According to SAICA’s new CPD policy which came into effect on 1 January 2020, all SAICA members need to complete a CPD declaration annually. In the past, exemptions were granted in respect of the CPD policy, but as has been communicated, there is no process for formally granting exemptions under the new policy.
Given the output-based nature of the policy and the fact that members are required to reflect on their responsibilities and identify areas of development, exemptions have become irrelevant. This means that all members need to complete the declaration, whether they are professionally active or not.
We recognise that many long serving members may in the past have relied on these exemptions, however in light of the recent challenges in the profession, and as one of the steps taken to further restore trust in the profession, we need to ascertain annually the professional status of each member.
Members who indicate they are no longer professionally active on their annual declaration will not be required to demonstrate their commitment to lifelong learning by completing a reflective learning plan.
WHAT DOES PROFESSIONALLY ACTIVE MEAN?
Being professionally active is not only limited to people in audit or practice and is not limited only to the definition in the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct, given that job roles are changing dramatically as people prepare themselves for the future world of work. Where as a member you are in a role that serves the public interest, you are then considered to be professionally active.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are a number of questions to guide you in determining whether you are professionally active or not.
1. I am a stay-at-home mom, am I therefore exempt from the CPD policy? I do not plan on going back to work for a few years.
There are no exemptions granted in the new CPD policy. Lifelong learning encourages members/associates to remain relevant and stay abreast with new industry developments, especially if they are professionally active.
All members/associates must submit an annual declaration. However, as a stay-at-home mom, when you intend to return to work you will at that time need to be professionally competent (as required by the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct) for the role you are in. You are therefore encouraged to undertake some learning that will contribute towards you remaining professionally competent.
2. If I am a retiree, with no professional obligations, but want to remain a SAICA member, can I be exempt from the CPD policy?
Members or associates who are retired or who are no longer professionally active are still required to submit an annual declaration confirming their circumstances (i.e that they are not professionally active). As with stay-at-home moms, SAICA would not expect to see a significant amount of learning and development activities being undertaken (if any). However, should such members/associates be found to have declared their status dishonestly on the annual declaration, they will be referred to the Legal, Compliance and Discipline Department for further action.
3. I’m currently unemployed, however I don’t know what job I might end up in. What specific learning interventions should I undertake?
Even if unemployed, members/associates should continue to reflect on and undertake lifelong learning through relevant learning interventions. This does not need to be in the form of paid-for online courses as there is a wide variety of learning material available for free online and free learning and development activities are also provided by SAICA.
Members who are unemployed should use their best judgement based on the competencies required for their previous role(s) to identify any competence gaps and undertake learning activities to assist them in addressing these gaps. Members/associates should also consider the need for reskilling as employers are looking for a new skill set that is fit for the future. To assist in this regard, SAICA has developed the CA Pathways to Relevance framework which will assist you in identifying the competencies you should develop to ensure you are fit for the future world of work. You can get more information here: https://ca2025.co.za/cpd-home/
4. I have not been professionally active since my retirement in 2001 from my employment as an internal auditor. At present I give financial advice freely to a male voice choir, a golf club and a church by serving on their committees. I do keep in touch with business developments. Am I considered to be professionally active?
Given the fact that you are still performing an advisory role, although without payment, and keeping in touch with business developments, you are considered to be professionally active. You can reflect on your lifelong learning regarding business developments by adding these to your reflective plan.
5. I currently live abroad and have my own registered sole trader business. I am doing the bookkeeping for a few restaurants. Being a bookkeeper does not require me to be a chartered accountant, but obviously my knowledge and title does help to secure more business. However, being a bookkeeper is not listed under the definition of “professionally active” in the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct. Am I then considered to be professionally active when I am a bookkeeper posting invoices and clearing bank items, etc.? My clients all have proper accounting firms who do year-end and the audits, so I do not need to do any of the actual accounting work for them.
You are considered to be professionally active, although your role doesn’t fit into the “professionally active” definition as per the SAICA Code. However, given that you are performing some form of financial work, you need to undertake lifelong learning interventions relevant to your role to ensure you stay up to date with new developments and reflect on these in your reflective plan.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE NOT PROFESSIONALLY ACTIVE
All members/associates will be required to indicate on the annual declaration whether they are professionally active or not. Any member/associate who is professionally active, regardless of the role they are in, is required to undertake the necessary learning and development to remain professionally competent within their particular job role. This means that you are then required to meet the requirements of members as set out in the CPD Policy.