The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) recently announced its latest Project Achiever Extended Programme, which runs from 11 November 2017 to 28 April 2018. The initiative is designed to prepare candidates for the SAIPA Professional Evaluation exam, allowing them to become a Professional Accountant (SA).
The course builds on the success of the Institute’s original Project Achiever programme, but strives to make SAIPA’s professional designation accessible to a wider set of applicants. “We acknowledged that a large number of students study accounting through universities of technology,” reports Professor Rashied Small, Executive: Education and-, Training for SAIPA. “By opening up this opportunity to them, we can bolster the accounting ranks in South Africa.”
The Extended Programme improves on Project Achiever in a number of ways. The entry requirements for the latter included an NQF Level 7 degree, as well as three years of learnership or 6 years of work experience or completion of a training programme with another accredited professional accounting body. The new requirements remain the same except that candidates only need an NQF Level 6 diploma. However, they must pass an entry assessment to prove their ability to meet SAIPA’s high standard of competency.
The new programme is also longer, held over five months instead of three like its predecessor, and focuses more on soft skills development, like planning, time management, reading, critical thinking, reporting and analysis, in addition to the usual technical abilities.
Like Project Achiever, candidates of black African descent, or coloured African descent from the Western and Northern Cape regions only, are fully funded by FASSET (Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority). Other applicants may attend the course at a cost of R4000. Professor Small notes that SAIPA is the first professional body to offer such a programme in the Northern Cape, with 100 people from that area attending. “Of the 490 attendees, about 400 are fully funded, so it bodes well for our empowerment goals,” he says.
“We found that Extended Programme attendees fared far better in their Professional Evaluation exams than those who did not participate or even Project Achiever graduates,” observes Small. He attributes their success to the greater focus on soft skills and the longer time they had to develop them in combination with technical competencies.
Of the total number of 680 candidate who wrote the November 2017 Professional Evaluation assessment 561 were classified as being competent. 210 of the total number of candidates who wrote 201 were Project Achiever attendees with a pass rate of 83% and 250 were Extended Programme attendees with a pass rate of 90%. The pass rate for non-attendees was around 77%.
The top 10 scoring candidates comprised four from the Extended Programme and two from Project Achiever.
SAIPA’s Project Achiever Extended Programme was developed to make a career in accounting more accessible to a greater number of people while maintaining the quality and standards of the qualification and designation, and offer a better chance of passing the Professional Evaluation exam the first time. “And, thanks to our partnership with FASSET,” concludes Small, “SAIPA can contribute positively to the transformation agenda for the industry.”
November Professional Evaluation results
The November PE exam, which was written by 680 qualifying applicants, yielded 561 new professional accountants.
Two of the top 10 candidates were from the Project Achiever initiative and four from the Project Achiever Extended Programme.
The top ten candidates for this examination were:
Ranking Name Region
1 Singh Ashrika Durban
2 Snyman Riette Midrand
3 Steyn Lente Bloemfontein
4 Boshoff Christelle Midrand
5 Skosana Mehluli Qaba Midrand
6 Wayiza Nomakorinte Durban
7 Oleastro Maria Midrand
8 Snyders Tracey-Lee Upington
9 Nieuwenhuizen Alana Bloemfontein
10 Bux Ridhwana Durban
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