Becoming a CA

Last Updated 04 April 2014 12:58:38 PM

Becoming a CA(SA)

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


How do I become a CA(SA)?

Get the right school qualification

You need to take pure Mathematics (not Mathematical Literacy) as a subject. The minimum requirements for university admission are a Level 4 pass in Mathematics together with a National Senior Certificate with matriculation exemption.

A good grounding in English is essential as it will help you to have a better understanding of the concepts you are going to study.

Having Accounting as a subject may help you in your studies towards your degree, but at most universities this is not compulsory.

Ensure that the university you will be attending is accredited by The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Get the right university qualification

  • 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 students

If you will be studying on a part-time basis, you may immediately enter into a training contract with a registered training office. Then 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, such as Auditing or Financial Management, you want to follow.

Remember …

You must work consistently and seek assistance if you experience any challenges with your studies. Always aim to obtain good results all around. Perseverance and effort will help you achieve your end goal.




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) are 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 (or the fourth year, if they have been studying part time).

A CTA is valid for three years, which means you will be eligible to sit for the ITC exam for a period of three consecutive years, starting the year after you obtained your CTA or equivalent qualification. There are two examination opportunities for the ITC per year, namely in January and June of each year, which means a candidate, has 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 again have to complete a professional programme.

During your training it is your responsibility to drive your career. You must utilise every opportunity to learn about the business areas that you training office covers. It is imperative that you also pay careful attention to technical and soft skills training as this will enable you to improve your abilities and execute your tasks/duties more effectively.


Qualifying as a CA(SA)


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

  • Registering as a member with SAICA.

Then you will be allowed to use the CA (SA) designation and become part of a unique group of people who excel in positions throughout the financial world.

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