ACCA Qualification Requirements In South Africa

The primary purpose of the ACCA qualification is to prepare learners to practice as professional accountants within any sector of the economy – public practice, industry, commerce or the public sector, either within South Africa or in other countries around the world. Finance professionals are in demand throughout the world including South Africa. ACCA provides the opportunity to people of ability to access careers in accounting, business and finance both for their own benefit and for the economy as a whole. The rationale for ACCA’s qualification is to contribute to representivity in society around the world not least in South Africa.

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The purpose of the ACCA syllabus is to provide the learner with the knowledge and understanding needed to underpin the professional accountant’s role. The structure of the syllabus has been designed to assist learning and understanding and to ensure that learners develop an appreciation of the development and interdependence of subjects.

The qualification encourages a lifelong approach to learning thus ensuring that learners are able to cope with individual and social transformation.

ACCA consults widely on particularly important issues, for example:

  • The new ACCA Qualification was developed following global consultation with some 30,000 members, students and influencers in the profession, who were asked for their views on the skills and competences required of 21st century accountants.
  • ACCA completed an extensive global consultation with members, employers and other stakeholders to obtain their views on ACCA’s proposed CPD policy. ACCA received feedback from over 10,000 members and 450 employers, and the data received informed the design of a policy which specifically met members’ requirements.

There are three parts to the qualification, the examination syllabus, practical experience requirements and a professional ethics module. The purpose of the ACCA syllabus (copy attached) is to provide the learner with the knowledge and understanding needed to underpin the professional accountant’s role. The structure of the syllabus has been designed to assist learning and understanding and to ensure that learners develop an appreciation of the development and interdependence of subjects.

ACCA revised its syllabus effective from 2007. A guide as to how the syllabus papers presently on the National Qualifications Framework and the current ACCA syllabus papers map on to each other is shown under section (g) below. However, the ACCA syllabus remains very much a professional accountancy qualification which is continuously updated to meet rapidly changing market needs.

There are two levels in the syllabus (Fundamentals and Professional) comprising sixteen examination papers designed to test the knowledge and understanding required to work as Chartered Certified Accountants (a full copy of the syllabus is attached). The Fundamental Level is divided into two modules – Knowledge (F1 to F3) and Skills (F4 to F9) and the Professional Level is also divided into two modules – Essentials (P1 to P3) and Options (P4 to P7). Learners must choose two from the four Options papers. Learners may also choose the South African versions of the Law and Tax papers (F4, F6 and P6).

To qualify as a member of ACCA, learners have to demonstrate that, in addition to passing the examinations, they have met ACCA’s practical experience requirements. All learners are required to obtain a minimum of three years’ relevant supervised accountancy experience and meet the minimum competence requirements for membership. Details of the learner’s practical training and experience must be recorded in the Trainee Development Matrix (copy attached).

In addition to all the technical skills and capabilities assessed throughout the ACCA Qualification, central to ACCA’s mission and core values is the requirement that students learn about and demonstrate ethical values and professionalism. ACCA students are required to complete an online training professional ethics module. The examination of professional values, ethics and attitudes is also integrated into eleven of the sixteen ACCA examinations.

Together, the examination syllabus, ethics module and practical experience requirements focus on the learner’s ability to satisfy the technical, managerial, interpersonal and ethical requirements of a professional accountant and require the learner to adopt an analytical and critical approach.

The qualification encourages a lifelong approach to learning thus ensuring that learners are able to cope with individual and social transformation.

ACCA students can range from school leavers to mature adults. They can work in any kind of organisation, from Small and Mediun Sized Enterprises to large listed companies, as a rule in the accounting, auditing and finance areas.

Learners can apply to use the designation Chartered Certified Accountant and the letters ACCA on completion of the examinations, the ethics module and practical experience requirements.

ACCA’s qualification provides an internationally recognized accountancy qualification on the NQF in South Africa.

QUALIFICATION RULES

Level, total credits required credits and learning components assigned to the qualifications:

Fundamentals level:

Knowledge module:

Learning components (Modules titles only):

F1 Accountant in Business, 30 Credits, NQF Level 5.

F2 Management Accounting, 30 Credits, NQF Level 5.

F3 Financial Accounting, 30 Credits, NQF Level 5

Skills module:

Learning components (Modules titles only):
F4 Corporate and Business Law, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.
F5 Performance Management, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.
F6 Taxation, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.
F7 Financial Reporting, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.
F8 Audit and Assurance, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.
F9 Financial Management, 40 Credits, NQF Level 6.

Subtotal: 330 Credits.

Professional level:

Essentials Module:

Learning components (Modules titles only):
P1 Professional Accountant, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.
P2 Corporate Reporting, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.
P3 Business Analysis, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.

Subtotal: 135 Credits.

Options Module:
P4 Advanced Financial Management, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.
P5 Advanced Performance Management, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.
P6 Advanced Taxation, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.
P7 Advanced Audit and Assurance, 45 Credits, NQF Level 7.

Subtotal: 90 Credits.

Minimum Electives required: Two from the four above.

Qualification Rules: (Choice of modules or unit standards and credits):
All the Fundamental level totalling 330 credits is compulsory.
All the Essentials module totalling 135 credits is compulsory.
Learners must choose a minimum of 90 credits from the options module.

A minimum of 555 credits is required to obtain the qualification.

ACCA has a partnership agreement with Oxford Brookes University in the UK, which enables learners who complete ACCA’s Fundamentals level to apply for the award of a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Accounting. This covers the Knowledge and Skills modules and accounts for the 330 credits at this level. ACCA’s Professional Level has been accredited at postgraduate level in Ireland and these accounts for the 135 credits for the Essentials module plus the 90 for the Options module.

The ACCA qualification is designed with considerable flexibility, but is built around a rationale of progression through each level. With two examination sessions running annually, June and December, learners may take up to four papers at a time, and within individual modules papers may be attempted in any order. However, learners must take any remaining papers within a module at the same time as or before they attempt papers in a subsequent module of the qualification structure.

Level at which qualification is pegged.

NQF Level 7.

Credits required for fundamental, core, and elective learning:
Fundamental learning (Professional level Essentials module): 135 Credits.
Core learning (Knowledge and Skills module): 330 Credits.
Elective learning (Professional level Options module): 90 Credits.

Note: The term “Fundamental” is used in a different sense to its use in the ACCA syllabus.

Practical Experience Requirements:

To satisfy the practical experience requirements, learners are required to achieve 13 Performance Objectives comprising:
All nine Essentials covering Professionalism, Personal effectiveness and Business management plus.
Any four from eleven Options covering financial accounting and reporting, Performance measurement and management accounting, Finance and financial management, Audit and assurance, and Taxation.

The practical experience requirements carry a minimum overall rating of 360 credits.

The average length of time taken to complete the qualification is normally 3-5 years.

Credits required at specific levels:

All papers in the Knowledge module are pegged at NQF Level 5. All papers in the Skills module are pegged at NQF Level 6. Professional level papers are pegged at NQF Level 7.

The progressive structure of the qualification ensures that learners have reached first degree standard after the Skills module and achieved Masters Degree standard by the Professional Level.

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