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Register as an Accredited Training Centre (ATC)

What are the requirements for the Professional Accountant (SA) Designation?

To attain the esteemed Professional Accountant (SA) designation, a prestigious credential in the realms of accounting and business, trainees are required to fulfil relevant practical experience in addition to completing their formal education (accredited BCom Accounting degree) and passing the Professional Evaluations (PE) Examination. In this endeavour, the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset) collaborates with SAIPA to establish the Learnership programme designed for aspiring Professional Accountants (SA).

Benefits of Developing Trainees

The potential advantages of developing learners, also referred to as trainees, under the learnership programme are manifold for employers:

  1. The structured learning regimen of a learnership can aid employers in nurturing a well-trained and dedicated workforce.
  2. Team members undergo training toward a nationally recognized qualification, potentially resulting in more motivated and committed employees.
  3. Employers gain insight into and evaluate learners, providing the opportunity to consider them for permanent employment without any obligation to hire them.
  4. Financial incentives, in the form of tax deductions and SETA grants, can be advantageous.

Accredited Training Centres (ATCs) Commitment to SAIPA

The practical experience requirements outlined in the Learnership Guide constitute a pivotal aspect of acquiring the Professional Accountant (SA) designation. They offer crucial on-the-job training to complement the formal education and Professional Evaluations (PE) Examination undertaken by trainee accountants. Therefore, ATCs must be dedicated to:

  1. Furnishing a suitable and professional training environment for the learners.
  2. Promoting the education and development of future professional accountants.
  3. Upholding and encouraging the maintenance of the highest professional standards among learners and the functions they perform.
  4. Encouraging and actively supporting the concept of lifelong learning among trainees during and after the completion of the training programme.
  5. Upholding the principles and objectives of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and striving to provide learning opportunities leading to nationally recognized qualifications.
  6. Designating an Overall Evaluator (OE) who is a member in good standing of SAIPA, authorized by SAIPA to act as a mentor and evidence facilitator at the ATC. Alternatively, the OE must be a member in good standing of another International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) recognized Professional Accountancy Organization, subject to SAIPA’s approval.
  7. Promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion in alignment with the objectives of SAIPA’s Constitution and By-laws to ensure that the profession evolves by developing and implementing education and training programs that advance racial and gender.

How to Apply for Accredited Training Centre (ATC)

To initiate the application process as an Accredited Training Centre (ATC), please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the application form online by visiting www.saipa.co.za and logging into your MySAIPA profile.
  2. If you don’t have a MySAIPA profile, you can create one by clicking on "new application" and selecting "accreditation – ATC."
  3. Before submitting your application, make sure you have the following documents ready:
    1. Company Registration Documents- CC/PTY/Inc (if Sole Trader, please attach a certified copy of your ID & Company Letterhead)
    2. Latest Tax Clearance Certificate for the ATC
    3. Proof of FASSET or another SETA Registration-Levy or Non-Levy Payer
    4. Proof of registration with the Compensation Commissioner (in terms of Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Act- COID)
    5. Proof of Administration fee payment
    6. The Overall Evaluator and/or Principal member has to be a full practicing member in good standing with SAIPA or another Professional Body

Here’s the process once you’ve submitted your application:

 

  1. SAIPA will verify all submitted documents.
  2. An email will be sent to the applicant, should any documents be outstanding. The applicant will have an opportunity to upload the requested documents.
  3. Failure to submit the requested documents within 3 months from date of receipt of the application, will result in automatic cancellation of the application.
  4. The applicant will need to reapply and pay the non-refundable administration fee again, as well as submit the documents again.
  5. Once all documents have been submitted, the applicant will receive a Self-Evaluation form and an ATC Application checklist – these documents should be completed, prior to the visit. The documents should be submitted via email to the Training Advisor.
  6. Upon receipt of the Self-Evaluation form and an ATC Application checklist, SAIPA will arrange an accreditation visit and generate an accreditation visit invoice, which will be available on the applicant profile for payment.
  7. The assigned assessor will contact the ATC applicant directly, to arrange a suitable date and time for the visit.

