Higher Education Institution Accreditation

SAIPA accredits tertiary institution accounting programmes in South Africa to ensure that they meet its educational standards and prepare students for careers in the accounting profession.  SAIPA’s accreditation leads to the Professional Accountant (SA) designation.

Fulltime and distance learning programmes offered by one tertiary institution are also considered to be separate programmes and are accredited separately.

An essential element of accreditation is quality assurance and enhancement. Accreditation of programmes consists of initial accreditation and ongoing monitoring or conditional accreditation. Accredited programmes are offered by tertiary institutions including public and private higher education institutions.

By accrediting a programme, SAIPA certifies that:

  1. A tertiary institution has put in place the appropriate resources that, if utilised effectively, should enable it to deliver the programme at the required standards and levels of quality; and
  2. The programme meets SAIPA’s requirements in terms of the standards of learning, teaching and assessment.

The curriculum of the Bachelor of Commerce or equivalent programme offered by the higher education institution must be aligned to the SAIPA Competency Framework and relevant International Education Standards. Accreditation certifies that a programme contains the requirements necessary to meet SAIPA’s accreditation standards.

SAIPA tertiary institution accreditation process

The SAIPA tertiary institution accreditation process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Pre-application phase: The tertiary institution expresses its interest in seeking SAIPA accreditation and receives information about the accreditation process and requirements. The higher education institution must submit to SAIPA the required documents before the accreditation visit and after the submission of an online application.
  2. Onsite-assessment phase: SAIPA conducts a site visit to the higher education institution. The higher education institution must (a) make available the documents relating to the programme material including the curriculum, assessments and learning material used for lectures, a description of the teaching and learning methodology applied etc. (b) demonstrate the required physical and/or virtual resources to ensure a high-quality learning experience (c) provide evidence of compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 (1993 and make available key policies and processes relating to storage and security of examination papers, scripts and other assessment instruments; curriculum development; learning material design and development; catering for students with special needs and/or other barriers to learning; learner records management; student appeals ; and staff development, performance measurement and growth.
  3. Evaluation and Recommendation phase: Findings from the site visit are communicated to the applicant institution on evaluation of their submission, or within the feedback report following the site. A timeframe is provided for remediation of the findings. SAIPA may, upon evaluation of the applicant institution’s submission, or following a site visit, issue recommendations in terms of best practice to ensure continuous improvement of the institution’s offering.
  4. Accreditation decision: Based on the evaluation, SAIPA decides on the accreditation of the higher institution’s accounting programme. SAIPA may award any of the following accreditation statuses:

Accreditation status

Is the institution accredited?

4.1 Full Accreditation Yes – the institution is fully accredited. Full accreditation is valid for a 5-year cycle. A site visit (online and/or physical) is required before re-accreditation. An accreditation certificate is issued with the date of accreditation, qualification name and expiry date
4.2 Accreditation with Condition Yes – but the institution is limited by the stated condition(s).
4.3 Provisional Accreditation No
4.4 Withheld Accreditation No – but the institution may lodge an appeal as per SAIPA’s bylaws.
4.5 Deferred Accreditation Yes
4.6 Probation Yes
4.7 Revoked Accreditation No – as of the date of the letter informing the institution of the Revoked Accreditation status, the institution is no longer accredited; it may lodge an appeal, but it is not accredited during the appeals process.

Graduates from non-accredited institutions must submit the programmes for evaluation against the Competency Framework.

Accredited Higher Education Institutions


The higher education institutions have been accredited to deliver the Professional Accountant (SA) designation. Click here to view the list of accredited higher education institutions! Email queries to education@saipa.co.za


Students enrolled in these accredited programmes must complete the following steps to gain the Professional Accountant (SA) designation:

  1. Successfully complete your Accredited Higher Education BCom programme
  2. Successfully complete your learnership at a SAIPA Accredited Training Office
  3. Successfully complete the Professional Evaluation Assessment . Optional: Enrol for the Project Achiever programme to prepare yourself for the Professional Evolutions Assessment
  4. Prepare the required documents before application for membership and apply online