High School to Chartered Accountant (ACCA | CA(SA) | CIMA): Which Path?
One of South Africa's best kept secrets in the quest to become a Chartered Accountant is the very limited awareness that there are indeed three Chartered Accountant Qualifications that are registered and recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). These include the 'Chartered Accountant South Africa', CA(SA) (of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, SAICA); the 'Chartered Certified Accountant', CCA (of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, ACCA) and the 'Chartered Global Management Accountant,' CGMA (of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, CIMA).
The ACCA, CA (SA) and CIMA qualifications are all pitched at level 8 of the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF), so there is no dispute that all three broadly share the same level of complexity. For a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each of these qualifications, review our interview with Deon Fredericks on page 14 as well as our article titled 'Are You A Future CFO?' in our prior edition.
THE CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT (ACCA | CA (SA) | CIMA): 3 PATHWAYS TO ATTAINMENT
Depending on whether you study fulltime or part-time, the diagram below (and the subsequent analysis) broadly depicts and compares the path to each of these three coveted finance qualifications.
6 YEARS IS MINIMUM TIME FOR CA (SA) BUT IT CAN BE A LOT SHORTER FOR ACCA AND CIMA
As depicted in the diagram, each qualification requires a combination of 3-4 years of formal education coupled with exams and 3 years of relevant work experience. The CIMA and ACCA pathways allow you to pursue your work experience anytime during the 6 years of studies whereas the CA (SA) pathway allows you to commence this only in year 4. The CA(SA) however, allows a path to commence with your work experience (formal articles) straight out of High School; except that pursuing this path means you will be required to do 5 years of work experience (instead of the 3 years had you commenced your articles in year 4; with your Bachelor Degree in hand).
YOU NEED SPECIFIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADES FOR THE CA (SA) PATHWAY, BUT NOT SO MUCH SO WITH THE ACCA/CIMA PATHWAYS
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