Figures released by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) show that the quantity of finance graduates writing the Preliminary Take a look at of Competency (ITC) examination – the very first of two board exams that will need to be handed in purchase to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in the region – observed a sharp 24% fall this yr.
With 2 946 candidates having the examination as opposed to 3 887 in 2021, considerations have been raised about the drop, which comes amidst a “undersupply” in the wake of increased world wide desire for South African-trained accountants with the acclaimed CA(SA) qualification.
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“The reduction in the selection of ITC examinees is alarming, in particular as it will come in the midst of a increase in worldwide desire for South African-qualified chartered accountants,” states Graeme Marais, director of finance recruitment corporation Blue Recruiting.
He notes that the variety of candidates having the ITC test experienced been on the increase just before 2022, rising by 19% in 2020 and 6% in 2021.
“This year’s ITC ingestion fell by all over a quarter, which usually means the method will be developing much less chartered accountants in 3- or 4-years’ time,” warns Marais.
“The point that the potential number of CAs who will graduate in 2025 in South Africa [will consequently] drop by these types of a significant variety is a stress for me and ought to be for the complete industry.”
Robert Zwane, Saica’s govt in mastering, progress and national imperatives, claims there are various variables that can account for the drop.
Good reasons for the decline
He notes that one particular of these variables is connected to college students needing to adapt to blended learning in college all through Covid-19 restrictions around the previous two several years.
“This, of study course, is not limited to students pursuing CA(SA) designation.”
“The global consensus is that students have been negatively impacted by the difficulties of learning remotely and that these outcomes will be evident in the outcomes of these issues on instruction and training for many years to occur,” provides Zwane.
According to Professor Nico van der Merwe, outgoing CA programme coordinator at the North-West College, the drop could be because of to the Covid-19 pandemic, and inadequate matric arithmetic outcomes.
“We have also viewed a continual fall in students qualifying to examine CA with the poorer grade 12 arithmetic marks the region has seen around some time. Intakes are normally down and this has now spilled over to postgraduate stage,” he says.
“In my belief, the key reason for the fall in figures was the impression of unexpected emergency remote training and learning… that was necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic and government’s connected restrictions,” van der Merwe, even so adds.
He claims the universities could not have avoided the drop in CA applicant figures.
Sturdy Saica specifications
“Saica is protecting a significant conventional of qualification and has not dropped the common of the ITC or improved the competency framework,” notes van der Merwe
“There ended up basically much less pupils that could total the CA university qualification effectively in an emergency remote educating and mastering surroundings, irrespective of our greatest efforts…”
In the meantime, Marais reiterated his fears all-around the mind drain from SA’s accounting and auditing field.
He warns that the raising shortage of CAs regionally is becoming compounded by competent South African professionals leaving the region to work particularly in the United Kingdom and Netherlands.
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“This is not to say that our CAs are always leaving, though… The entire world, suffering from the wonderful resignation, is now waking up to the simple fact that our excellent South African CA’s can fill vacated work opportunities at a fraction of the price tag, when they continue to be in South Africa,” he claims
“A massive variety of CA(SA) experts are presently getting employed to perform remotely,” he notes.
In accordance to Marais, the decline in the country’s CA intake numbers has the likely to hurt the financial system.
“Chartered accountants are the lifeblood of the monetary sector,” he claims.
“A reduction in their numbers could have a significant effects on the sector, and the overall economy in typical. The fact is, having said that, that this anomaly can be rectified in long run yrs by higher intakes, even though preserving the significant CA benchmarks of Saica. The consequences of Covid are non permanent, but we need to have to get the job done on our matric results.”
Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.