The process of becoming a chartered accountant can be a grueling and challenging part of your life, just ask any chartered accountant out there. Becoming a CA(SA) requires a minimum of four years of studies and three years internship that can be split into six steps:
Admission to university
To get admission to university for charted accountancy requires you to get good marks in mathematics and accounting during your grade 12 school year. This will form the base of your knowledge and, while the actual subject content is not earth-shatteringly useful, the logic and process of thinking are vital. An average of 70% for both these subjects will most likely ensure you get admission to some of the better universities in South Africa.
Enrol at university for a three-year degree towards becoming a CA(SA). Most commonly known as a B.Com Accounting or B.Com Chartered Accountancy degree. During the third and final year of your degree, you will be required to achieve high enough marks to get admission to CTA (Certificate in the Theory of Accounting), which is also your Honours year. This can sometimes be a struggle seeing as you are required to put in long hours while university life happens.
Your CTA year can be done at university or part-time while doing your internship at a SAICA approved training office through UNISA. Some training offices even allow you to complete your degree while completing your internship. This will in some cases require that the trainee do a four-year internship contract and not the normal three-year contract. There are various after-hours part-time support programs to enrol in when doing your CTA and internship together.
Both the degree and CTA are challenging and require a lot of time and effort. Carefully consider whether you will manage to do your studies part-time while working. The pass rate for CTA while working is normally less than 20% per year, however, if you are willing to put in the hard yards, it is attainable.
After successfully completing your CTA at university, you are now required to complete a three-year internship at a SAICA accredited training office. During these three years, SAICA requires you to show competence in certain technical and soft skills. You will also need to spend a minimum number of hours on core work to show competency in the auditing environment.
After completing CTA successfully, you will need to write two board exams and pass both to become a CA(SA). The first board exam is known as the Initial Test of Competence (ITC). You can write this test directly after completing your CTA. The second exam is known as the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). You become eligible to write the APC exam after completing 18 months of your training contract.
After successfully completing all of the above and your training office assessor signs your training contract, you can register at SAICA as a CA (SA). Once approved, you are a chartered accountant.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).