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Saica revs up compliance declaration for CAs and associates

The new submission requirements are more onerous, and must be done on or before January 31.
There are no exemptions under the new policy, so anyone who meets the definition of ‘professionally active’ will need to knuckle down and complete their declaration. Image: Supplied

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) has revised its annual continuing professional development (CPD) compliance declaration, which must be completed by all chartered accountants and associates who are members of Saica, with effect from January 1 last year. The final deadline for submission is January 31, 2021.

“Members/associates who do not comply with this deadline will be reported to Saica’s Legal and Discipline Department,” according to Saica.

The institute introduced CPD requirements a number of years ago. Members initially had the choice of completing an easy-as-pie declaration that they had fulfilled the CPD requirements, or they could opt to declare the courses they completed as they happened, and retain the proof.

This new submission is more onerous, and will take far longer than Saica’s estimated five minutes – and members who have not kept their contact details up to date will not have received any emails from Saica containing a link to the annual declaration.

The objective of the new CPD policy is to “protect the public interest by ensuring there is a framework within which the members commit to ongoing learning and development throughout their careers, demonstrating the competence required in relation to the specific roles an accountant performs.”

Read:

CPD pathways to compliance

The new CPD policy can be found here.

Members should also acquaint themselves with the 202-page Code of Professional Conduct of Saica (revised 2018), which can be found here.

When completing the compliance declaration, the member will have to affirm that this document has been read.

No exemptions for the professionally active

There are no exemptions under the new CPD policy. If you are ‘professionally active’, knuckle down and complete your declaration.

The definition of ‘professionally active’ is extremely wide, and includes serving as a director on any board (not defined), or being in any advisory role.

A stay-at-home mother who expects to go back to work in a few years will also have to submit an annual declaration.

Those chartered accountants who are comfortably retired, but doing the odd accounting job, even if it’s merely completing their aged parents’ tax return, cannot escape either.

The minimum CPD requirements are:

  • Submit a reflective plan (template available here);
  • Outline your areas of development; and
  • Reflect on your progress

“Reflection is an integral part of the CPD process. It is especially important if you want to get the best results from your CPD activities,” says Saica.

“The planning phase requires you to consider and record your current and future roles and to reflect on the developmental areas that you consider most important for your professional growth and development. Once these areas have been recognised, you will be required to complete CPD activities that fulfil your identified learning needs.”

You may draft your own reflective plan, but Saica provides some guidance as summarised here:

  • Your plan should be unique and reflective of your development needs, and identify specific competencies required for your role, [such as] technical competencies in the value-creation process, self-assessment, undertaking relevant learning interventions, reflecting on the effectiveness of the learning interventions, assessing progress made and so on.
  • If you undertake a learning activity that was not planned, try to link it back to a “specific competence area” (it really does state this – author).
  • A ‘learning intervention’ includes business breakfasts (the author anticipates an increase in business breakfasts, Covid-19 notwithstanding). “Saica no longer requires learning to be measured by the number of hours you completed.”
  • Saica retains the right to identify specific areas of CPD that are compulsory, but has not yet done so. However, your competencies should cover professional values and attitudes (including ethics), enabling competencies, and technical competencies.
  • The reflective plan should be retained for three years. A random sample of members/associates will be selected annually to submit the reflective learning plans to Saica.

Tax practitioners

Tax practitioners must go the extra mile and also comply with the CPD requirements set out by the South African Revenue Service (Sars):

  • A tax practitioner will have to meet both Saica’s and Sars’s CPD requirements.
  • Sars requires a minimum of 15 tax-related CPD hours in a calendar year. Nine hours must be verifiable by Saica (or any other institute), while six hours of tax-related CPD may be non-verifiable.
  • Tax practitioners are required to record these hours and furnish the details to Saica.
  • Records of the tax-related CPD hours must be retained for five years.
  • Tax-related CPD activities “must be captured and submitted in [the] form of an Excel spreadsheet, Word document, PDF, Jpegs or a printout of a member’s log”.

Saica is a registered controlling body (RCB). RCBs must submit to Sars a compliance report of their members who are registered tax practitioners within the prescribed time period.

Evidence of the CPD

The only documentation you need to retain for Saica is the reflective planning form (you may base this on Saica’s template, or design your own). Ensure that it is relevant, and indicates the “level of reflection recorded in your reflective plan”. This reflective plan must be kept for three calendar years.

If you require any assistance in completing your CPD Reflective Plan, you may send an email to newcpdpolicy@saica.co.za.

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Becoming a CA (SA) is one of the hardest , if not the most difficult accounting qualifications in the world.

SAICA has taken this and watered it down by pushing numbers and reach targets , based on shortages.

I know many people that studied to be a CA, just to drop out and do CIMA and their response is almost always the same “auditing” isn’t for me. In reality the response should have been , “I’m just not good enough , or I cannot work hard enough , to obtain this qualification”. I don’t think that’s the case anymore , especially in the last 10 years.

The point is. SAICA must protect the brand , they are stuffing it up royally and further to this the CEO isn’t even a CA .

They get millions of rands in fees , the majority of which goes into developing black CA’s via the thutuka bursary program.

