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College of Accounting Sciences

Becoming a Chartered Accountant

Becoming a Chartered Accountant is your gateway to a stimulating and exciting career. The CA (SA) designation provides not only excellent career opportunities, but also great earning potential and international mobility. 

How do I become a CA?

The journey towards a CA (SA) professional qualification includes three major steps. These are: (1) obtaining the necessary university qualifications, (2) completing a learnership programme, and (3) completion of two final professional examinations administered by SAICA.

The Open Distance learning model offers you the opportunity to obtain the necessary SAICA-endorsed qualifications through Unisa’s College of Accounting Sciences – even whilst working.  The necessary SAICA-endorsed qualifications are:

  1. Bachelor of Accounting Sciences in Financial Accounting (98302); followed by
  2. Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting Sciences (98231) (first year of the two-year CTA programme); followed by
  3. Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Accounting Sciences (98255) (serving as the second year of the two-year CTA programme, with direct entry to students qualifying for the one-year CTA programme [refer to]. All five modules linked to this qualification must be completed in one academic year to thereby meet the admission requirements of SAICA’s first professional examination as described below.)

The College of Accounting Sciences also offers a bridging diploma (Advanced Diploma in Accounting Sciences [98320 – Stream 1 / CTA]) for candidates who have not completed a SAICA-endorsed BCom degree, who wish to enter the CTA programme.

A learnership programme should be completed with a registered training office, and will range between three and five years, depending on academic progress.

The final two steps on your pathway to becoming a CA(SA) are to pass two Qualifying Examinations, namely the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) and the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). To qualify for entry to the ITC, a candidate must have completed a CTA. To qualify for entry to the APC, a candidate must have passed the ITC, completed a minimum of 20 months of a registered training contract, and successfully completed a professional programme with a registered provider.

What does a Chartered Accountant do?

Chartered Accountants are well represented at senior management level and in the boardrooms of most large South African companies. Chartered Accountants work in all industries and in several business fields. Areas of speciality include:   

  • Accounting and External Reporting;
  • Auditing and Assurance;
  • Management Decision Making and Control;
  • Financial Management;
  • Taxation;
  • Strategy, Risk Management and Governance;
  • Forensic Auditing;
  • Management Consulting;
  • Corporate Finance; and
  • Financial Planning.
Further detail is available from