Choosing the CA stream

ca

If you are good with numbers and mathematics, pay attention to detail and enjoy business, accounting, CA, may be the perfect choice for you.

According to top Universities, degrees in Accounting “involve learning how to measure, process, analyse and communicate financial information about an organisation to a variety of concerned parties, including investors, creditors, management, regulators and the general public in order to facilitate improvements and adherence to established rules and guidelines.”
This may sound dry, but if you have an interest in the world of commerce, business and finance, this may be the perfect way in.

There are two main routes you can follow at university:

  •  Chartered Accountant

To go this route a 4 year degree is required (either a 3 year Bachelors degree, like Bachelor of Accounting, and an Honours year; or a 4 year degree like BBusSci (ACC) and PGDA, and 3 years of on-the-job work (with exceptions to be discussed in an upcoming article) and 2 sets of board exams set by SAICA.

  • General Accounting

This allows for career opportunities as a General Accountant, Finance Manager, Tax Specialist, Internal Auditor, and more, with certifications, registrations, many possibilities with SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants),  CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and being registered with ACCA (Association of Chartered Accountants).

This can be achieved through various degrees at universities around South Africa.

For the purposes of this article, we will choose to explore the Chartered Accountant route.

Becoming a Chartered Accountant 

School:

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1) You will need to attain a minimum level 5 in mathematics at school, and as always, a good grounding in English is important. Having done Accounting at school is helpful but not an absolute requirement.

University:

2) Ensure you are doing an SAICA (South Africa Institute of Chartered Accountants) accredited course – BCom Acc or equivalent (see below).

3) Then a CTA (Certification Theory of Accounting) or equivalent. This is valid for 3 years.

4) The next part towards becoming a CA entails a learnership training for 3 years ie. on-the-job-work. Find out about choosing the Academic Training (AT) route.

5) Thereafter there are 2 sets of SAICA-set exams:

  • During the 1st year of the Training Contract (learnership) the ITC (Initial Test of Competence) of which there are 2 opportunities per year to write (January and June).
  • The 2nd SAICA Board Exam is the APC (Assessment of Professional Competencies).

6) Finally, after completing the above steps, including your 3-year learnership and exams, you need to register as a member with SAICA after which you will be able to use the CA(SA) behind your name. The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) has tons of information on the CA career path, including a useful Pdf that outlines frequently asked questions about the Academic Training (AT) programme. View the Pdf

For information visit the SAICA website.

CA Accounting Stream Options:

UJ:

Option 1

Undergrad: BAcc  (3 years)

Plus
Honours: BCom Hons (Acc)  (1 year)

Option 2

Undergrad: BCom(Acc)  (3 years)

Bridging Certificate in Theory of Accounting (BCTA)

Plus 

Honours: BCom Hons (Acc)  (1 year)

Read a 3rd-year UJ Accounting student‘s journey, Sicelo Joja.

To find out more information about the University of Johannesburg go here.

North-West: 

This is offered at Mafikeng, Vanderbijlpark and Potch Campus. Vaal Campus Vanderbijlpark recently commenced an extended program for prospective CA students with the correct APS score but Maths Lit only. CTA is offered at Vanderbijlpark and Potch Campus only.

Undergrad: BCom (Acc)  (3 years)

Plus

Honours: BCom Hons (Chartered Acc)  (1 year)

Read about a student’s experience doing the Extended CA programme.

To find out more information about North-West University, visit the institution page.

UCT:

Undergrad:

BBusSci Finance(CA Stream) (4 years)
Or
BCom Fin Acc(CA stream) (3 years)

Plus
Postgrad: PGDA(Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting) (1 year)

For more information about the University of Cape Town go here.

University of Western Cape:

Undergrad: BCom (Acc)   (3 years)

Plus

Honours: BCom Hons (Acc)  (1 year)

For more information about the University of Western Cape go here.

UFS:

Option 1

Undergrad: BAcc  (3 years)

Plus
Honours: BCom Hons (CTA)  (1 year)

Option 2

Undergrad: BComAcc   (3 years)
Honours: BCom Hons   (1 year to bridge into BAcc Hons)

Plus

BAcc Hons   (1 year)

For more information about the University of Free State go here.

UKZN:

Undergrad: BCom (Acc)   (3 years)

Plus

Honours: BCom Hons (Acc)   (1 year)

For more information about the University of KwaZulu-Natal, visit the institution page.

UNISA:

Undergrad:

BCompt (Fin Acc)   (3 years)
Or
BAccSci in Fin Acc   (3 years)

Plus
Postgraduate: PDAS (Postgraduate Diploma of Acc Sci)   (1 year)

For more information about UNISA go here.

Stellenbosch:

Undergrad: BAcc   (3 years)

Plus
Honours: BAcc Hons   (1 year)

For more information about the University of Stellenbosch go here. 

University of Pretoria:

Undergrad: BCom (AccSci)   (3 years)

Plus
Honours: BCom Hons (AccSci)   (1 year)

For more information about the University of Pretoria go here.

Wits:

Undergrad: BAcc Sci   (3 years)

Plus
Honours: HDip Acc   (1 year)

For more information about Wits University go here.

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