Praise for SA’s efforts to transform accountancy profession

24 April 2014

The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) has been recognised by the World Bank for its efforts to transform the profession through its Thuthuka bursary programme, as well as for upholding high standards in accounting and financial reporting in South Africa.

The World Bank’s report on South Africa’s regulatory system was commissioned by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Released earlier this year, the report commended the bursary programme as a “world first”.

The report, titled Coverage of Standards and Codes: Accounting and Auditing, said Saica had “taken decisive steps to transform the profession. The black membership of professional accountancy organisations has increased during the past 10 years with the implementation of the Thuthuka programme.

“Universities are actively increasing their number of black students by participating in the Thuthuka initiative, and by allowing entrance into extended programmes for black students who do not fully meet the admission requirements,” the report stated.

Student enrolment

South Africa’s Council on Higher Education, an independent statutory body, reports that from 1994 to 2007, total student enrolment in higher education had grown from 425 000 students to 761 000 students, with the proportion of Africans growing from 43% in 1998 to 67% in 2007.

“The gender and racial demographics for Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) students have changed dramatically over the past nine years,” the report said. “In 2003 the number of female CTA students as a percentage of total enrolment was approximately 28% and increased to 50% in 2011. Black students comprised 25.8% of total CTA enrolment in 2003, compared to 38.8% in 2011.”

A Saica senior executive Chantyl Mulder said, “I am pleased that an independent and credible body such as the World Bank recognise the ground-breaking work that Saica is doing in transforming the profession thus far.”

World Bank representative Patrick Kabuya said: “South Africa has implemented a number of commendable accountancy profession reforms in the past decade that have contributed to strengthening its financial reporting systems. The systems have contributed to the advancement of governance and financial accountability which are critical pillars of enhancing business environment and country competitiveness.”

Accreditation

Saica works closely with its 13 accredited universities and is making progress in accrediting other universities, particularly historically disadvantaged universities, such as Walter Sisulu University and the University of Zululand.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has asked Saica use the Thuthuka Bursary Fund model to target priority professions such as actuarial science, engineering, medicine and education, as part of South Africa’s Human Resources Development plan.

[Saica’s] Thuthuka development model is also set to be exported to other African countries and developing nations, Business Day reported.

SAinfo reporter