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SAICA NEWS: The 2010 Training Model

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So you hear that SAICA is changing its current training model and already you have pushed the panic button. As a trainee or a university professor you don’t know what this will really mean to you or how it will impact on your goal of becoming a CA(SA). You ask yourself why change a winning formula? Allow me to break it down to you.

The new training model is not a change of the existing model, but rather an improvement of it. SAICAs objective is to retain and cement the pre-eminence of its designation through the entrenchment of leadership as one of the fundamental attributes of a CA(SA). After comprehensive research SAICA found that the current training model is too prescriptive and does not allow for special conditions, thus setting out to use a training model that will accommodate all environments (the public sector, commerce & industry and public practice). The new training model will restore the single route for qualifying as a CA(SA) by removing the distinction between the conventional auditing route namely: training inside public practice (TIPP), and the financial management specialisation route, training outside public practice (TOPP).

The goal is to produce competent professional accountants who make a positive contribution to the profession and society in their lifetime.

The 2010 training model is essential because:

• It provides trainees with an opportunity to integrate and apply their theoretical/academic knowledge in a practical, real-life environment.
• It also creates a platform for trainees to develop a base for technical and practical skills, from which they can build the professional development required for their future careers as CAs(SA).
• It will ensure that prospective CA(SA) in South Africa have an appreciation of the contemporary business environment and are equipped with the skills required to perform a wide variety of roles and activities.

Research also found that the current training programme was going to require changes to meet the various economic demands, and failure to update the training programme would have compromised the international standard of the CA(SA) designation. It could also have impacted on the standing of the local economy. Then the new programme was developed with the following environmental factors in mind:

• The demands of globalization and the need for CAs(SA) to be able to function effectively at a global stage.
• The increased emphasis on corporate governance and ethics, and the need for prospective CAs(SA) to deal with governance issues and ethical dilemmas.
• The potential and anticipated impact of Corporate Law reform on the ability of SAICA training offices to benefit from the employment of SAICA trainees.

Even though the training model has been changed, SAICA remains adamant that the standards of the profession will be maintained, whilst the training increases its focus on professional values, ethics and business insight.

How was the programme established?
In workshops held across the country, training officers requested the following enhancements to be made to the existing SAICA programme:

• a reduction in the emphasis on the prescribed competencies in auditing;
• the introduction of a requirement for trainees to gain exposure to the entrepreneurial and business skills;
• an increased emphasis on the development of trainees’ personal, interpersonal and communication skills; and
• a much greater degree of flexibility in the content and the structure of the training programme.

One of the key outcomes is a model that focuses on seven skills areas:
• Accounting and external reporting;
• Pervasive professional skills;
• Auditing and Assurance;
• Financial management;
• Management and decision-making;
• Internal audit, risk management and governance; and
• Taxation.

The structure of the 2010 Programme allows for the achievement of either the CA(SA) qualification, or the CA(SA) and RA qualifications.

SAICA recognises that, for many training offices, the implementation of the 2010 Programme may represent a challenge. Accordingly, SAICA will be providing training officers with the following resources/assistance:

Information resource on the SAICA website
• For training officers
• Detailed information on the content, implementation and application of the 2010 Programme;
• Details on the prescribed compulsory, elective and residual competencies;
• Information document to be made available to existing trainees;
• Information document to be used in the recruitment of prospective trainees; and
• Revised training regulations.

• For prospective trainees (students)
• Details of the 2010 Programme and its implication for various career paths;
• Information on the selection of a training office; and
• Information on certain applicable sections of the training regulations.

• For existing trainees
• Details of the 2010 Programme and its implications for existing trainees; and
• Information on certain applicable sections of the training regulations.

Assistance with the provision of the prescribed compulsory, elective and residual competencies
SAICA has appointed a research company to conduct Gap Analysis Research. The objective of this project is to establish:
• In which of the prescribed compulsory, elective and residual competencies training offices will be unable to provide on-the-job experience; and
• What types of supplementary training options training offices would prefer, to address the gaps identified above.

Based on the information gathered, SAICA will determine the most efficient and cost-effective solution, to enable training offices to provide their trainees with the prescribed competencies.
The Gap Analysis Research project commenceD in September 2009 and the results will be available in the middle of November 2009.

The impact of the corporate law reform
Many training officers whose firms offer the current TIPP training programme have expressed concern about the potential impact of the anticipated regulations to be issued in accordance with the amended Companies Act.

These training officers are concerned that after the abovementioned regulations have been issued, they will be unable to provide their existing TIPP trainees with the training required to enable them to achieve the prescribed auditing competencies.

SAICA has undertaken to source and provide supplementary practical training in the relevant auditing outcomes, to enable existing TIPP trainees to achieve the prescribed auditing competencies, to enable training officers to discharge those trainees’ contracts.

SAICA will communicate more details in this regard once the Companies Act regulations have been published.

For more information on The 2010 Training Programme, please contact Adri Kleinhans, Project Director: Training, or visit www.accountancysa.org.za or www.saica.co.za.

Footnotes
1 NOTE: The IRBA is in the process of reviewing their qualification requirements. The process described above is therefore subject to change. Both IRBA and SAICA will communicate with SAICA training officers and trainees in this regard in
due course.