Call for young black Accounting graduates and professionals to apply for career building assistance via the SAIPA-Fasset program
Young black Accounting professionals with at least six years practical experience in finance and accounting - as well as graduates who have completed a three year SAIPA learnership or articles are invited to fast-track their career growth by enrolling by 30 June 2016 for the next phase of Project Achiever, a joint initiative by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) and the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset).
The SAIPA-Fasset joint venture was initiated last year to address the question of transformation in the financial services industry by providing the assistance where it is most needed – among the black professionals. Fasset is one of the 21 Seta’s that have been established by the South African government in terms of the Skills Development Act, in order to helps bridge the skills gap, particularly the gap between having a qualification and building a successful Professional career.
“The biggest challenge facing South Africa today is the skills mismatch and the inability of our education system to produce graduates that can apply their knowledge in order to grow our economy and solve societal problems. To do that, you need to focus on building competence in cognitive skills and Project Achiever does exactly that,” says Prof Rashied Small, the Education, Training and Membership Executive at SAIPA.
Selected candidates will undergo a programme of integrating their knowledge and practical skills and be assisted in their preparation for writing the SAIPA competency-based exam called the Professional Evaluation, which – if passed – will see them being awarded the NQF level 8 designation of Professional Accountant (SA).
The designation is one of the few authorised by SARS to provide services as a tax practitioner. A professional accountant can also perform numerous functions and issue reports in terms of the Companies Act, Close Corporations Act, and Micro lending industry regulations, Sectional Titles Act, Non-Profit Organisations Act, and Schools Act.
“Project Achiever aims to increase the amount of Professional Accountants available as trusted advisors to businesses in South Africa,” says Zobuzwe Ngobese, Marketing and Communication Executive at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA).“The initiative is facilitated by SAIPA and funded by Fasset and we are very happy with results yielded by this partnership thus far.”
The results for the first group that wrote the exam in November 2015 saw 104 of the 129 candidates considered to be competent and successful to enter the profession as Professional Accountant (SA), a 91% pass rate. This group already has the Professional Accountant (SA) designation behind their name and are members of SAIPA. The candidates reported that the Programme developed their personal and pervasive skills, as well as their competencies to perform work functions as Professional Accountants.
“Project Achiever is a good example of competency-based learning that integrates theory and practical challenges in a simplified manner,” says Tania Lee, Director of Projects at Fasset. “In my personal experience projects that have a personal development component as well as the usual professional development component, usually deliver the best results.”
Further feedback from previous Project Achiever candidates indicates that the new generation of professionals appreciates the modern style of guidance offered during the initiative through alternative teaching and training approaches.
“As SAIPA, we are happy to play our part in the transformation of the industry while maintaining a very high standard of quality which ensures that the integrity and sustainability of the profession is intact. We are really making the call to all black professionals that meet the criteria to make use of the opportunity,” concludes Ngobese.
The qualifying criteria includes targeting candidates who meet the academic requirement (completed BCom or equivalent tertiary qualification) as well as the practical requirements: a three year SAIPA Learnership, or six years verifiable working experience in a financial environment – a Recognition of Prior Learning process is available.
Participation by African Black trainees or candidates will be funded by Fasset. Other candidates who are not black are also welcome to participate in Project Achiever at a nominal fee of R3 500.
Applications for this intake will close on 30 June 2016 and candidates will be taken on a first come first served basis.