA) who qualifies helps to close the skills shortage gap that exists in South Africa’s finance industry.

‘On behalf of SAICA, I’d like to congratulate the class of 2017! To succeed, one must work hard, be dedicated, be determined and always give the very best of oneself. By passing the APC, these 2 168 successful candidates have done just that. We look forward to watching them develop into the future business leaders of South Africa,’ says Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive: Professional Development at SAICA.

What is the APC and what does it measure?

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, successfully completing an accredited professional programme and completing a minimum of 20 months of a registered training contract with a SAICA-accredited training office.

For this reason the APC, which takes the form of a written competency-based assessment, 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. In addition, the APC structure, which releases part of the assessment information five days before the assessment itself, assesses candidates’ behaviour during the case study and writing period.

‘While many still see “accountants” as traditional bean counters, the role CAs(SA) play in the world of business is an ever evolving one. To this end, SAICA has continued to make changes to the focus of the CA(SA) qualification, which includes changes to the way prospective CAs(SA) are assessed. SAICA is delighted that 66% of candidates who wrote the APC opted in to do so by means of SAICA’s e-writing option – using a computer with a secure software package to “write” their responses to the assessment tasks. This further goes to illustrate the real-life workplace environment that the assessment simulates,’ explains Olivier.

14 candidates honoured for their aptitude and skill

On releasing the results, Olivier also delivered a special word of congratulations to the 14 candidates who earned a place on SAICA’s prestigious APC Honours Roll. SAICA’s APC Honours Roll is made up of candidates who perform exceptionally well and show the greatest insight into the way they completed the case study tasks. Those candidates, in alphabetical order (by surname), are shown in the table.

SAICA’s APC Honours Roll CANDIDATES

Michael Ashton

How did you celebrate?

A good few beers with some friends and colleagues on the evening the results came out. The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating with my girlfriend and my family

Your role model and why?

At the risk of stealing lines from Matthew McConaughey’s 2014 Oscars speech, I look up to my future self, the person that I am aspiring to be. However, I strongly believe that there is something to be learnt from everyone.

Your Hobbies?

Trying to run my first half marathon in March since high school days, which should be interesting considering my training has not been quite where it should be.

Nicki Berrange

Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to stick it out?

There were times when the workload was high and the concepts difficult and I felt disheartened. That being said, I have always been taught to rise to the occasion and to never give up.

Your role model and why?

My father for his dedication and generosity, my mother for her wisdom and selflessness, my oldest brother for his courage and my other brother for his zest for life.

Your hobbies?

I love baking. It’s a way in which I can de-stress, channel my inner creative self and share my baked goods with my loved ones.

Callen Brown

How did you prepare for your exams?

I had a break one or two days before receiving the pre-release information to de-stress and recuperate. Reading the pre-release by myself was also very important – after that you can meet up with your group (an important reason for my success) to discuss.

Best piece of advice?

Never be the smartest person in the room.

How did the company support you?

KPMG strives to focus on trainees’ academic work. Their academic support team reminded all trainees to take leave; they had a meeting before the final to provide motivation and a ‘game plan’; and they were always just an email away if we required help.

Other achievements?

Completing six Two Oceans half marathons.

Josh Cesman

Inspiration to become a CA(SA)?

Undoubtedly my uncle, Jonathan Raichman CA(SA). After my result came out I told him ‘look what you did’.

Thought of giving up?

All the time. But then I remembered ‘there’s a reason I set that alarm clock in the first place’. That is my e-mail signature to this day.

Celebrated at Movida nightclub with my friends and exam group. The next day I went on a hard three-hour cycle on my own to let my mind wander and to process the whole thing.

EY was incredibly supportive and extremely generous with their study leave policy. We were not allowed to work overtime the week before the case study in order to be sufficiently well rested. Even when I wanted to work my manager wouldn’t let me – that really meant a lot to me.

Wynand Crouse

How did you prepare for your exams?

I read a lot of news and financial magazines to keep up to date with what is going around me. Being informed about what is going on around you and in the markets help you when you need to answer questions in the APC, but it also helps you when you are working with clients. Being informed helps you to have meaningful and relevant discussions.

Role model?

My father. He taught me to be humble and to keep your head down. Coming from a small town in the Southern Cape to making a success of himself and being able to provide for our family is truly inspirational.

Best piece of advice?

‘You can’t keep a good man down’ − my mother. She always says that you should just keep on working hard and do the best that you can and then people will realise what you are capable of. Just do the best that you can in everything that you do.

Robert Edwards

This exam has been six years in the making from when I started articles while studying through UNISA.

THE SUCCESS IN THIS FINAL HURDLE IS due to everyone who has helped me along the way; from first-year study and article colleagues, to lecturers, current work colleagues, friends, family, and to my APC team members. I can’t thank everyone enough, I’m glad of the decision I took all those years ago to take this journey. It has been successful, and I have honestly enjoyed it.

