n Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - South African training officers' perceptions of the knowledge and skills requirements of entry-level trainee accountants




Changes in business environments have challenged the competencies (technical knowledge, skills and attitudes) of professional accountants. Accounting professions have responded by developing competency frameworks. In 2008, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) issued a draft competency framework encapsulating a broad range of knowledge, skills and attributes. The objective of the study reported on here was to determine training officers' perceptions of the knowledge and skills requirements of entry-level trainee accountants. SAICA could consider the findings of this study in the finalisation of its competency framework. The study reveals that nearly three-quarters of all the topics in the current prescribed SAICA syllabus are considered to make at least an important contribution to the knowledge requirements of entry-level trainee accountants. Although more than half the management accounting topics prescribed in the SAICA syllabus are perceived as being only reasonably important, further statistical analysis revealed that TOPP (training outside public practice) training officers disagreed significantly with their TIPP (training inside public practice) counterparts on the importance of management accounting topics and perceived them to be at least important. Except for specialised topics, all other topics covering the remaining core subjects (Financial Accounting, Financial Management, Taxation and Auditing) were perceived to be important or even more than important by the respondents.

The study demonstrates that there is a movement towards an expanded set of competencies beyond the technical knowledge typically taught to prospective CAs, and that there is evidence of a need for today's entry-level trainee accountants to receive training in communication, analytical, interpersonal and computer skills.


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