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Professional Accountant (SA)



A Professional Accountant (SA) can perform any accounting function except for auditing/assurance. These functions include but are not limited to:

  • Preparing financial reports in terms of required standards
  • Interpreting financial reports and suggest solutions to problems
  • Assisting with strategy planning and execution
  • Assisting in the formulation of business plans and financial forecasts
  • Helping to control costs through cost accounting
  • Assisting in identifying and managing risks
  • Advising on suitable business structures
  • Performing business or business unit valuations
  • Advising on relevant regulations – Human Resource, safety and environmental
  • Providing strategic Human Resource advice
  • Advising family businesses on financial and succession planning
  • Providing taxation services
  • Performing Independent Reviews
  • Performing BEE for EME: Mentoring and Coaching of Entrepreneurs
  • Other agreed-upon engagements in business and financial services

Pathways to a Professional Accountant (SA)

Standard: To qualify as a Professional Accountant (SA), an individual needs to comply with all the academic, practical and Professional Evaluation (PE) requirements specified below.

Reciprocity agreements: Formal arrangements with leading accounting bodies around the world enable SAIPA members to gain international credentials and allow members of other accounting bodies to gain SAIPA membership. Several professional bodies have partnered with SAIPA on special membership pathway arrangements. SAIPA may also recognise in full or part the programmes of other professional bodies as listed at

Recognition of prior learning (RPL): Candidates who have acquired sufficient technical knowledge and practical competencies can qualify as a Professional Accountant (SA) through a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. The RPL process considers work experience and skills gained before, during or after academic studies, and both formal and informal learning is measured, mediated for recognition, and certified against the SAIPA Competency Framework.

Academic Requirements

Successfully complete 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 or Internal Auditing 2  or Internal Control and Code of Ethics
  • Corporate Law 1 or Commercial Law 2
  • Management Accounting or Financial Management

Practical requirements

  • Complete a three-year learnership at a SAIPA Accredited Training Centre (ATC), or
  • provide evidence of six years of verifiable experience, or
  • provide evidence of a completed training programme (articles) from another professional accounting body accredited by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)

Optional Project Achiever PE assessment preparation

The Project Achiever online learning programme assists aspiring professional accountants by preparing them academically and practically to write the SAIPA PE assessment. The programme consists of a combination of expert instruction, high-quality content, unique practical application and personalised support at every step of the way.

Access to the Project Achiever online learning programme is available twice a year before the PE assessment.

Professional Evaluation assessment

The SAIPA PE assessment is a five-hour written assessment that is conducted online, strictly twice a year, and is part of the admission process for membership to SAIPA. The assessment is a requirement of the International Education Standards (IES), specifically IES 6 – Evaluation Standard, that assesses whether the aspiring professional accountant meets the minimum competence or proficiency levels to be assigned the designation of Professional Accountant (SA).

The assessment evaluates whether learning outcomes were achieved, if the candidate developed the necessary competencies and skills, and if they have embodied the professional and ethical behaviours at the completion of their Initial Professional Development (IPD). The IPD consists of both academic (knowledge and competence) and practical/workplace experience (practical skills). Skills such as reading, communications, critical thinking, analytical skills, problem-solving, and report writing are also critical components of the competencies that will be evaluated during the PE assessment. These competencies are essential to ensure that a Professional Accountant (SA) is equipped to perform the critical work functions at the desired proficiency level expected from employers and clients.

Completing the SAIPA PE assessment is critical to ensure members maintain a standard of quality, integrity and professionalism; it also ensures that the general public has trust in the profession and individuals working in the industry.

Unique benefits

Widely recognized and respected, the Professional Accountancy (SA) designation is your key to a successful career.

Additional optional specialisations available

A Professional Accountant (SA) can also apply for the following:

  • Professional Tax Practitioner (SA)
  • Professional Tax Specialist (SA)
  • Business Advisor (SA) (once-off application fee applicable)
  • Independent Reviewer
  • Business Rescue