Best piece of advice?

If in doubt; take it to overs and unders – that also applies to life.

Michael Etchells

Ever felt like giving up?

When I look back at 2017 I will remember it as being incredibly difficult, tough, but most of all character defining. Not only did I write APC in November 2017, but I also took on the challenge of writing the CFA level 1 exam a few weeks later in December. Balancing my study commitments with work, as well as trying to find time for my hobbies and social life was extremely challenging. There were many occasions when it would have been easier to give up, but I knew nothing would beat the feeling of success and passing both exams.

Your hobbies?

I am an avid road runner and mountain biker. I ran my first Comrades Marathon while at university and I am very keen to add to my tally of three Comrades Marathon medals. I also look forward to participating in my first triathlon later this year.

St-John Hunter

Ever feel like giving up?

One of my favourite quotes from the poem Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’. I don’t think I ever thought about giving up on the exam, but it has been necessary to remind myself that the present struggles are never worth yielding to.

Deloitte London was fantastic, giving us sufficient study leave, board course enrolment, bringing over a lecturer from the UCT board course to present exam strategy to us, shipping our books across to London from SA and enabling the whole group of trainees in London to work together on research and put our best feet forward on the day.

Hobbies?

Since moving to London, my caffeine addiction has gone from bad to worse as I spend most of my time hunting down great coffee and travelling across Europe.

Marina Jordaan

Inspiration to become a CA(SA)?

Without a doubt my parents. My father is a CA(SA) who always had inspirational stories of the interesting people and situations you come face to face with in this environment. My mother is a very independent woman with her own dreams and ideas and always inspired me to be as strong as she is.

Preparation for exams?

A strong and diverse study group who really taught me to think out of the box.  With different cultures and backgrounds, we collaborated our thoughts and ideas until there were no more stones left unturned.

What made the stressful time easier?

A lot of support from my husband who helped with anything he could so I could just focus on studying. I really have to thank him for his kindness during this time.

Best piece of advice? Nobody is going to die.

Shalin Naidoo

Inspiration to become a CA(SA)?

I get bored very easily and can’t see myself doing the same thing for an extended period of time. I was drawn to the chartered accountancy profession due to the number of options one has once qualified. I would have the opportunity to change as time goes on.

Role model and why?

Cristiano Ronaldo. His dedication and worth ethic is unparalleled. To quote him: ‘Talent without hard work, is nothing.’

I really cannot thank Deloitte enough for the role they played. The skills and experience that I’ve gained over the past two years are invaluable. A huge thanks to the partners, managers, other trainees and support staff that were there for us. Lastly, their financial support (in terms of APT and APC) should not go unnoticed.

Kyle Triegaardt

Ever felt like giving up?

My lowest point was the first half of honours. It was quite a step up from undergrad and my marks suffered. I wouldn’t say I considered giving up but it was the point where I felt like I couldn’t do it. But thankfully I had a good support structure and with an attitude to rather fail than give up, I succeeded in the end.

Role model and why?

Definitely my parents and grandparents. They are all very hard working, unwavering in tough times and have always put the needs of the family above their own. I hope to be like them.

Hobbies?

Over the last few years I have taught myself to play the electric guitar and I also enjoy riding motorcycles.

Migael Van Schalkwyk

Your favourite quote?

‘With hard work comes great reward.’ I would constantly remind myself of this and focus on where I want to be and what I want to achieve. I also believe that a strong support group will always help you to get through the tough times.

How did you celebrate?

I am a big fan of food so I went to Marble restaurant in Rosebank with my family and later on we played some golf (one of my hobbies).

Role model and why?

Steve Jobs is definitely one of my role models. He cared so much about the little things in order for his company to be different and set it apart from its competitors. I strongly relate to this as caring so much about the little things will set you apart from others in your own unique way.

 

Conrad van Zyl

Future aspirations? 

I am interested in the advisory/transactional sector and will pursue possible long-term secondment opportunities in the US after completion of my articles. In the long term, I would like to return to the education sector and pursue further academic research.

Best piece of advice?

‘It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. Who at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly’ –  Theodore Roosevelt

Role model and why? My grandparents – the heart of their existence always contains kindness, compassion and humanity.

Hendrik Erasmus

I prepared for the exam with my study group. We worked well as a team where everyone contributed, working through the case study and delivering excellent work. Everyone pulled his/her weight, which ensured that our entire group passed the exam.

I celebrated with gratitude with my family and friends over the weekend. I am extremely thankful towards my loved ones and friends who continuously and tirelessly motivate me.

Future aspirations?  

My short-term goal is to learn more about finance and business in the final year of my training contract at Deloitte. I would like to complete an MBA degree in the near future and work at a company where I can be involved both financially and operationally.

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