Here’s the process on the day of the scheduled visit:

  1. The assigned assessor will visit the applicant offices to conduct a physical accreditation visit.
  2. The listed Principal and/or OE should be available on the date of the visit.
  3. The assigned assessor will verify any documents and physical spaces (as per the checklist and self-evaluation form.

    Here’s the process after the accreditation visit:

    1. SAIPA will review and monitor the report received from the assessor.
    2. The assigned assessor will either approve the ATC accreditation or list recommendations to the application or decline the accreditation.
    3. The ATC will be provided with a 3-month opportunity to address and rectify any findings listed, which delays accreditation.
    4. Accreditation will be processed if all findings (if applicable) have been rectified (subject to moderation and approval.

    Upon achieving accreditation, an Accredited Training Centre (ATC) is entitled to the following:

    1. Access to Working Paper Files on MySAIPA, which are available for download.
    2. Membership status as an ATC.
    3. Receipt of a Digital ATC Certificate, accessible through the ATC’s profile.
    4. Bi-monthly subscription to the SAIPA Journal, “The Accountant.”
    5. Monthly electronic newsletter exclusively for SAIPA members.
    6. Inclusion in the SAIPA roster of accredited ATCs on the website.
    7. The opportunity for the ATC to apply to SARS for a Learnership tax deduction.
    8. Grant disbursements, subject to the ATC’s registration with Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset) as an employer and in compliance with Fasset’s funding regulations. These disbursements are arranged directly with Fasset.

    Here’s the process during the ATC registration process.

    After each Monitoring Site Visit by the SAIPA Assessor, the ATC receives:

    • A composite report on all learners for ATC management purposes
    • An individual report for each trainee for the OE and learner’s records
    • A Feedback Report against the ATC Accreditation Checklist and Evaluation form, detailing areas for improvement and action plans for management.

    Upholding the Highest Professional and Ethical Standards

    To firmly establish and uphold the highest professional and ethical standards at the Accredited Training Centre (ATC), the following requirements must be met:

    1. Prior to receiving approval as an ATC, both Accounting Practices and Corporate applicants must undergo a comprehensive accreditation process. This process is essential to ensure that the quality of development aligns with the necessary “Best Practice” standards.
    2. All ATC applicants will be subject to an assessment of their proposed learning systems. A detailed report stemming from this evaluation will be provided to the applicant as valuable feedback.
    3. Following the approval of the ATC, continuous monitoring and quality assurance of development activities will be diligently maintained by SAIPA Assessors.
    4. ATC quality audits will be conducted through an online desktop review.
    5. SAIPA Assessors will conduct onsite visits at least once annually (upon request of the ATC or initiated by SAIPA) and desktop reviews are conducted virtually during the learnership., utilizing the ATC Monitoring Site Visit Report Tool, particularly during the trainees’ final year.

    ATC Reports

    1. A Feedback Report will be generated for both SAIPA and ATC records.
    2. Further quality checks will be undertaken if and when necessary. In such an event, a feedback report will be generated.
    3. All Quality Assurance procedure records, if required, are subject to Fasset audit.
    4. All administration and reporting to SAIPA is the responsibility of the Overall Evaluator (OE). It is also the responsibility of the OE to ensure that the shortcomings reported in the Report of Findings are corrected immediately, and any required improvements are initiated promptly.
    5. SAIPA provides support and guidance to the OE and the Approved Training Centre (ATC) on an ongoing basis.

    The role of the Overall Evaluator (OE)

    The OE will serve as a mentor and coach to their trainees throughout their three-year Learnership. The responsibilities of the OE include:

    • Creating, maintaining, and annually updating the ATC Masterfile (details provided below).
    • Ensuring that each trainee gains exposure to all the necessary tasks required to demonstrate competence in each of the relevant outcomes listed in the Logbook.
    • Assisting trainees in collecting appropriate evidence for their Logbooks and providing guidance and coaching to address their developmental areas.
    • Organizing and facilitating Monitoring Site Visits. The OE ensures that each trainee, along with their Logbook, is readily available for assessment, and suitable spaces are provided for one-on-one and group interviews.
    • Addressing and rectifying all issues identified during the annual Monitoring Site Visit within the specified time frame and in accordance with the given specifications.
    • Collaborating with the Principal Member of the ATC to identify alternative Learnership employment options should the ATC cease its operations. This responsibility falls on both the OE and the Principal Member of the ATC.

