South Africa needs professionals in the financial sector. This means that if you are studying accountancy, you are sought after in the workplace, but if you are a student, you may feel overwhelmed by the different career options available to you. How do you know what to choose for your future without knowledge about the different types of accountants? This is why we explore one of the accounting avenues that you can choose: Professional Accountant (SA).

What do Professional Accountants (SA) do?
With your keen attention to detail and your analytical mind, you will analyse reports to forecast the future. Among many other tasks, you could be called on to assist with strategic planning, help to control costs, advise on relevant regulations, perform independent reviews, and provide taxation services. If you are one of the lucky few who feels that the aforementioned tasks sound like paradise—or if you are savvy enough to know that you will earn the big bucks with these critical skills, then you may wonder…

What do I need to do to become a Professional Accountant (SA)?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is completed using three pillars: academic requirements, practical experience, and passing SAIPA’s Professional Evaluation exam.

For the academic pillar, you will need to complete matric with:
Accounting; and

You will also need to successfully complete a Bachelor of Commerce degree or equivalent at a SAIPA-accredited tertiary institution with the following required core subjects:

Financial Accounting 3;
Auditing 1 OR Internal Auditing;
Commercial Law;
Finance OR Management Accounting 3.

Your practical requirement is to complete a three-year learnership at a SAIPA Accredited Training Centre (ATC) to gain invaluable work experience.

And this brings us to the third pillar: The Professional Evaluation (PE) exam. The SAIPA PE exam is a four-hour written competency exam to determine your ability to integrate your academic knowledge with your practical experience gained in the workplace. This exam can be taken twice a year, either in May or November, in various venues around South Africa and it is part of the admission process for membership of SAIPA, and obtaining the sought-after designation of Professional Accountant (SA).

Once you are a Professional Accountant (SA) and a member of SAIPA, you have access to exclusive benefits tailor-made for our members. Depending upon the designation you hold, you can perform a number of functions and issue reports in terms of the Companies Act, Close Corporations Act, Micro Lending Industry regulations, Sectional Titles Act, Non-Profit Organisations Act, Schools Act, and be recognised as a Commissioners of Oaths. If you are currently a student, you can still join the SAIPA family. To find out more about our student benefits, visit our Student Member page.