What CAs, AGAs and ATs do?

Last Updated 28 July 2020 12:13:32 PM

It is almost impossible to list all the activities and functions of Chartered Accountants (CAs), Associate General Accountants (AGAs) and Accounting Technicians (ATs). 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Communicate financial information effectively.

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.


Accounting Technicians South Africa

Please note that SAICA has created a new joint venture professional body for Accounting technicians.

What ATs do?

SAICA does not believe that one size fits all. As the foremost recognised institute for business leaders, SAICA now offers three different accountancy and business designations: Chartered Accountants (CAs), Associate General Accountants (AGAs) and Accounting Technicians (ATs). All three designations are underpinned by SAICA’s solid ethical foundation, equipping members with the tools to uphold the highest level of professionalism, discipline, and performance at the relevant business level.

What Is A Role Of An Accounting Technician?

AT(SA) is a practical, work-ready foundational designation. This entry-level accountancy qualification and professional membership offers a solid foundation in accounting, finance, and business practice. AT(SA) is accessible to aspirant accountants who function at foundational business levels.

Accounting Technicians play a key support role in accounting, finance, and business, competently working across all sectors of the economy to improve organisational productivity and efficiency. The qualification enables accounting technicians to occupy diverse roles including senior bookkeeper, debtors’ clerk, creditors’ clerk and junior accountant. AT(SA) provides the professional latitude to execute a wider scope of job content such as:

  • Managing organisational payments
  • Preparing and overseeing ledger balances and other monthly accounts
  • Completing and submitting tax returns, VAT returns and employee contributions
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Assisting with budget planning
  • Supporting with audit preparations

Further details on AT(SA) can be found here.