    Responsibilities of the Principal Member (PM):

    The PM, who may be the owner or a representative partner, member, or director of the practice or company, holds a critical role in the training programme. While the PM may or may not serve as the OE of the ATC, they must maintain good standing as a SAIPA or SAICA member. The PM’s key responsibilities encompass:

    1. Supervising the role of the OE and ensuring the punctual payment of all required fees, including Trainee Annual Fees, to SAIPA. Although rare, the PM has the option to recover these costs from the trainee through salary deduction.
    2. Offering assistance in addressing any concerns that the trainee may have regarding the OE.
    3. Providing the necessary resources and creating an environment conducive to the trainee’s professional development and training requirements.

    The Electronic Logbook

    The electronic Logbook plays a crucial role in maintaining the training programme’s focus and efficiency. It clearly outlines the training requirements, thereby streamlining the functioning of the learning programme. Moreover, it ensures that the primary emphasis is on competency.

    A unique aspect of the SAIPA Learning Programme is that the Overall Evaluator (OE), using the electronic Logbook as a roadmap and guideline, personally monitors the learner’s progress at the ATC against the prescribed levels of competency.

    Learners are expected to utilize the electronic Logbook as a tool for identifying the accounting disciplines in which they need to gain experience and exposure.

    The electronic Logbook serves to keep the training programme on track and optimize the timetable to prevent any backlog at the end of the training period. This is a mandatory prerequisite for the learner to be discharged from their on-the-job Learnership and Employment Agreements.

    Furthermore, the electronic Logbook serves as a guide for the learner and should be integrated into the learner’s induction by the OE.

    The electronic Logbook is periodically revised to ensure its relevance to the changing needs of the profession, including updates related to IFRS.

    During Monitoring Site Visits by SAIPA to the ATCs, the electronic Logbook undergoes critical assessment on an ongoing basis.

    By using the electronic Logbook as described above, it becomes a simple, accurate, and equitable foundation for the OE to evaluate the trainee’s progress each semester.

    Due to the routine use of the electronic Logbook, assessments and judgments of competence are made consistently by both the OE and the Assessor within the same parameters.

    Competence measurement is established through the OE’s daily observations and review of the trainee’s work, as well as other witness testimony and work samples that are carefully examined by the OE.

    As a result of feedback provided by the OE to the trainee, a Portfolio of Evidence is compiled, which is thoroughly analyzed during the ATC’s Monitoring Site Visit. This means that each trainee can assess their progress in conjunction with both the Assessor conducting Monitoring Site Visits and the OE, on an ongoing basis.

    The success of the SAIPA outcome-based training programme hinges on the continuous evaluation, feedback, guidance, and counseling of the Trainee Accountant, primarily by the resident OE at the ATC and secondarily by the SAIPA Assessor conducting a site visit.

    The electronic Logbook serves as the comprehensive record of the Trainee’s progress and the framework for evaluation and assessment. Due to its critical role in the Trainee’s journey, it must be securely maintained at all times.

    Should any difficulties or delinquencies arise, it is the responsibility of the OE to intervene immediately upon awareness.

    Additionally, it is an expressed principle of the SAIPA practical component Learnership that any issues or concerns raised by either the ATC or the Trainee will be promptly addressed through the dispute resolution process detailed on the SAIPA website.

    Please note: All evaluation evidence, accompanied by supporting documentation, should be retained in the electronic Logbook. The Trainee’s completion of their Learnership Agreement is contingent on the history created in this portfolio.

