Sharp decline in CA candidates in ITC exams

Statistics published by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) show that the number of finance graduates in the Preliminary Test of Competency (ITC) exam – the first of two board exams to be qualified to qualify as a chartered accountant. (CA) In the country – a sharp 24% decline this year.

With 2,946 candidates appearing for the exam in 2021, compared to 3,887 candidates, concerns have been raised about the fall, which falls among the “short supply” in terms of growing global demand for South African-trained accountants with acclaimed CA (SA) qualifications. .

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“The decline in the number of ITC examinees is worrying, especially as it comes amid growing global demand for South African-qualified chartered accountants,” said Graeme Marais, director of the recruitment agency Blue Recruiting.

He noted that the number of candidates appearing for the ITC exams has increased before 2022, 19% in 2020 and 6% in 2021.

“The amount of ITC adoption this year has dropped by almost a quarter, which means the system will create fewer chartered accountants in three or four years,” Marais warns.

“The truth is that the potential number of CAs who will graduate in South Africa in 2025 [will consequently] It is a matter of concern for me and for the market as a whole to see such a large drop in numbers. ”

There are a number of reasons for the decline, said Robert Jawan, executive of Psyche on Learning, Development and National Essentials.

The cause of the fall

He noted that one of the reasons is the need for students to adapt to mixed education at the university during the Covid-19 restrictions during the last two years.

“It is, of course, not limited to students pursuing a CA (SA) designation.”

“The global consensus is that students have been negatively impacted by the challenges of studying from a distance and these effects will be evident in the outcomes of these education and training challenges for next year,” Zwane added.

According to Professor Nico van der Merwe, the outgoing CA program coordinator at Northwest University, the drop could be due to the Covid-19 epidemic and poor matriculation results.

“We have also seen a steady drop in the number of students qualifying for CA reading with the mark of 12th grade math which has been seen in the country for some time. Intake is generally low and it has now spread to postgraduate level, ”he said.

“In my opinion, the main reason for the decline was the impact of emergency distance learning and learning প্রয়োজনীয় which was required by the Covid-19 epidemic and government-related regulations,” Van der Merwe added.

He said universities could not avoid reducing the number of CA candidates.

Strong psychic value

“Psyche maintains a high standard of competence and has not dropped ITC standards or changed the competency structure,” notes Van der Merwe.

“Despite our best efforts, the number of students who could successfully complete the CA University qualification in the emergency distance learning and learning environment was low …”

Marais, meanwhile, reiterated his concern about brain drain from SA’s accounting and auditing industry.

He warned that the growing shortage of CAs locally is increasing due to skilled South African professionals leaving the country to work, especially in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

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“This does not mean that our Sierra are necessarily leaving, although the world, suffering great resignations, now wakes up to the fact that our brilliant South African Sierra can fill a vacancy at a fraction of the price, while they remain in South Africa.” Says

“A large number of CA (SA) professionals are already being hired to work remotely.”

Nandumiso Lehutso is a moneyweb intern.

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