Becoming a CA

Last Updated Tuesday, January 20, 2015 02:19:47 PM

Becoming a CA(SA)

Becoming a Chartered Accountant CA(SA) is your gateway to a challenging and exciting career, global mobility, flexibility, and good earning potential in the business field of your choice.


How do I become a CA(SA)?

The first part of your path to becoming a CA(SA) is to get the right academic qualifications.

Get the right school qualification

  • The minimum requirements for university admission are a Level 5 pass in Mathematics, together with a National Senior Certificate with matriculation exemption. You need to take pure Mathematics (not Mathematical Literacy) as a subject.
  • A good grounding in English is essential, as it will help you to understand the concepts you will study.
  • Having Accounting as a school subject could help you in your studies towards your degree, but at most universities this is not compulsory.

Get the right university qualification

  • Ensure that the university you will attend is accredited by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
  • Obtain a BCom Accounting degree or an equivalent CA (SA) undergraduate qualification at a SAICA-accredited university.
  • Obtain a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) or equivalent qualification.
  • This is a post-graduate course – your fourth year at university. This course focuses on Accounting, Auditing, Taxation and Financial Management. The course takes a minimum of one year and must also be completed at a SAICA-accredited university.

    Part-time study

    If you will be studying on a part-time basis, you could immediately enter into a training contract with a registered training office. The duration of the contract will then be five years, and you will be expected to study for (and pass) a BCom or equivalent degree.

    Another option is to complete your undergraduate qualification on a full-time basis, and then enter into a four-year training contract at an accredited training office and complete your CTA or equivalent on a part-time basis.

    Full-time students

    Upon completion of your CTA, you are eligible to enter into a three-year training contract with a registered training office. The type of office you choose will be determined by the type of specialisation you want to follow (such as Auditing or Financial Management).

Get the right training




The second part of your path towards becoming a CA (SA) entails completing a learnership programme. This is known as a training contract, and one which a trainee accountant enters into with a registered training office. Click here to find a training office.

Pass SAICA's professional examinations

The final two steps on your pathway to becoming a CA(SA) involve passing two qualifying examinations, namely the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) and the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Both of these exams are set and administered by SAICA.

The Initial Test of Competence (ITC)

To qualify for entry to the ITC, you must have passed the CTA or equivalent CA (SA) exam. This generally means that candidates enter for the ITC during their first year of their training contracts if they studied full time or the fourth year if they have been studying part time.

A CTA is valid for three years. This means candidates will be eligible to sit for the ITC exam for a period of three consecutive years, starting the year after obtaining a CTA or equivalent qualification. There are two examination opportunities per year for the ITC, namely in January and June of each year. This means candidates have a maximum of six attempts at the ITC. 

The Assessment of Professional Competence (APC)

To qualify for entry to the APC, a candidate must have –

  • passed the ITC; and
  • completed a minimum of 20 months of a registered training contract with an accredited training office, by the beginning of the month in which the assessment is written; and
  • successfully completed a professional programme with a registered provider.

The professional programme remains valid for a period of three consecutive years, which means that the APC must be passed within those three years; otherwise you will have to complete a professional programme again.

Registering as a CA(SA)

After completing your learnership and the Qualifying Exams, only one step remains:

Registering as a member with SAICA. You will then be allowed to use the CA(SA) designation and be recognised as having fulfilled all the conditions to be acknowledged as a chartered accountant.

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