For some years now, SAICA has enjoyed global reciprocity with six Chartered Accountancy bodies and one CPA body. And today, it is a founder member of the Chartered Accountants’ Group of Eight (CAGE), together with:
• Australia (ICCA);
• Canada (CICA);
• England and Wales (ICAEW);
• Hong Kong;
• Ireland (ICAI);
• New Zealand (NZICA); and
• Scotland (ICAS).
While a variety of accounting organisations at various levels may be members of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), membership of CAGE is restricted to institutes whose members are chartered accountants, defined by CAGE as ‘graduate professionals’.
Two years ago, CAGE developed a set of fundamental principles against which to measure existing and prospective member bodies and in 2007 the professional bodies that form CAGE conducted an in-depth peer review against those fundamental principles.
So, whereas the previous association was more of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, the current agreement is far more formal and structured, and, in principle what the comparison against fundamental principles achieves is that CAGE member bodies recognise that they effectively operate at the same standard.
Based on this in-depth review, CAGE member bodies agreed to re-sign formal agreements, which effectively confirm the following arrangements:
• Reciprocity for CAGE member bodies, though not for audit rights, without having to write conversion exams;
• If you are a member of more than one CAGE member body, the member can choose which body’s CPD requirements he/she wishes to comply with – he/she does not need to comply with more than one, bearing in mind that these requirements are generally similar, if not identical.
• The member would register as a member of both bodies, but must retain his/her membership of the home body.
For CAs(SA) temporarily or permanently working outside of this country, SAICA highly recommends that the incumbent applies for membership with the relevant CAGE member body in their host country, while retaining his/her SAICA membership.
One of the most significant benefits of this for SAICA and its members is that there is a lot of sharing at various levels which ensures that, as a professional body, SAICA and its members remain at the forefront of what the other leading professional bodies are doing in respect of, amongst other things, education, training and CPD.
For example, SAICA recently adopted the Canadian competency framework as a base for a South African competency framework. So, instead of having to re-invent the wheel, SAICA has taken advantage of the extensive research that the Canadian Institute has done in this regard.
At the heart of it all, as a founding member of CAGE, SAICA is conveying the message that its members are equal to the best in the world; that the CA(SA) designation is trustworthy, reliable and internationally admired and recognised. Hence the trust and comfort that investors, in particular, and the business sector in general are able to derive from work carried out by a CA(SA).
Mandi Olivier CA(SA), is Project Director – Education, SAICA.