Can a SAIPA member become a CA?

How do I become a CA?

The journey towards a CA (SA) professional qualification includes three major steps. These are: (1) obtaining the necessary university qualifications, (2) completing a learnership programme, and (3) completion of two final professional examinations administered by SAICA.

The Open Distance learning model offers you the opportunity to obtain the necessary SAICA-endorsed qualifications through Unisa’s College of Accounting Sciences – even whilst working.  The necessary SAICA-endorsed qualifications are:

  1. Bachelor of Accounting Sciences in Financial Accounting (98302); followed by
  2. Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting Sciences (98231) (first year of the two-year CTA programme); followed by
  3. Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Accounting Sciences (98255) (serving as the second year of the two-year CTA programme, with direct entry to students qualifying for the one-year CTA programme [refer to]. All five modules linked to this qualification must be completed in one academic year to thereby meet the admission requirements of SAICA’s first professional examination as described below.)

The College of Accounting Sciences also offers a bridging diploma (Advanced Diploma in Accounting Sciences [98320 – Stream 1 / CTA]) for candidates who have not completed a SAICA-endorsed BCom degree, who wish to enter the CTA programme.

A learnership programme should be completed with a registered training office, and will range between three and five years, depending on academic progress.

The final two steps on your pathway to becoming a CA(SA) are to pass two Qualifying Examinations, namely the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) and the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). To qualify for entry to the ITC, a candidate must have completed a CTA. To qualify for entry to the APC, a candidate must have passed the ITC, completed a minimum of 20 months of a registered training contract, and successfully completed a professional programme with a registered provider.

What does a Chartered Accountant do?

Chartered Accountants are well represented at senior management level and in the boardrooms of most large South African companies. Chartered Accountants work in all industries and in several business fields. Areas of speciality include:   

  • Accounting and External Reporting;
  • Auditing and Assurance;
  • Management Decision Making and Control;
  • Financial Management;
  • Taxation;
  • Strategy, Risk Management and Governance;
  • Forensic Auditing;
  • Management Consulting;
  • Corporate Finance; and
  • Financial Planning.

Further detail is available from

Becoming a Professional Accountant

Professional Accountants are registered with SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants)in South Africa.

What does a Professional Accountant do?

Some of the services offered by a Professional Accountant are as follows:

  •  A wide range of accounting and tax related services;
  • Business advisors to the SME’s ( Small Medium Enterprise) offering tailored advice on business challenges and creating opportunities of business success for their clients;
  • Estate planning;
  • Secretarial work for companies;
  • Business rescue;
  • Personnel finance (compiling personal budgets, advice on tax insurance and investments); and
  • Forensic consulting (Expertise in the analysis of systems and accounting information).

How do I become a Professional Accountant?

Enrol for the Bachelor of Accounting Sciences degree offered by Unisa.

In addition, the following practical componement must be fulfilled:

Practical supervised training or experience of at least three years at a SAIPA recognised training office;

Six years of relevant verifiable experience;

A completed training programme from another accredited professional accounting body such as SAICA.

Thereafter there is a SAIPA Professional Evaluation which consists of a three hour examination offered twice yearly covering Financial Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Commercial Law, Management Accounting and Practice Management.

For more information, please visit the South African Institute of Professional Accountants’ web site: