Frequently asked questions

Training contract administration

What are the documents required for me to register my contract on TCMS?

  • Accredited degree, accredited postgraduate degree or an accredited bridging course and an employment contract from an accredited training office, OR;
  • Non accredited degree, employment contract from an accredited office AND proof of registration for a course directly leading to an accredited degree or an accredited bridging programme or an accredited postgraduate programme, OR;
  • Matric certificate, employment contract from an accredited training office, proof of registration for a course directly leading to an accredited degree or an accredited bridging programme or an accredited postgraduate programme.

Can I apply for a training contract if my accredited qualification is listed an "not complete"?
SAICA will only approve your request upon presentation of your official results from your Institute confirming that you have completed all the degree's requirements. Important to remember is that you have 7 months from the commencement date of your contract to finalise your training contract application on TCMS. You can also into either a 5 or 4-year contract while waiting for proof of qualification that confirms that you passed your accredited program, you can apply for academic remission once the proof has been obtained.

Why was my training contract application reverted on TCMS?

  • The employment contract is not signed by the trainees and/or a representative from the training office.
  • The contract start/end date on TCMS differs from the trainee contract.
  • The information on TCMS relating to the contract, achieved/enrolled qualification does not align with the attachments provided.

How do I cancel my training contract?
This should be submitted on TCMS and approved by your training officers.

Why was my contract cancellation request declined?

  • Cancellation date on TCMS differs from your last day of work as per the attached support.
  • The cancellation reason on TCMS differs from the supporting document provided.
  • The reason for cancelling the contract is not valid.
  • No supporting documentation was provided for the cancellation.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

What is RPL?
RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning, this is the process through which the trainee accountant’s prior learning (or work experience) is recognised by reducing the remaining term of the training contract after assessment of the trainee against the prescribed competencies. This is covered in paragraph 18 of the Training regulations.

How much RPL do I qualify for?
To be decided by your new training officer, if the time was previously served under a non-training contract environment then this is limited to a maximum of 12 months. A trainee that has had a previous SAICA training contract, can apply for RPL for a maximum of the full term of the previous training contract.

Will my new training officer grant me the full time spent under my previous training contract as RPL.?
Not necessarily, the officer should assess your competence and determine how much RPL to grant you.

Can I query the RPL that the training officer grants me?
Where the training officer declines the trainee’s application for RPL, or where the trainee disputes the number of months of RPL granted by the training officer, the trainee may appeal to SAICA if, in their view, the training officer has unreasonably withheld his approval or has been unreasonable in the number of months of RPL awarded.

Can I use my payslips from my previous training office as proof for the number of months that should be granted as RPL?
No, RPL is granted based on your competence level. Time spent at your previous training office is not directly linked to your competence.

If I am rated at level 4 for the majority of my competencies when changing offices will this guarantee full RPL?
No, once again the new training officer will have to assess your competence based on the Training office's expected level of competence for a trainee with your experience.

Assessment process and competence

What is an assessment form?
This comprises of the Technical skills review, Professional skills review and Assessment needs analysis.

Is there a limit to the number of TSR/PSRs I can submit in two-month cycle?
No, SAICA requires a minimum of at least one TSR/PSR every two months, however there is no limit to the number of skills reviews that can be completed.

Is my reviewer/evaluator/assessor's rating final or can I query it?
You are allowed to query your rating if you believe the rating was unjustified and not issued correctly. Your training office should have policies on how to deal with such rating differences which would be your first point of reference.

For every competency do I need to be rated at 4 using both advanced and basic ratings in order to be signed off?
No, for your compulsory and elective skills you need to be rated a 4 advanced. For your residual skills you are only required to have a 4 basic rating. Refer further details under the assessment resources.

What happens if I stop submitting my assessment forms before my last ANA?
You would be in contravention of the Training Regulations. Your training officer can cancel your contract if you fail to submit two successive assessment forms.

Once I reach my core hours and required number of months do I still need to submit assessment forms?
Once your assessor signs you off on technical skills then you would not be required to continue submitting evidence, however your Professional conduct values will remain open until your last ANA is signed off and you are ready for discharge.

Academic Progress

What is the academic progress rule?
The satisfactory completion of all or sufficient subjects to enable a trainee accountant to make one further year of progress towards the completion of an accredited degree or accredited bridging programme. The trainee accountant must achieve at least one year of academic progress during any two calendar years. This progress is measured by passing the examinations of the accredited education institution.

