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.”
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.