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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

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The professional development unit at SAICA is responsible for “delivering competent entry level members” to the profession. As is the case with most of the world around us, we have undergone many changes over the past 12 to 18 months. These changes can be summarised as follows:

• Reflection of the Qualification Process for CAs(SA): SAICA’s Board, and through its various subcommittees, has a policy of ongoing reflection on policies and practices that guide the qualification process of CAs(SA). This process of reflection and evaluation has resulted in significant amendments to the qualification model [education, training and assessment], particularly in the past 15 years. SAICA’s policy of sustained reflection on its qualification model requires not only that there be ongoing focus on aspects of the model but also that, from time to time, the model be reconsidered in its entirety. This is important not only in order to assess whether it is meeting its objectives, but also to ensure that it remains relevant to a business and social environment that is changing rapidly. The SAICA Board, and through its Education Committee (EDCO), which has the primary responsibility for reflecting on the model, is acutely aware that recent years have seen significant change, for example, in the global and regional business and regulatory environments. SAICA Board and the EDCO also recognise that societal change in South Africa has been rapid and is likely to continue to be so.

It was decided that the process be conducted in two phases, the first being a thorough assessment of the competencies with which a new entrant to the profession should be equipped and the second, a reconsideration of the framework of education, training and assessment [Qualification model] that enables acquisition of competencies.

• Adoption of a competency framework: This framework defines the knowledge, skills, values and attributes of entry level CAs(SA). The approach differs from what was done in the past where we identified knowledge requirements for the academic programme and separately identified core experience requirements for the training programme. Adoption of the competency framework means:

• competencies are defined for ONE CA(SA);
• the competency framework is the starting point for the development of the content for both the academic programme and the training programme;
• it is based on competencies the market sees as relevant and necessary for entry level CAs(SA); and
• it defines a CA as “A CA(SA) is a leader with a very specific background in professional accountancy”. This aligns with SAICA’s vision of “developing leaders”.

• Reconsideration of the framework of education, training and assessment [Qualification process] that enables acquisition of competencies: In undertaking the review of the qualification model, it was imperative that the premises that guide the model be identified and evaluated. Factors that influence the model needed to be considered independently of any speculation as to the detail of any amendment to the current model and, indeed, independently of any evaluation of the current structure of the model. This has resulted in the development of a set of Foundational Premises on which the Qualification process should be based.

The second phase of the project was then to identify the implications for each of the Foundational Premises identified and then to suggest changes to the current qualification process (if any).

SAICA is currently in the process of consulting with key stakeholders on the foundational premises together with the implications of change. Key projects resulting from this for implementation in 2013 and 2014 include:
• revision of the Part I exam (assessment of technical competence) – this will focus on the way the assessment is carried out;
• a revised Part II exam (assessment of professional competence) – this is envisaged to be a multi-disciplinary case study; and
• a review of ways in which to improve throughputs on Distance Learning programmes.

• 2010 Training Programme: Concurrently with the review of the qualification process, a separate project was undertaken to review the training programme. The result was the launch of the 2010 Training Programme in 2009, which ultimately gives effect to the adoption of the competency framework within the training programme.

• Guidance to academic programmes on the implementation of the competency framework: At the same time, a group of academics was tasked with developing guidance to support the changes to the competency framework within the academic programmes (three year undergraduate programme and the CTA programme). This guidance will be a living document and will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure that we remain relevant to our market. Much of the focus will be not on the content, but on the teaching and learning approach.

Envisaged timing is as follows:

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

3rd yr B Comm

Period of consolidation & planning for universities

ü1

CTA

ü1

QE I – revised

Work group to look at revisions to the Part I exam

ü revised

Fin Man (Part II)

√ continue to offer in current format

√ continue to offer in current format

√ continue to offer in current format

√ continue to offer in current format

No longer offered

New QE II

Work group to look at revisions to Part II exam – development of a “New Part II”

ü 1st time offered

Implementation of the 2010 Training Programme

ü

1 = changes first implemented to the courses

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