SAICA Training Offices and Covid-19
We have received many queries relating to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on training offices and the training programme, such as what to do in relation to assessment, providing exposure and tracking core hours, the possibility of extensions or suspensions to contracts and whether SAICA has considered some form of financial relief for training offices.
We hope that the following will provide some assistance at this time.
We are continuing to invoice as normal for all training office-related fees such as training contract registration fees, annual SEF levies and training office visit fees.
However, in an effort to provide cash-flow relief for offices we only expect payment of these invoices at the end of September 2020. If payment by the end of September 2020 still presents a challenge, please contact us so that we can consider alternative payment arrangements.
Please note that this dispensation does not remove the obligation to pay training contract and training office-related fees but we are hoping it will go some way to alleviating cashflow pressure during and after the lockdown.
Please also note that this only extends to invoices raised in 2020. Any debt that is still outstanding from 2019 is not covered by this dispensation.
Other training programme-related queries arising from the lockdown
While we believe that many processes within the training programme can continue, we appreciate that the lockdown is presenting some unique challenges for offices and also that these challenges differ between offices and trainees. For example, your office may have new trainees that require supervision and guidance beyond what you are able to provide remotely so the amount of exposure that can be provided is limited; or perhaps you were expecting to provide an opportunity for a trainee to achieve competence in one last task before they could be signed off and that engagement has been postponed. These queries also give rise to other concerns, for example, what to do if the discharge is delayed, how to reflect these anomalies in the assessment documents or the possibility of late lodgement penalties being charged.
If you have any queries or concerns please raise them with us so that we can discuss the alternatives and find an appropriate solution for your office. Understanding that the best option may differ between offices, we are not making generic proposals in this regard. Please contact us in advance so that we can partner on a way forward and avoid challenges or unintended consequences further down the line.
It should be noted that the Training Regulations may offer some solutions through extensions or suspensions of contracts but these would only be available as remedies in certain circumstances. For example, suspensions only apply for periods of more than two months. Please contact us if you would like to consider your options in terms of the Training Regulations.
Managing through and beyond the lockdown
While there are many queries relating to the lockdown period, there are also concerns about the period following the lockdown. Many offices are experiencing a lull in work with concerns about the pending bottleneck that may arise after the lockdown. Please discuss these concerns with us so that we can work with you to manage the process in relation to the training programme.
As has been indicated previously, we are continuing with training office visits using alternative means and this has been proceeding well. If you are due for a training office visit this later this year and would like to bring your training office visit forward to alleviate some pressure after the lockdown (remembering that you only need to pay later), please contact us so that we can make arrangements accordingly.
The mentorship programme is also continuing at this time. If your office received a high or very high risk rating for the last visit and you have not yet taken up the opportunity of free mentorship or have not completed the 6 hours available to you, please consider engaging in the mentorship programme now.