The current SAICA training programme and assessment process were first introduced in January 2010. This training programme was based on the 2008 SAICA Competency Framework, which set out SAICA’s expectations of the competencies that newly qualified CA’s should possess at that time. This Competency Framework was updated by SAICA in 2014, which logically led to a reconsideration of the training programme going forward.
Changes to the training programme from January 2016:
Given that SAICA had to respond to the latest Competency Framework in its training programme anyway, they saw this as an opportunity to also reconsider some of the practical challenges presented by the existing (2010) training programme. The amended 2016 training programme thus incorporates:
- Updates to the content to respond to the revised Competency Framework.
- Modifications to the content to make existing tasks more practicable.
While there are a few new tasks in response to the revised Competency Framework, the majority of the changes are actually to the existing tasks. In summary, the following main changes have been made:
- Inclusion of a few new tasks, now regarded as important to an entry-level CA.
- Rewording of existing tasks to make them easier to understand.
- Substantial revisiting of the verbs used to describe tasks to ensure greater consistency across tasks and also to assist in making it clearer as to what needs to be done.
- Collapsing existing tasks into 1 new task where this was felt to be appropriate.
- Removing tasks that are no longer believed to be practicable.
- A substantial reworking of the existing Business Ethics tasks. Business Ethics will be referred to as “Professional Conduct” going forward and the new tasks will centre on the fundamental principles in the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct. Trainees will thus now have to demonstrate that they understand and “live” these principles.
- A substantial reworking of the Auditing and Assurance Residual tasks to make them more relevant in the context of a training contract being completed in commerce and industry.
Changes to the assessment process from January 2016:
Given that the training programme has undergone a significant rewrite (and that the assessment instruments would thus have to be updated anyway), it made sense for SAICA to also use this opportunity to reconsider the status of the assessment process and make improvements where possible.
Possibly the biggest assessment-related change from January 2016 will be the way that the Professional Conduct tasks (the old “Business Ethics”) will be assessed. These tasks will no longer be rated in terms of a trainee’s capability. The new tasks reflect values rather than capabilities, and SAICA no longer believes it appropriate to be rating these values. Trainees will instead need to provide examples throughout their contract (similar to what they have already been doing) to demonstrate that they understand and are “living” these values. These examples submitted will then form the basis for an evaluator and assessor decision regarding the adequate demonstration of these values by a trainee.
In addition to the above, the most significant changes to the assessment instruments will include the following:
- All the tasks will now need to be updated to reflect the new competencies.
- The PSR and ANA have both been changed to accommodate the new Professional Conduct assessment process. Evidence of this will be documented in the PSR and will accumulate in the ANA.
- Both the TSR and PSR will now require trainees and reviewers to include reference to the SAICA decision tree path label in support of their ratings.
- The TSR will require additional information about the length of the assignment being rated.
- The ANA will now require the documentation of an expected level of competence for that trainee at that point in time. This will provide useful feedback to the trainee in terms of how they stack up against where they should be at that point in time.
LTS and these changes?
The LTS development team has already been hard at work for several months now incorporating these changes into the system so that your migration to these new tasks and processes will be as seamless as possible. LTS will continue to be in contact with our clients throughout this process, keeping them informed of the changes and the migration process.