Which Accounting Designation Is BEST for Me? (Part 3 of 5)


Continuing our series of “Which accounting designation is best for ME?”, we’re taking an in-depth look at how to become a registered Professional Accountant (SA) and at some of the powers/ authorities you’ll be acquitted with after obtaining the designation. SAIPA is a well-recognised institution with over 35 years of experience at delivering the South African market with well trained professional accountants, which are collectively also referred to “general accountants”.

Which Accounting Designation Is BEST for Me? (Part 2 of 5)


So you’re an accounting student, and between all the books, flags and tax regulations you need to get to grips with the various professional accounting bodies out there, each promising you an exciting, yet distinctly different career path. We realise that deciding which stream to follow is a big decision! Therefore, we’d like to take you through the thought-process and help your arrive at an informed choice. This is the second part of our “Career Guidance” series. Before you continue, we suggest you recap what you’ve learnt in part one: “Which Accounting Designation is BEST for ME!?”.

Which Accounting Designation Is BEST for Me? (Part 1 of 5)

Today there are so many differentiated accounting streams you can follow at Universities, Technikons and Colleges, that you’ll most probably be left reeling when considering the breadth of options from which to choose. The distinctions are critically important, however, as your decision today ultimately directs your future career path!

As an Accountant in South Africa, the Professional Institution you register with determines the letters you get to add at the end of your email signature (e.g. Sarah Jones, CA(SA)). The knock-on effects of these few magical letters are far-reaching. Often, for example, it determines the type of interest you tend to attract from recruiters.

The journey to CA(SA)

The road to qualifying as a Chartered Accountant is not as easy as it may seem. To the public who are not in the accounting profession, they may ask themselves: “How hard can it be?” It only entails a three-year B Com degree, an honours (CTA) year, three years of training on the job and two board exams all completed over roughly a seven-year period. However, for those who venture out on this journey to the acclaimed and sought-after CA(SA) designation, we experience this list of requirements quite differently.

How Much Do Trainee’s Earn?

As an accounting trainee, whether its SAICA, SAIPA or CIMA traineeship, the question always beckons “how much should I be earning?”. When you’re young and choosing a career, there’s little doubt that money serves as a motivating factor to some degree. Becoming a chartered accountant has promising future earning prospects, there’s no doubts about that. But before you get to that stage, you need to study, complete your articles and work your way up the ladder.

Is Accountancy in danger of being replaced by AI?

Faced with the claim that AI and robots are poised to replace most of today’s workforce, most mainstream professionals — doctors, lawyers, accountants, and so on — believe they will emerge largely unscathed. During our consulting work and at conferences, we regularly hear practitioners concede that routine work can be taken on by machines, but they maintain that human experts will always be needed for the tricky stuff that calls for judgment, creativity, and empathy.


Accountants can be labelled “conservative” and “boring”. While that may be changing, let’s face it, there are still no cool TV shows about accountants. Sure there are plenty about doctors, lawyers and now even IT guys, but accountants? No. Although the accountant stereotype may be slowly fading, there will always be the old school among us who still believe in the labels.  This is important because when your studies become challenging, you need to remember why all the hard effort is worth it!


Shoe Dog is written by Phil Knight, one of the founders of Nike, who also happens to be an accountant.  Knight completed an MBA and in a course on entrepreneurship he was tasked with coming up with a business idea.  At the time Japan was producing great cameras, TVs and cars – why not look into importing some running shoes from Japan as well?  He presented his idea.  No one in his class got excited but Knight couldn’t let go of his Crazy Idea.