SAICA addresses claims of raising the bar to professional entry to "clean up its image"

SAICA addresses negative perception that the low pass rate has created in the eyes of the public.

In an article published by Moneyweb, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) was accused of “raising the bar to professional entry” after the low pass rate of the November 2018 Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) qualifying examination as a way of “cleaning up its image” after the role some of its members played in the latest corporate scandals. 

In response to the article, SAICA senior executive of professional development Mandi Olivier said: 

“A core part of the Saica’s work includes developing and supporting the professional competence of its membership in the face of the increasing changes in the working world through robust education, training and professional assessment processes. Education and training is an essential component in instilling prospective members with a foundation of knowledge, skills and professional values that enables them to continue to learn and adapt to change throughout their professional lives so as to produce competent professional accountants who make a positive contribution to the profession and society in which they work during their lifetimes.”

With regards to the pass rates in the APC, Mandi said the situation was complex and can’t be attributed to one single factor. 

Since releasing the results, SAICA has undertaken a number of initiatives to explore and better understand the challenges faced by the failed 2018 APC candidates in hopes to understand all the underlying factors that could have contributed to the declining pass rate. 

“So far our investigations have shown some interesting trends which we will address with training offices. For example,  the organisation must also look at the depth and breadth of practical experience that candidates have obtained before writing this assessment as, by its very nature, this assessment is designed to assess professional competence. We must also analyse how the changing population of the exam candidates has also been attributed to the lower pass rate as, year-on-year, we are seeing more repeat candidates attempting this assessment shortly after writing the technically and mark based Initial Test of Competence (ITC) assessment which measures a different skill set,” Mandi said.