SA’s chartered accountant (CA) brand is growing in sub-Saharan Africa and the country’s professional body is working with Zambia and Lesotho to bring these countries into the South African CA examination system.

The move is important to the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) because growth into the rest of Africa would lead to economic growth for the region, said Saica education project director Mandi Olivier last week. Commerce graduates who want to become CAs in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Swaziland already write the Saica- accredited board exams.

The African countries are keen to gain the South African qualification because of its high international standing, and because it is more suited to the particular conditions under which African CAs work, said Saica’s transformation and growth project director Tonia Jackson.

The World Economic Forum’s 2008- 09 Global Competitiveness Report recently ranked SA fourth in the world for auditing and financial reporting standards. The forum ranked SA’s auditing systems as better than those of economic heavyweights such as the US and UK. Hong Kong, Austria and Australia took the top three positions.

Having a Saica-accredited BCom or Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) gives access to Saica’s board examinations, which have to be passed in order to attain the designation of chartered accountant (CA) in SA. Saica is working with universities in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Swaziland so that their postgraduate programmes will meet Saica requirements. This will mean that their students will no longer have to come to a South African university for their postgraduate study, nor will they have to complete the two-year CTA programme, as graduates from universities can do a one-year CTA programme, Olivier said.

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