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Unisa online - CEMS well prepared for new SAICA exams

From left: Prof Karin Barac, previous Director of the School of Accounting Sciences(SAS); Prof Christo Cronje, acting Director of SAS; and Ms Mandy Oliver, Senior Executive: Professional Development SAICA

Changes to the two most important examinations in a chartered accountants life, the much feared Qualification Examination (QE) 1 and 2, will affect new students from 2013. Ms Mandy Oliver, Senior Executive:  Professional Development SAICA  (South African Institute for Chartered Accountants), recently explained the changes to staff in the CEMS’ School of Accounting Sciences.

The QE1 examinations of SAICA will now also assess core competencies (as described in the SAICA competency framework) such as strategy, risk management and governance, financial management, auditing and assurance, accounting and external reporting, taxation and management decision making, and control. It will also test pervasive skills, for example, personal attributes such as the ability to communicate, IT skills, ethical behavior and professionalism.

A 30% year mark must be obtained for four year tests (formative assessments), in order to be allowed to sit for the examinations for the Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA). This was introduced in 2011. For 2012 this is a requirement for both CTA levels.

At this stage the QE2 examination will test typical issues encountered in practice and the candidate has to, apart from obtaining evidence in the form of a portfolio, also present his/her findings to a panel of referees. Students sit for the second examination once they have gained some practical experience.

According to Prof Christo Cronje, acting Director of the School of Accounting Sciences(SAS), the school has already restructured its programme qualification mix and the contents of the various modules to cater for SAICA’s new requirements. This means Unisa’s students will be well prepared for the changes.

In terms of the CTA (level 2) programme, special case studies have been developed to prepare students for the changed future SAICA examinations.

CEMS restructured its CTA programme to be two years instead of one from 2012. “It was clear that these part-time students cannot cope with the volume of the SAICA prescribed syllabi. Therefore, CTA levels 1 and 2 were introduced in January 2012”, said Prof Cronje.

The year mark, based on formative assessments, continues to contribute 20% towards a student’s final mark in both CTA levels 1 and 2.

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