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SAICA NEWS: Ensuring a sustainable profession

In this article we will explore some of SAICA’s initiatives aimed at ensuring the profession’s future sustainability by leveraging off its regional presence.

Transformation and growth including trainees
SAICA’s transformation and growth strategy is implemented throughout South Africa via numerous projects and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of African and coloured students to study and ultimately to qualify as a Chartered Accountant South Africa [CA(SA)]. This strategy is independent of SAICA’s other marketing and growth strategies aimed at increasing the number of CAs(SA).

A specific highlight in the Western Cape over the past 18 months was our collaboration with the University of the Western Cape on a project to develop mutually beneficial academic intervention programmes, projects and activities for a selected group of students within the university’s Department of Accounting. The project is based on the successful Thuthuka Bursary fund principles, ensuring that the students receive both academic and non-academic support.
Following the successful Final Qualifying Exam Part 1 (QE1) Repeat Programme pilot project in Gauteng during 2007 and 2008, a similar intervention that was launched for the first time mid 2009 in Cape Town is fast drawing to a close. Some 43 eligible students that were unsuccessful during the QE1 of 2009 were fortunate enough to be part of an intensive academic support programme aimed at preparing them for the QE1 in January 2010. This included a combination of lectures, tutorials and tests run on Fridays and Saturdays from July 2009, which was facilitated by the University of Cape Town’s Department of Accounting.

In the Central Region, the Free State University was accredited to host 50 Thuthuka Bursary students from 2009. Another 50 first-year students will join in 2010. The North West University, Mafikeng campus, hosted 102 students on a capacity building project financed by provincial government and the Bank SETA. (61 first-year students and 41 second-year students).

In its endeavour to transform and grow the profession further, SAICA has a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging and supporting trainee accountants (young professionals) on their journey to become CAs(SA).

Some of these initiatives include:

• the facilitation of networking opportunities for trainees across the Regions where they are able to meet like-minded individuals from other training offices and also interact with prominent CAs(SA) that are already business leaders;
• the recent formation of the National Trainee Committee, where trainees representing various public and private sector training offices from all the four different Regions across South Africa, viz. Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central, are able to debate and make input to key policies and issues relating to their training, ensuring that the standards of the profession are maintained; and
• the regional offices also assisted in the facilitation, debate and communication of the soon to be launched revised training model, taking input from members and stakeholders from across the different regions.

The programmes, projects and activities detailed above comprise some of SAICA’s projects run throughout the various regions, and are part of its strategy to broaden the pool of academically strong candidates that pursue the CA(SA) profession.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
SAICA’s regional offices have received numerous queries regarding CPD. Earlier this year, SAICA, through its Regional offices, embarked on an intensive educational campaign including a call campaign to assist members with CPD compliance. We found that a common misconception amongst members was that, in order for a session to be regarded as CPD, it had to be a SAICA seminar or workshop. However, soft skills are a business imperative for a CAs(SA)’s continued competency. Such attendance of courses on soft skills also qualifies for CPD. The regional offices are well placed to assist members with, amongst other things CPD queries as well as assistance in the provision of further CPD activities.

External Stakeholder Relationships
Managing the relationships with stakeholders forms an integral part of SAICA’s strategic focus. These relationships are initiated and maintained not only by the SAICA Head Office, but also by each regional office through regular meetings and interaction with:

• SARS Offices
• Master of the High Court
• Provincial Law Societies
• National and Local Government
• Provincial Auditors General
• higher education/universities;
• provincial chambers of commerce & industry;
• regional media, both radio and print; and
• regional service providers
It is important for members to note that SAICA continuously strives to influence the above stakeholders for the benefit of our members.

SAICA’s aim is to improve its value proposition to members continuously, and members are encouraged to contact their local SAICA office for assistance, or any further information with regard to any matters.

SAICA Central Region:
Div Lamprecht – 051 444 3674
SAICA Eastern Region:
Naeem Asvat – 031 266 2672
SAICA Northern Region:
Lebo Sikwebu – 011 621 6872
SAICA Southern Region:
Nasiegh Hamdulay – 021 417 2660
SAICA call centre on 011 621 6600

Please also visit SAICA’s website (www.saica.co.za) for more information on CPD or any matters mentioned earlier in this update.