    Interruption or Transfer of Learnership Contract

    Transfers

    Transferring to different practices is strongly discouraged due to its potential impact on the trainee’s progress and the inconvenience it may cause to the ATC.

    If a trainee wishes to pursue a transfer, the following steps must be taken:

    1. The trainee should access their MySAIPA profile and submit a transfer request. Along with this request, they must provide a detailed motivation letter outlining the reasons for the transfer and furnish any relevant supporting documents.
    2. A signed letter from the previous ATC confirming the trainee’s intention to leave must also be submitted.
    3. All transfer documents, including the motivation letter, supporting documents, and the letter from the previous ATC, should be submitted to SAIPA at least one month prior to the intended transfer date.
    4. The transfer request and associated documents must receive approval from the Institute before the transfer can be considered and allowed to proceed.

    Accepted Conditions for Transfer:

    1. Relocation of the trainee to a location where commuting to the existing training centre is no longer feasible.
    2. Family relocations.
    3. De-accreditation of the training centre by SAIPA.
    4. Closure of the training office.

    It’s important to note that SAIPA reserves the right to thoroughly investigate all circumstances surrounding a transfer and may impose penalties on either party found to have violated contractual obligations in this regard.

    The transfer process is contingent upon the submission of a completed FASSET Learnership Transfer Form to the SAIPA offices.

    Any transfers made in any other manner will be deemed a breach of contract, resulting in the termination of the contract with no further recognition of the trainee’s achievements by SAIPA.

    Resignations

    Resigning from the Learnership is strongly discouraged. Nonetheless, in exceptional circumstances, a resignation may be considered, provided there is a compelling justification. To initiate the resignation process, the learner must log a request on their MYSAIPA profile, upload a detailed motivation letter for the request. All outstanding fees should be paid, prior to the acceptance of the request.

    Register as a Trainee

    Elevate your career with the prestigious Professional Accountant (SA) designation.

    If you aspire to distinguish yourself in the field of accounting and finance, consider becoming a Professional Accountant (SA). This designation not only propels your career forward but also enables you to make a lasting impact on the future. Attaining the status of a Professional Accountant (SA) is a mark of high professional competence, reflecting your profound and comprehensive knowledge in the realm of accounting and finance.

    Five Key Components of a Successful Learnership

    There are five fundamental components that underpin a successful learnership:

    1. Accumulate Relevant Experience: Over a span of three years, you will gain invaluable experience and evolve into a Professional Accountant (SA).
    2. Supervised Experience: Your experience will be diligently supervised to ensure its appropriateness.
    3. Detailed Electronic Logbook Documentation: You are required to meticulously record and document your progress at regular intervals (at least every quarter of the year) using the electronic Logbook.
    4. Regular Progress Meetings: Maintain a semi-annual dialogue with the Overall Evaluator (OE) to review and discuss your advancement.
    5. Assessment by SAIPA Assessor: Your experience will be evaluated by a SAIPA Assessor.

    The Learnership Guide comprehensively outlines the expectations pertaining to qualifying practical experience, mentorship, rules, reporting, and assessment. It serves as your compass throughout this enriching journey toward becoming a Professional Accountant (SA).

    How to Enrol a Trainee

    To register as a trainee, certain criteria must be met:

    Employment at an Approved Training Centre (ATC): The trainee should secure employment at an Accounting Firm that is registered with SAIPA as an Approved Training Centre (ATC). A list of available learnership positions can be accessed on the SAIPA website. Alternatively, you may directly approach ATCs to explore potential employment opportunities.

    1. Educational Requirements: The trainee must be pursuing or have completed a BCom Degree in Accounting from a recognized university. The degree program should encompass the following core subjects:
      • Financial Accounting 3
      • Taxation 1
      • Auditing 1 or Internal Auditing 2 or Internal Control and Code of Ethics
      • Corporate Law 1 or Commercial Law 2
      • Management Accounting or Financial Management
    2. Learnership Duration: The Learnership spans three (3) years. Upon the completion of this period, along with the fulfilment of academic requirements, trainee accountants must undergo the Professional Evaluation (PE) to qualify for full membership.
    3. Documents for PE Registration: To register for the Professional Evaluation (PE), the following documents are essential:
      • Certified copy of the degree or academic record
      • Certified copy of your ID
      • Employment contract
      • Proof of payment for administration fees
    4. Submission of Learnership Agreement: It’s the responsibility of the ATC to submit the signed learnership agreement to FASSET within thirty (30) days from the agreement’s signing date.

