South African Institute of Chartered Accountants - South African Designations - CPA


A South African Chartered Accountant, or CA(SA), is the equivalent of a United States CPA (Certified Public Accountant). However, the CPA designation also exists in South Africa. This qualification was previously designated CFA (Certified Financial Accountant). South African CPAs perform only accounting and tax work, usually for smaller entities, and may not perform auditing work.

A recent legal battle between SAICA and the CPA governing body: SAICA requested that the CPA designation be changed back to CFA (Certified Financial Accountant) because the "CPA" designation might create confusion to Americans who might believe that CPAs can act as auditors. Using the term CPA is also a contravention of the Audit Profession Act which states that only CAs may use the term "Public Accountant" or "Registered Auditor."

The eventual outcome of this dispute was that the CPA governing body changed its name to SAIPA, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants, and its members designation changed to Professional Accountant (SA) without a corresponding acronym.

The requirements to earn the designation are:

  • Academic: A Degree with a major in financial accounting and with tax, management accounting, auditing and commercial law as subjects.
  • Practical training or experience: at least 3 years under a SAIPA recognised Learnership, or 6 years of relevant verifiable experience.
  • SAIPA Professional Evaluation: This is a three hour examination offered twice yearly covering Financial Accounting, Auditing, Taxation, Commercial Law, Management Accounting and Practice Management.

Read more about this topic:  South African Institute Of Chartered Accountants, South African Designations

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