If I fail the same academic year twice will my contract automatically get cancelled?
No, your training officer has the option of granting you an additional discretionary year, however this is at their sole discretion. Please refer to Training regulation 21 for more information.

What happens if I do not make academic progress in the discretionary year?
SAICA requires that the training office cancel the contract due to the academic rule progress.

Academic remission

When do I qualify for academic remission?
Under a 4 year or 5 year training contract: upon the successful completion of an accredited degree, an accredited bridging programme, or an accredited
post-graduate qualification,
Under a 3-year training contract: No academic remission available.
Please refer to Training Regulation 16 for further information

Can I apply for academic remission using provisional results from my University?
No, SAICA will only approve academic remission request upon the receipt of official results from the University confirming the qualification.

Academic Recess

What is academic recess?
This is when a trainee accountant who is studying towards an accredited degree or an accredited bridging programme is permitted to take one recess period of a maximum of 12 (twelve) months from their academic studies, at any point in the training contract, with the restriction that only one recess period per contract term is allowed.

Can I apply for academic recess if I simply feel like taking a break for the year?
The permissible grounds for an academic recess are: Financial hardship, severe illness or family responsibilities. If you have a unique situation, then you can apply in writing to SAICA for consideration prior submitting the request on TCMS.

Can I apply for academic remission if my degree is shown as "not complete"?
SAICA will only approve your request upon presentation of your official results from your Institute confirming that you have completed all the degree's requirements. Once you are in possession of official results then you can apply for the remission.

Who approves my academic recess?
Your training officer will either approve or decline the request. You can appeal to SAICA in the event that your request has been declined and if, in your view, the training officer unreasonably withheld their approval.

Where do I apply for academic recess?
You apply on TCMS.

Will the academic recess count towards me not making academic progress in a year?
No, during the academic recess period, you are exempt from the academic progress requirement during the academic recess period.

Can I apply for academic recess more than once during my training contract?
No, you are only allowed one academic recess throughout the duration of your contract.


Can I suspend my training contract verbally and only record the suspension upon my return from suspension?
No, your contract suspension needs to be recorded on TCMS within 30 days of the commencement of the suspension.

Contract extension

If I haven't achieved all my competencies and/or core hours at the end of my contract will my contract automatically be cancelled?
If you have not obtained your required number of core hours, your training officer has an obligation to extend your training contract.
In the event that you have reached the required number of core hours but have not met the competency requirement then your Training officer has the discretion of either cancelling or extending your contract.

Why is my training officer refusing to extend my training contract when I do not have sufficient core hours and/or competencies?
A training office has to extend if core hours not met, but extension is optional where competence has not been achieved.

Contract cancellation

Can my training office refuse to cancel my contract?
No, however please ensure that you if you cancel your contract by Resignation then you need to serve the required notice period as stipulated in your employment contract. Failure to do so will result in your contract being placed on hold and you would have to go through a SAICA disciplinary process before entering into another training contract.

Can I cancel my contract by staying away from work and refusing to return to work?
No, this will result in your training contract being cancelled with the reason being that the trainee absconded, your contract being placed on hold and you would have to go through a SAICA disciplinary process before entering into another training contract.

Can I cancel my contract on TCMS or can it only be cancelled by my training officer?
You can process the cancellation yourself on TCMS once the cancellation has been agreed with your training officer.

What is the cancellation date that needs to be recorded on TCMS for my contract cancellation request?
The cancellation date is your last day of work as a SAICA trainee, this does not always coincide with the day when the cancellation request is processed.


What happens if I have been found guilty of misconduct and dismissed from my current training office? Will it automatically prevent me from entering into a new training contract elsewhere?
Your contract will be placed on hold and you will not be able to enter into another training contract until you are found fit and proper to continue with your contract by SAICA's Professional Conduct Committee.

Applications to waive the cancellation penalty

When do I qualify for a penalty waiver?
When the training contract cancellation is due to unforeseen circumstances which the trainee cannot prevent, such as retrenchment, de-accreditation of their training office, relocation due to circumstances beyond your control, illness, etc. Please refer to Training Regulation 21 for further information.
You must apply in writing to SAICA for the penalty waiver.

Academic trainees

What happens if I am an academic trainee and I fail ITC?
If you fail ITC in the January or June sitting, then you will forfeit the 12 months served under the academic trainee programme. If you wish to discontinue the year of academic traineeship and continue with the year from 1 April at the training office will have the first 3 months of the training contract spent in an accountancy unit recognised as part of their training contract requirements.