Professional body membership: a progressive way to propel your career to new heights
Author: Karin Jacobson
Around the world, professional bodies exist with the mandate of representing, promoting and enhancing their respective profession.
As the voice for South Africa’s chartered accountants [CAs(SA)], it is the role of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to play this part as it constantly strives to maintain and strengthen the overall status of the accountancy profession and ensure that its members continue to be highly regarded by society at large.
Yet here is the thing most accountants (and aspiring accountants) do not realise. SAICA membership is not reserved for CAs(SA) only.
As the leading accountancy body in the country and one of the most prominent institutes in the global accounting space, SAICA offers three reputable professional accounting and business designations that range from a foundational level to a strategic level of accounting and business competence level. These designations are the Accounting Technician [AT(SA)], Associate General Accountant [AGA(SA)] and CA(SA) – all of which are underpinned by SAICA’s Code of Professional Competence and continuous professional learning (CPL) requirements which ensures that SAICA members and associates demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, discipline and performance.
And this means that from, both a business and personal level, there are many benefits that you enjoy by joining a professional body or hiring an individual who belongs to one.
The value of belonging to a professional body
Regulation: SAICA’s Code of Professional Competence conforms to the Institute International Federation of Accountants’ International Ethics Standards Board. This Code serves to guide the professional credibility and business conduct of all members and associates to ensure that they act with independence, sound judgement, integrity, ethics and maintain high professional standards at all times. Because of this Code, members can also be held to account (and disciplined accordingly) if they are shown to have contravened the Code in any way.
Recognition: If you are a SAICA member or associate, it means that you have qualified through a trusted, well-regulated, rigorous education and assessment process. This means that recruiters and HR managers often feel more confident about your professional qualifications and are more likely to short-list you for an interview. As a recruiter, the benefits of this to your company cannot be overstated.
A commitment to lifelong learning and professional development: Because professional bodies pride themselves on the quality of its members, SAICA helps its members and associates maintain their professional excellence, relevance and skills by giving them access to quality research and training of both a technical and pervasive nature. This ensures members are current and relevant in competencies and skills.
Leadership development: As a member of a professional body like SAICA, you can volunteer towards projects that assist the organisation achieve its strategic priorities. This includes sitting on working committees, sub-committees, task teams and even the board (if you qualify). This gives you a unique chance to develop team work and leadership skills which are vital for your professional development and greatly enrich your CV, especially early into your career.
Career mobility and recognition: Professional bodies open doors for employment and put their members in a privileged position to pursue the most diverse and rewarding career opportunities. SAICA, for example, currently has mutual recognition agreements in place with 14 countries (including the US, UK, Australia, Zambia and more). These agreements mean that members’ CA(SA) designation can be recognised as equivalent to the local designation in that country if they meet certain qualifying criteria.
Networking: Professional bodies give members countless opportunities to network with people within their profession. This is a one of the easiest ways to quickly and greatly expand the reach of your networking – just imagine what could happen in your career if you attend a conference and just happen to sit next the CEO of a major listed company.
So, if you are an accountant looking for a professional home, visit www.saica.co.za to see if you qualify to join as a member or associate to enjoy these and other