Accountant

What does a person in this occupation do?

An accountant is a qualified professional who applies accounting, mathematical and analytical skills to solve business, taxation, financial and management problems. Accountants use their numerical, analytical, statistical and management skills to maintain reliable accounting and financial systems and to advise businesses on a variety of financial matters. They are involved in all critical business areas such as accounting, strategic business planning, marketing, information technology and financial management.

Study path:

Requirements for all undergraduate programmes in accounting are set by each of the different universities or private training institutions. As a rule, aspirant students require a National Senior Certificate with Matriculation exemption and English and mathematics. Accounting at Grade 12 level is recommended.

Professional bodies:

Professional body membership is not a legal requirement to practice as an accountant.However, the professional designations listed below are linked to membership of the various professional bodies. Some employers may also require professional body membership.

ACCOUNTANT (NO PROFESSIONAL DESIGNATION)

Accountants plan and provide systems and services relating to the financial dealings oforganisations and individuals, and advises on associated record-keeping and compliance requirements.

Study path:

B degree in Accounting at any South African university or university of technology. National diploma in accounting from any South African university of technology.

CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT

What does a person in this occupation do?

Chartered accountants usually go through various financial documents while noting these transactions for future references. They also use the data for additional responsibilities such as taxation, spending and earning reports. A chartered accountant could also work with the auditor to ensure spending is done according to the law and the organisation’s specifications. Chartered accountants could also create reports that would update the organisation of its financial standing.

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Study path:

Undergraduate: BCom Accounting degree at a university that is accredited by SAICA. Post-graduate: Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) or honours qualifications at a university that is accredited by SAICA.

Workplace experience:

The second part of your path towards becoming a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) CA(SA) entails completing a 3 year learnership programme. This is known as a training contract, and one which a trainee accountant enters into with a registered training office.

Professional examinations:

The final two steps to becoming a CA(SA) are passing two Qualifying Examinations, namely the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) and the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Both of these exams are set and administered by SAICA.

Professional bodies:

South African Institute for Chartered Accountants (SAICA)

CHARTERED CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANT

Chartered Certified Accountants work in all fields of business and finance. Some are engaged in public practice work, others work in the private sector and some are employed by government bodies.

Study path:

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offers the Certified Diploma: Accounting and Finance.

Theoretical training:

Theoretical training can be done through an accredited training institution or through distance education.

Workplace experience:

Learners must complete a three year learnership with an accredited workplace.

Professional examinations:

Professional examinations are set by ACCA. All the prescribed subjects have to be passed.

Professional bodies

Association of Chartered certified accountants (ACCA).

MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT

What does a person in this occupation do?

Management accountants are trusted to guide critical business decisions and drive strong business performance. They combine financial expertise and business acumen to achieve sustainable business success. They understand how the different parts of the business need to come together. A management accountant usually works at providing advice to the management of a company or individual clients on how to interpret financial information to help them make wise financial decisions that will affect the company. The company or individual may have financial goals they want to achieve and therefore need the assistance of a person trained in this branch of accounting. It is a broad field in which there are several different job titles.

Professional designations:

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

A National Senior Certificate with matriculation exemption is required to enter an undergraduate programme. Mathematics and English are compulsory subjects while accounting, economics and business economics at Grade 12 level are recommended subjects. However, there are different routes to professional status.

Undergraduate:

  • BCom (Management Accounting) or BAcc
  • degree(3 years) and Hons BCom (Management Accounting) (1 year) at a university or
  • BTech degree in Management Accounting at a University of Technology or
  • Studying towards the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualifications through a private residential or distance education institution.

Professional qualification:

Qualifying examinations through CIMA.

Work Experience:

Three years’ relevant work experience in an appropriate organisation.

Professional bodies:

Professional body membership is not compulsory for a person to work as a management accountant, but to use the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant you must be a member of the CIMA.

PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT (SA)

Professional Accountant performs a wide range of accounting and tax related services and is regarded as the business advisor to the SME (Small Medium Enterprise) offering tailored advice on business challenges and creating opportunities of business success for their clients.

Study path:

A three-year undergraduate degree in accounting from a South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) accredited university.

Workplace experience:

Learners must complete a three-year learnership with a SAIPA accredited workplace.

Professional examinations:

The SAIPA Professional Evaluation (PE) has to be passed.

Professional bodies:

SAIPA

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