A revolutionary new training model, designed to develop Chartered Accountants [CAs(SA)] armed with broad-based business skills, is being developed by The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) in consultation with our members.

We have embarked on a journey to propose a new training model for those aspiring to earn the CA(SA) for the new economy.

Our aim is to ensure that the CA(SA) brand responds to the needs of the South African economy, and that the chartered accountancy designation remains relevant and sustainable, with the profession continuing to grow.

At present, prospective CAs(SA) have the option of either qualifying through the Training Inside Public Practice (TIPP) or Training Outside Public Practice (TOPP) route. TIPP offers specialisation in auditing, where the aspirant CA(SA) trains at an accredited accounting and auditing firm, while TOPP offers specialisation in financial management, where the aspirant CA(SA) trains in commerce and industry, or the public sector.

In developing the new training model, the key issues facing the profession have been identified by researching local and international trends, as well as developments in the field of professional development. The research included international chartered accountancy institutes and other organised accountancy bodies.

Key strategic issues impacting on the chartered accountancy profession have been identified. The issues identified were:

  • demand for knowledge and skills occasioned by globalisation;
  • international and local demands for the improvement of corporate governance and ethics;
  • the supply of and demand for trainees;
  • the changing generation gap (generation Y);
  • the demand for more flexibility in the training programme; and
  • the potential impact of corporate law reform on training offices.

After identifying the key issues, a hypothesis was developed to form a working model, which represented an amalgamation of the best aspects of the profession internationally.

The model was then tested on key stakeholders of the profession, among them:

  • the SAICA board;
  • small practitioners;
  • representatives of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA);
  • CAs(SA) who are in academia;
  • senior partners of accounting and auditing firms;
  • representatives of the SETA for Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and other Financial Services (FASSET);
  • the public sector; and
  • TIPP and TOPP training officers.

Also, a number of consultative workshops were held across the country. The model was then refined based on the findings and insights from the consultation process, and a recommended approach was developed for its implementation.

The new model was designed to incorporate the current competencies prescribed for the TOPP and TIPP programmes into one set of comprehensive competencies.

It is intended that the emphasis on auditing will be balanced with other required competencies required by the market and the distinction between TIPP and TOPP will fall away.

The competencies currently prescribed for the SAICA training programme would be redefined with a more equal weighting of auditing with other core technical areas, such as taxation, managerial accounting, financial management and financial accounting.

The new training programme will require the future CA(SA) to have added emphasis in the following business skills and competencies:

  • Corporate governance and ethics
  • Business acumen
  • Information and communication technology
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Organisational and management skills.

The content of the new training model will comprise fundamental and discretional components.

This means that all prospective chartered accountants will have to achieve the fundamental competencies. In addition, there’ll be a range of discretionary competencies to complete the total set of competencies.

The academic and practical experience content will be defined and prescribed by SAICA, which will continue to prescribe and administer the relevant qualifying examinations.

The programme’s undergraduate and postgraduate requirements will remain unchanged, but a revised specialist programme may be introduced to cater for this new route.

The new model will be effective from
01 January 2010. SAICA will, in the meantime:

  • develop the content of the training model based on the new competency framework in conjunction with industry education and training specialists;
  • further consult on the competency framework and training programme content with the stakeholders involved;
  • publish the final structure and content; and
  • review the regulations and other implementation implications before the effective date.

The new model has been approved by the SAICA board in principle and is a basis for further exploration towards better equipping South Africa’s future business leaders with relevant and widespread business skills.

Change is an imperative if CAs(SA) are to become multidisciplinary business professionals. Ultimately, this new model will ensure that the CA(SA) designation sustains its market position of leadership in business.

For more information on the proposed new training model visit www.saica.co.za/trainingmodel or email Adri Kleinhans on adrik@saica.co.za.