How to become a Chartered Accountant in SA
Numbers, money, calculators and board meetings. All things a chartered accountant is very much familiar with. If you are interested in chartered accountant jobs on Job Mail, this is the must read post of the day!
A career that is heavy on mathematics at its core, today we discuss everything from the chartered accountant salary and what these professionals do on a daily basis, to how to become a chartered accountant. Keep reading to explore why a career as a chartered accountant may be right for you!
What is a Chartered Accountant and what do they do?
So, what is a chartered account? A chartered accountant manages the financial matter and transactions of a business for both quality control and decision-making purposes.
Chartered accountants manage and evaluate financial documents focusing on each transaction and analysing how the business’ transactions affects the company. Chartered accounts will have to report on the financial status of the organisation as well as consult others on taxation, and financial management to both internal staff and clients. Chartered accountants may sometimes act as internal auditors to investigate the financial matters of the company for good measure.
These professionals are heavily involved in the financial transactions along the entire timeline of a project or decision. CA’s can create company-wide budgets, advise management on a purchase, asset, or merger, can help plan and project for future cost and benefit, and can complete an audit when the deal is through to ensure that all the money is accounted for.
If you enjoy mathematics, like advising others, and enjoy solving problems, building a career as a chartered accountant might just be for you!
Where do chartered accountants work?
Chartered accountants in South Africa can work in a diverse range of places from the private to public sectors. This can range from working internally within a company in an accounting team or being hired by outside companies to help with managing their financial transactions. Within a company, a chartered accountant can work as a member of the accounting team, and with experience, can rise to senior management in financial advisory or management consulting.
Qualified professionals in this field can also work for non-profits or NGOs and government agencies to ensure governance and good business practices.
Flexibility for chartered accountants can be achieved by teaching at a university or through self-employment and starting one’s own accounting firm.
Qualified professionals in the field can find employment in many places throughout South Africa in a wide range of work settings as almost every business will at some point require the services of a chartered accountant. Chartered accounting jobs are more plentiful in major cities, such as in Johannesburg, namely the Sandton area, but also throughout Cape Town, Pretoria, and Durban. Chartered accounting jobs can be found on a variety of platforms but also by contacting individual companies as well.
Fields a chartered accountant can specialise in
Accountants may have to wear multiple hats within a company on any given day. Others choose to specialise in one or more field. Some fields an accountant can work in are:
- General Accounting: This entails keeping track of general financial transactions.
- Auditing and Assurance: This field entails being able to investigate financial statements and answer questions on the state of financial affairs.
- Taxation: Some accountants specialise in taxes and can provide insight on how to abide by tax law and save.
- Forensic Accounting: Accounting for the law in criminal and civil cases.
- Financial Management: Chartered accountants can become top level management and advise on assets and other financial aspects of a company.
How to become a chartered accountant
In order to officially be deemed a chartered accountant, you must be a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), a professional body. If you are wondering how to become a chartered accountant, any professional in this field of accounting must first follow these steps:
For young students, studies in Mathematics (not including Mathematical Literacy) are key. You must meet at least the minimum university requirements of a Level 5 pass. You must then receive a university qualification from an accredited programme.
The programme must be accredited by SAICA and be done at a SAICA accredited university. This programme will take 3 years of full-time study. If you decide to study part time, and you have a matric certificate of mathematics, you may enter into a training contract valid for 5 years.
After receiving your qualification such as a Bachelor of Accounting Sciences or a Bcom you may go on to a post-graduate course for a fourth year in order to receive your Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) or a corresponding accredited qualification offered by your university.
An alternative after full-time study is to enter into a training contract valid for three years which will only be completed upon the successful completion of the CTA programme and CTA exam.
After you have received your degree, passed your CTA exam and leadership training programme, it is time for you to take your two final exams to become a chartered accountant.
The Initial Test of Competence (ITC) which is held twice a year. Your CTA exam results are valid for 3 years so be sure to plan for a test date accordingly. Upon passing the ITC you will then move onto the final exam- the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Once you have passed the APC, celebrate, but do not forget to register with the SAICA to make your status as a chartered accountant official.
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Where can you study in South Africa?
If you want to study to become a chartered accountant, there are plenty of universities accredited by the SAICA in South Africa for you to start your journey towards chartered accountant jobs. Universities such as UNISA offer comprehensive degrees such as the Bachelor in Financial Accounting.
The University of Limpopo offers a Bachelor of Accounting Science and the University of Free State will grant you a Bachelor of Accounting after passing key modules.
If you are transferring between universities ensure that your credits are transferable as many universities have very specific modules that must be completed before you are awarded a degree.
Career Prospects and the Chartered Accountant Salary
The average chartered accountant salary in South Africa is R439,064 per year. Salaries for chartered accountants in senior financial management positions are much higher and tend to remain high in larger companies going as high as R820,000.
The lowest salaries for a chartered accountant are in tax consulting and auditing. Salaries increase proportionally with level of experience.
Job Mail Staff Writer
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