    Ensuring that these criteria are met will set you on the path to becoming a successful trainee accountant.

    SAIPA Services to the ATC

    On accreditation, an ATC receives:

    • Working Paper Files (including CPD information) on CD-Rom.
    • Membership as an ATC
    • ATC Certificate for office display
    • Bi-monthly SAIPA Journal “The Accountant”
    • Monthly Members Electronic Newsletter
    • Inclusion in the SAIPA list of accredited ATC’s
    • The ATC may apply to SARS for a Learnership tax deduction
    • Grant disbursements, where the ATC is registered with Fasset as an employer, in accordance with Fasset funding regulations, arranged directly with Fasset

    In order to ensure that the highest professional and ethical standards are entrenched at the Accredited Training Centre (ATC), SAIPA prescribes that:

    • Prior to approval as an ATC, the Accounting Practice or Corporate applicant must undergo an accreditation process
    • This process is necessary to ensure that the quality of training meets the necessary “Best Practice” standards
    • All ATC applicants are subject to an evaluation of proposed learning systems
    • A report on their evaluation will provide feedback to the applicant
    • After approval of the ATC, on-going monitoring and quality assurance of training activities will be maintained by SAIPA Assessors
    • ATC quality audits will be conducted by Assessors of SAIPA at least once every year against the ATC Monitoring Site Visit Report Tool
    • A Feedback Report will be generated for both SAIPA and ATC records
    • Further quality checks will be undertaken if and when necessary. In such event, a feedback report will be generated

    All Quality Assurance procedure records, if called for, are subject to Fasset audit.

    All Administration and reporting to SAIPA is the responsibility of the Overall Evaluator (OE). It is also the responsibility of the OE to ensure that the shortcomings reported in the Report of Findings are corrected immediately and any improvements required are initiated promptly.

    SAIPA provides support and guidance to the Overall Evaluator and the Approved Training Centre (ATC) on an on-going basis.

    The Overall Evaluator is responsible for the following Administrative functions:

    • Submitting all Registration Forms (ATC & Trainee)
    • Facilitating action plans against Feedback Reports
    • Arranging payment of Trainee and ATC Fees
    • Receiving and sending all Training related correspondence
    • Keeping records of Trainee progress up-to-date, especially the Trainee’s Logbook
    • Submitting a prompt update of database information if Trainee or ATC details change
    • Arranging and hosting Quality Assurance audits, Monitoring and/or Moderation visits by SAIPA Assessors
    • Must, at all times, be a SAIPA member in good standing (SAICA members also recognized)

    The Logbook ensures that the focus of the work is on competency.

    A unique feature of SAIPA Training Programme is that the Overall Evaluator, using the logbook as a roadmap/guideline, personally monitors the progress of the Trainee Accountant at the ATC, against the prescribed levels of competency.

    Trainees are required to use the SAIPA Logbook as a tool to establish accounting disciplines in which they need experience and exposure.

    The Logbook keeps the training programme on target and streamlines the functioning of the timetable so that no backlog exists at the end of the training period; a mandatory prerequisite for the Trainee to be discharged from his on-the-job Learnership and Employment Agreements.

    Furthermore, the Logbook presents a guide for the Trainee and should be employed by the Overall Evaluator in the Trainee’s induction into the Accredited Training Centre (ATC).

    SAIPA revises the Logbook as and when required to ensure that it remains relevant to the changing needs of the profession, including GAAP updates.

    In the process of Monitoring Site Visits by SAIPA to the ATC’s, the Logbook is critically assessed on an on-going basis.

    By utilising the Logbook as described above, it becomes a simple, accurate and fair foundation for the Overall Evaluator to prepare the Trainee’s progress each semester.

