Author: Rashied Small, Education, Training and Membership Executive, SAIPA
In a bid to drive transformation in the accountancy profession and reach aspiring professional accountants in outlying areas seeking to write their Professional Evaluation examination, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) has, along with the Sector Education and Training Authority for Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and other Financial Services (FASSET), now taken their Project Achiever programme online.
In the past, only candidates in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban were able to attend the programme, which excluded those living in other cities, and in the outlying areas.
New entrants to the profession are mandated to pass the Professional Evaluation examination - a requirement of their International Education Standards. The exam assesses whether the aspiring professional accountant meets the minimum competence or proficiency level to be assigned the designation of Professional Accountant (SA), which is an NQF level 8 qualification in terms of the National Qualifications Framework.
How it works
Project Achiever Online went live on the 21st of January 2017 and works from Moodle, an open source inter-active learning platform that is designed to create an effective e-Learning environment that allows the candidates who have registered via “distance-learning” to interact with the candidates attending face-to-face session as well as having direct contact with the facilitators.
All material, assignments and assessments are delivered through the online platform, which also afford the candidates a Q & A forum. Additionally, the platform provides for facilitator and learner feedback, tutorials and discussion forums, creating an e-Learning setting that encourages collaboration between teacher and student as well as student to student.
Learners who meet the criteria for funding from the FASSET Project Achiever criteria, can access the e-Learning programme at no extra cost.
How Project Achiever was born
The Professional Evaluation examination can be both an important step in the development of a Professional Accountant (SA) and a potential roadblock for those who are unable to pass the exam.
From here Project Achiever was born, a programme funded by FASSET that assists candidates in successfully completing the examination and becoming designated SAIPA professional accountants. Although the programme was implemented to facilitate the transformation agenda of the profession, in other words particularly aimed at helping newly qualified black accountants, it is open to all candidates.
Project Achiever is a 12-week, competency-based and learner-centered programme that focusses on the holistic development of the young professional.
It is not a content-based programme designed to get people through an examination. Rather it exposes candidates who have completed the professional development and practical experience component of their development to the ‘soft’ skills components required to become ethical and proficient professionals. This enables them to develop into professional accountants able to provide solutions to the issues brought to them by their clients.
Candidates are encouraged to consolidate their knowledge through self-study and research and to apply this to develop practical and implementable solutions to business scenarios and problems in a multi-disciplinary manner through group discussions.
Further, Project Achiever integrates the three developmental components which may have been developed independently or in silos. The focus is not on giving candidates the technical knowledge to pass the professional evaluation – it’s not a preparatory course for the professional evaluation, but a programme to develop the competencies and personality to become a holistic and competent professional accountant.
The introduction of our online version of Project Achiever spreads the net wider, ensuring that no candidate with the potential to succeed is excluded. It is a positive step in the direction of transforming our sector.
For more information on the Project Achiever application and registration process, visit
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