What CAs, AGAs and AATs do?

Last Updated Thursday, November 21, 2013 11:24:50 AM


What CAs, AGAs and AATs do?

What CAs,
AGAs and AATs do?

What CAs, AGAs and AATs do?

It is almost impossible to list all the activities and functions of Chartered Accountants (CAs), Associate General Accountants (AGAs) and Associate Accounting Technicians (AATs). The following list, however, represents a broad spectrum of their most general functions.

Chartered Accountants

In Public Practice

  • Auditing/assurance. Auditors review company systems, financial statements and accounting principles while checking the accuracy of the company's financial records. The auditor is responsible for issuing an opinion on whether or not annual financial statements fairly present a company's results and financial position.
  • Taxation. CAs in public practice advise their clients on how to lawfully minimise their tax liabilities through efficient tax planning. They also submit tax returns, resolve tax problems, advice on tax implications and litigation matters and generally aid clients with their personal financial affairs.
  • Financial Management. Budgeting, cash flow forecasting, business plans and advice regarding corporate structures are all skills that clients expect from their advisors.
  • Management Consultancy. Advising clients on the manageme nt of their businesses, to make them more profitable and effective. CAs often have an intimate business involvement with their smaller clients.
  • Secretarial and Accounting Services. Design and implementation of accounting systems, capturing and recording financial data and assisting clients with compliance with various requirements of the Companies Act.
  • Information Technology. Development of computer information systems to enhance business performance.
  • Management Accounting. Delivering up-to-date information on the status of a company, enabling management to make decisions about the day-to-day running of the business.
  • Corporate Finance. This involves acquisitions and sales of assets on behalf of clients, including negotiations and due diligence work.
  • Forensic Accounting. This specialist area involves investigative accounting where fraudulent accounting may be suspected. It can mean serving as an expert witness if a case goes to court.
  • "Insolvency. If a company is in trouble, its chances of recovery must be assessed. Receivers are involved in selling a company as a going concern, and liquidators in selling off assets to pay creditors. An administrator plans for the organisation's survival through restructuring.

Commerce and Industry

  • Prepare financial statements;
  • Record, monitor and interpret financial results;
  • Devise and install reporting, cost accounting and computer systems;
  • Improve internal and production controls;
  • Develop future plans;
  • Ensure maximum financial effectiveness and efficiency within the organisation; and
  • Perform the role of financial manager or accountant, financial director, treasurer, controller, company secretary, coat and management accountant, tax specialist, internal auditor etc, and be a key member of the top management team.


In the academic world, CAs are in demand as lecturers. As academics, they not only teach but also contribute to the profession through research, and are expected to participate in the development of professional standards. Many academics also act as consultants.

Associate General Accountants

  • Act as accounting officers for Close Corporations;
  • Prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice;
  • Design and operate internal accounting systems;
  • Provide management with information that enables them to plan, monitor and control their business;
  • Assist with tax compilation and planning;
  • Communicate information effectively; and
  • Use computers effectively

Associate Accounting Technicians

Please note that SAICA has created a new joint venture professional body for Accounting technicians. Further details on AAT(SA) can be found here.

  • Record and account for cash transactions;
  • Record and account for credit transactions;
  • Record transactions related to inventory;
  • Record payroll transactions;
  • Input information from source documents into a computer system;
  • Locate and retrieve recorded details of items from a computer system;
  • Generate and print standard reports on a computer system;
  • Draft routine business communications;
  • Record capital transactions;
  • Prepare financial accounts;
  • Prepare VAT returns;
  • Record cost information;
  • Produce spreadsheets for the analysis of numerical information;
  • Draft basic financial statements;
  • Prepare basic taxation computations; and
  • Prepare information for cost analysis and control.
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