    Because of routine use of the Logbook, assessments and judgments of competence are made within the same parameters by both the Overall Evaluator and the Assessor.

    Measurement of Competence is established in by the OE’s observations and perusal of the Trainees work on a day-by-day basis, other witness testimony and work samples that are checked perused and examined by the OE.

    Resulting from feedback by the OE to the Trainee, a Portfolio of Evidence is built up, which is critically analysed when the ATC undergoes a Monitoring Site Visit. This means that each Trainee has an opportunity to assess his progress in conjunction with both the Assessor conducting Monitoring Site Visits as well as the Overall Evaluator, on an ongoing basis.

    The success of SAIPA outcome-based training programme lies in the continuous evaluation, guidance and counselling of the Trainee Accountant by, primarily, the resident Overall Evaluator of the ATC and, secondly, the SAIPA Assessor conducting a site visit.

    The Logbook is the complete record of the Trainee’s progress and the framework for evaluation and assessment. Because it fulfils this critical role in the life of the Trainee, the ATC and SAIPA, this item must be kept in safe-custody at all times.

    If required between evaluations, it is the duty of the OE to intervene immediately he/she becomes aware of any difficulty encountered or delinquency shown by the Trainee.

    In addition, it is an expressed principle of the SAIPA practical component Learnership, that problems or concerns by either the ATC or the Trainee will receive the urgent attention of the SAIPA Accreditation, Compliance and Development Department via the dispute process detailed on the SAIPA website.

    N.B. All evidence of evaluation, with supporting documentation, should be kept in a Portfolio of Evidence, as it is on the basis of the history so created that that Trainee will be signed off from his/ her Learnership Agreement.

    Interruption or Transfer of Learnership Contract

    Transfers

    Transfers to other practices are strongly discouraged due to the impact on the learner progress and the inconvenience caused to the ATC.

    An affidavit from both receiving & transferring Overall Evaluators be received, in conjunction with a completed FASSET Learnership Transfer Document, a transfer will be considered.

    The transfer documents must reach SAIPA at least one month before the move, and must be confirmed as acceptable by the Institute before the move is taken.

    Accepted Conditions of Transfer:

    • Relocation of the trainee to a place from which he cannot readily commute to the existing training centre;
    • Family Relocations;
    • De-accreditation of the training centre by SAIPA;
    • The training office ceases to exist.

    SAIPA reserves the right to investigate all circumstances relating to a transfer, & impose penalties upon either party that has broken contractual obligations in the regard.

    Transfer is subject to the submission of a completed FASSET Learnership Transfer Form, to the SAIPA offices.

    Transfers in any other manner will be regarded as a breach of contract, & the contract will cease to exist with no further Learner achievements being recognised by the Institute.

    Resignations

    Resignations from the Learnership are strongly discouraged. However, under certain circumstance, a resignation will be accepted, with a strong motivation as well as a submitted copy of the FASSET Learner Resignation from Learnership form & a copy of the resignation from the ATC.

    How to become a SAIPA ATC

    To apply as an ATC, complete the application form online at the SAIPA Website by logging into your MYSAIPA profile. If you do not have a profile, create one by registering. Click on new application, select accreditation, ATC.

    We require the following documents with your application:

    • Company Registration Documents- CC/PTY/Inc (if Sole Trader, please attach a certified copy of your ID & Company Letterhead)
    • Latest Tax Clearance Certificate for the ATC
    • Proof of FASSET or other SETA Registration-Levy or Non-Levy Payer
    • Proof of registration with the Compensation Commissioner (in terms of Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Act- COID)
    • Proof of Administration fee payment
    • The Overall Evaluator and/or Principal member has to be a full practicing member in good standing with SAIPA or another Professional Body

    If you are a full member of another professional body, please provide the following with the above documents:

    • Evidence of Overall Evaluator and principal being a member in good standing of his/her chosen Professional Body.
    • Evidence of being registered as a training provider with another Professional Body (if applicable)