There is a huge need for them to go back to what made a CA, a CA al, invest in members and support them through professional development. And never ever pass anyone that simply doesn’t make the cut.

All that seemed to be missing, and still is, it seems, is the “ETHICS” part of the course.

Paul, your views are uninformed.

Under the new board exam (APC) ethics is a core focus. A “not competent” assessment on the ethics question in the exam results in a straight fail.

This is still a relatively new part of the assessment process. Most CA(SA)’s working in the field qualified decades ago. It will take time for the current batch of professionals to be in a position where they are able to influence the profession as a whole and apply the more recent ethics learnings to their real life scenarios. I for one have seen this play out, it’s often the juniors who raise concerns that are overridden by senior staff. (Read the report on the KPMG auditor concerns as they relate to VBS – you’ll find it was the partner who acted unethically.)

“SAICA has taken this and watered it down by pushing numbers and reach targets , based on shortages.”

Also untrue. Please see the recent pass rates across the SAICA board exams. Not withstanding that those who get to write the board exams have already had to make it through the university system.

The November 2019 APC exam results show that 57% of the total class passed. (or 2024 of 3560 candidates.) This is down from 89% in 2016! (Where 2247 candidates passed.

So on any metric the exams are being judged more harshly. (Absolute number and percentage of those writing.)

I agree that there is a critical shortage of skills in the country, but SAICA isn’t pushing numbers here.

You can’t look at just November 2019.

In my comment I say I the last 10 years.

Go have a look at the number of people that passed In the last 10 years. That’s the issue.

The 89% in 2016 was way too high , but it was trickling up every year for the last decade.

The absolute number in the 2010’s would probably be more than triple vs the 2000s

And I have personally written the exam years ago and worked with some of these new CA’s. The difference is shocking

And another thing.

Candidates can now do a rewrite of the exam in 6 months instead of 12. This also makes it easier for repeat candidates to pass.

You can deny that the quality is going down , it will always be a matter of opinion.

One sure way to know that you are getting better quality is to look at first time passes from university to board exams. CAs that pass everything on the first attempt are probably 1 in 10, so the top 10% of CAs.

No SAICA has indeed watered it down, and you’re looking at the wrong exam. The APC nowaday is one of those case study wishy-washy exams that every candidate EXPECTS to pass at some point. Anyone will tell you real test is the ITC (Board 1 exam), which tests core competencies.

Now, the ITC pass rates for first-time candidates for 2013 – 2020 is almost 80%. Almost 80% pass rate for the definitive exam of a qualification that is supposed to world renowned for its high standards (as another poster below puts it)!!

Either this new generation of examinees are a bunch of absolute geniuses, or the world-renowned high standards have been watered down. Clearly it’s not the first one.

The problem with SAICA is that they are more concerned with demographics than protecting the CA brand. They are lowering the standards just to enable people of colour to pass.

No, this is not some racist conspiracy theory, it is supported by the numbers. For first-time candidates in the January 2020 ITC exam the pass rate was 84% for White candidates, and just 55% for African candidates. If you made that exam a high standards one where for example only 50% of candidates pass, there would be VERY FEW African candidates passing.

And SAICA doesn’t want that as, once again, demographics is apparently more important than standards.

Couldn’t have said this better. The number one priority of SAICA now should be to protect the brand and they are not. They are instead diluting it.

Ja look at Markus jooste excellent for the brand

My understanding is that the CA(SA) qualification WAS world renowned for its very high standards but this is no longer the case. I also notice quite a few folk referring to themselves as former Chartered Accountants.

It appears that profession is , sadly, also in decline and I also notice quite a few folk describing themselves as former Chartered Accountants as they do not want to do the CPE/pay fees etc.

Not quite correct Sam : I am a CA(SA). I have however never practised in the profession ,hence resigned from SAICA decades ago ,as I do not need to use the CA(SA) designation behind my name .I nevertheless remain a CA(SA).
I just cannot use the designation if I sign something .
I prefer to refer to myself as a pre 94 CA when we were together with Scotland the most highly regarded CA,s worldwide.

Good for you, your R8k per year would just have gone straight to a bursary fund where the red carpet is rolled out and no expenses are spared to get a certain demographic to pass at all costs.

It seems a long time ago now, but when I was in professional practice my CPD was client-driven. Most of it was research in response to specific client issues, and resulted in the accumulation of expertise my client base could draw on.

This emphasis on upfront navel-gazing seems to me misdirected, but admittedly the reflective approach is an improvement on the fixed-hours one-size-fits-all demands of some of the (dare I say) lesser accounting bodies.

CA’s are over rated!

Pass the exam ,then comment !!!

… CA’s are clueless about Pure Math and Statistics!

@DX – for a PhD (or Phd as you refer to it) you don’t seem too bright – So allow me to help you, the “A” in CA is for Accountant, not “M” for mathematician or “S” for statistician.

Dont need to. I have a Phd!

We are all absolutely ecstatic for you

Apologies but your all incorrect.

The only fact is, is that industries have changed dramatically and so did the requirements of the course…

And towards the older generation, stop being such d**ks, like you never did anything wrong? Get off your high horse.

End of comments.

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