Johannesburg, Friday 31 March 2017 – Listen to South Africa’s ongoing rhetoric and one thing is clear: the need to vigorously pursue radical economic transformation is a foremost concern for all. This is something the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) recognised and started working towards over 15 years ago when it embarked on numerous initiatives to transform the demographics of the CA profession. With emphasis placed on building and accelerating the pipeline of under-represented prospective chartered accountants, these efforts are paying off in terms of both racial and gender inclusion. Today, SAICA is delighted to announce that 60% of the candidates who sat the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) qualifying examination in January are Black (African, Coloured and Indian) and that five of the Top 10 candidates are women.
In January, 2 633 aspiring Chartered Accountants [CAs(SA)] sat for the ITC examination. Today, SAICA revealed that 74% (1 954) of them have passed.
‘While the overall pass rate is in line with the past few years,’ says Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive: Professional Development at SAICA, ‘the highlight for us is the ongoing strides we continue to see in our transformation statistics”.
One of the SAICA’s key strategic focuses is to rally behind the united vision for South Africa’s development as outlined in the South Africa’s National Development Plan: Vision for 2030. To this end, SAICA as a critical role player in society and the economy, has spent the past 15 years undertaking specific projects and actions to facilitate the development of chartered accountants from under-represented sections of the population in order to ensure that there is a sustainable provision of adequately and suitably qualified accounting professionals who are representative of the country’s demographics.
This year’s ITC results show how far the CA(SA) profession has come in this regard.
‘We are extremely pleased to see the ongoing transformation of this year’s ITC exam population. Together with the profession, SAICA has invested a substantial amount of time, effort and funding into creating an ever-growing pipeline of Black students coming through the CA(SA) qualification process,’ explains Olivier. ‘While SAICA recognises that the transformation of the profession still has a long way to go, it is clear that SAICA driven initiatives that assist African and Coloured candidates in qualifying as CAs(SA) are yielding positive results. We are encouraged to see that of the 2 633 aspiring CAs(SA) who sat for the January ITC, 60% of the exam writing population (1 592) were Black. This is a good increase from last year’s January ITC where Black candidates represented 58% of the exam writing population.’
But race is not the only segment of the CA profession that requires transformation. With women making up only 35% of qualified CAs(SA) in the country, gender remains a focus area too. This is why, adds Olivier, ‘SAICA is delighted that half of the ITC Top 10 candidates are female.’ The ITC statistics show that for some years now more than 50% of the exam writing population has been female (2017: 55%).
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