Wits University’s Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Accountancy has become the first degree to be accredited by the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA). The accreditation means that Wits Accountancy graduates will automatically qualify to enter SAIPA’s three-year learnership without any further pre-entry exam.
“Students who qualify with a SAIPA-accredited degree will find that kick starting their professional careers will be considerably easier, with the path to a learnership that much smoother,” says Navin Lalsab, accreditation, compliance and development executive at SAIPA.
“This is an extremely valuable benefit, especially when one considers how many graduates are finding it hard to get jobs, in part because their degrees are not highly regarded by the professions they seek to enter.”
Accreditation also means that students registered for the Wits BCom in Accountancy will have access to the research materials on the SAIPA Web site, giving them the inside track when it comes to research.
“The Wits School of Accountancy will also gain representation on the various SAIPA structures, meaning it will be able to contribute to developing our curricula and influencing policy,” Lalsab notes.
In order to be accredited by SAIPA, Wits first had to provide documentation indicating that its BCom in Accountancy met the criteria established by SAIPA. The university then had to present to the SAIPA Accreditation Committee, which includes academics from Wits itself, North-West University and the University of Pretoria.
“We value our SAIPA accreditation very highly, and are delighted to be the first university to achieve it,” says Professor Jackie Arendse, head of the school of accountancy at Wits.
“We believe that SAIPA members have a growing role to play in helping small to medium-sized enterprises prosper. These companies are the engines for growth and job creation, and so have a crucial role to play in South Africa.”
Professor Arendse says that the SAIPA accreditation offers students another set of career options while maintaining their recognition as professionals.
“Our students themselves need to become more entrepreneurial, and the broad-based role typically played by a professional accountant is a great springboard for launching their own entrepreneurial businesses as business advisors and managers,” she explains.
“Wits staff already conduct the preparation course we offer candidates for our board exams,” Lalsab says. “This accreditation is the next step in building an even closer relationship.”
Three other universities – North-West, Pretoria and Fort Hare – are in the process of completing the accreditation process.