Professional Accountant (SA)

Holders of the SAIPA Professional Accountant (SA) qualification are empowered to perform numerous functions and issue reports in terms of the following pieces of legislation:

  • Companies Act
  • Close Corporations Act
  • Micro Lending Industry Regulations
  • Sectional Titles Act
  • Non-profit Organisations Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Schools Act and various other acts

Unlike the traditional understanding of what an accountant does, which puts emphasis on the preparation of financial statements, a Professional Accountant (SA) is a business consultant/advisor that actively participates in the decision-making processes of a business, and can perform a broad range of functions as follows:

Creator of value

  • Business advisor
  • Organisational manager
  • Business analyst
  • Business consultant
  • Business researcher

Enabler of value

  • Operations manager
  • Management accountant
  • Business manager
  • Financial controller
  • Financial analysts
  • Financial performance manager

Preserver of value

  • Financial accountant
  • Risk manager
  • Business risk consultant
  • Business rescue practitioner
  • Internal audit officer
  • Internal control manager

Reporter of value

  • Financial accountant
  • Accountant
  • Financial manager
  • Management accountant
  • Chief financial officer
  • Business/financial reporter

A Professional Accountant (SA) can offer the following services:

  • Prepare financial reports in terms of required standards.
  • Interpret financial reports and suggest solutions to problems.
  • Assist with strategy planning and execution.
  • Assist in the formulation of business plans and financial forecasts.
  • Help control costs through cost accounting.
  • Assist in identifying and managing risks.
  • Advise on suitable business structures.
  • Perform business or business unit valuations.
  • Advise on relevant regulations – Human Resource, safety and environmental.
  • Provide strategic Human Resource advice.
  • Advise family businesses on financial and succession planning.
  • Provide taxation services.
  • Perform Independent Reviews.
  • Performing BEE for EME: Mentoring and Coaching of Entrepreneurs.
  • Other Agreed upon Engagements in business and financial services.

The Professional Accountant (SA) designation/qualification is NQF Level 8 registered.

It is important to note that a career in professional accounting may require additional practical experience in the various fields of specialisation.

In addition, a member in good standing who holds the Professional Accountant (SA) designation, may make application to qualify for the Professional Tax Practitioner (SA) designation without writing the examination.

How do I qualify to be a Professional Accountant (SA)?

In order to qualify to become a Professional Accountant (SA), you will need to comply with the following academic, practical and Professional Evaluation (PE) requirements of SAIPA:

Academic requirements

Successfully completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree, or equivalent, with the following required core subjects from a SAIPA-accredited tertiary institution:

  • Financial Accounting 3
  • Taxation 1
  • Auditing 1 / Internal Auditing 2 / Internal Control and Code of Ethics
  • Corporate Law 1 / Commercial Law 2
  • Management Accounting

Practical requirements

  • Three year learnership at a SAIPA Accredited Training Centre (ATC) ; or
  • six years of verifiable experience; or
  • a completed training programme from another accredited professional accounting body

Professional Evaluation (PE) exam:

The SAIPA Professional Evaluation is a four-hour written examination to determine your ability to integrate your academic knowledge with your practical experience gained in the workplace. The exam can be taken twice a year, in various venues around South Africa, in either May or November, and is part of the admission process for membership to SAIPA.

What is the SAIPA Professional Evaluation (PE) exam?

The SAIPA Professional Evaluation examination is a requirement of the International Education Standards (IES), specifically IES 6 – Evaluation Standard, which assesses whether the aspiring Professional Accountant meets the minimum competence or proficiency levels to be assigned the qualification/designation as a Professional Accountant (SA).

The SAIPA Professional Evaluation exam evaluates the effectiveness of the learning and development of the competencies and skills of the aspiring Professional Accountant at the completion of his/her Initial Professional Development (IPD) which consist of both an academic (knowledge competence) and practical/workplace experience (practical skills) as well as the professional and ethical behavior. These competencies are essential to ensure that the Professional Accountant (SA) is equipped to perform the critical work functions at the desired proficiency level expected from employers and clients.

Why is it to essential to pass it?

Completing the SAIPA Professional Evaluation exam is critical in ensure the quality, integrity and professionalism of professionals in the sector is maintained – and ensures that the general public has the trust of the profession and the people working in the industry.

What requirements must be met?

The candidate must have completed his/her IPD which is outlined in IES 1 – 5; i.e. have the completed their academic qualification which incorporates the minimum prescribed “subjects” at the desired level (usually a Bachelor’s qualification) as well as the practical and workplace experience where the practical skills and competencies were developed.

What is important is the pervasive of “soft skills” as this is integrated into the competencies required to be a Professional Accountant (SA). Skills such as reading, communications, critical thinking, analytical skills, problem solving and report writing are critical components of the competencies which will be evaluated during the Professional Evaluation exam.