Johannesburg – 43% of the country’s remaining aspiring chartered accountants have passed the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) exam.
In an even more concerning result, only 24% of the 1,792 black applicants passed Saica’s professional competency assessment (CPA) exam written in December.
The success rates among all the other races were also not something to say. The 1,315 white applicants achieved a 64% pass rate, 53% of the 535 Indian applicants were successful, and 45% of the 238 potential chartered accountants of color were successful.
The number of black chartered accountants has remained low in the country, which has prompted Saica and the government to embark on a process of transformation in recent years.
Defending its decision to offer scholarships only to black and colored students in 2017, Saica revealed that its members’ demographics were 12% black, 11% Indian, 4% colored and 73% white.
The results released on Friday capped a steady decline over the past five years.
In 2016, 89% of applicants were successful. The success rate fell to 80% in 2017, then to 68% in 2018 and 57% in 2019.
In November, 3,80 applicants wrote the assessment for all issues, and 43% were successful.
Describing the success rate as the lowest on record, Saica blamed it on the “inevitable” postponement of the second session from June to November due to Covid-19, among other unfavorable developments.
“This delay meant that the majority of applicants had more than 11 months instead of five months between graduating from college and writing the second ITC session (initial proficiency test),” Saica said.
“From the ITC tests, the integrated application of technical skills developed during the academic program, Saica recognizes the impact of deferral on candidates.
“In addition, the stress caused by the pandemic and the challenges of working from home could have further affected the performance of the candidates.”
The Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants in Southern Africa (Abasa) expressed concern about the results.
Ashley Dicken, Chairman of Abasa, said it was particularly worrying that the success rate of African candidates continued to drop astronomically.
“Although a drop in the success rate of the APC could have been expected due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is of particular concern to note a success rate of 24% for black African applicants. against an overall national success rate of 43%, “he said.
“It is even more alarming to see a significant drop of 44% in the success rate in black Africa compared to a drop of 12%, 20% and 10% respectively in the success rates of whites, Indians and colors. “
Dicken said Abasa had previously sought intervention for the low success rate among future chartered accountants.
“The declining pass rates in ITC and APC for black African applicants has been a historic issue raised by Abasa with various stakeholders.
“The initiatives that have been proposed in previous years have not shown the desired change,” said Dicken.
Saica said that as part of her commitment to transform the profession, she has continued to put in place initiatives to support black and colored applicants. He said he was also looking to “better understand the reasons for these differential success rates.”
“The ultimate goal is both to continue to increase the number of African and black applicants taking the exam, as well as to improve the equivalency of pass rates,” Saica said.
Freeman Nomvalo, chief executive of Saica, encouraged the 57% who failed to rewrite.
“… I encourage you to keep working hard and not to give up. As a potential CA, you have many opportunities to pass this exam and support programs are available to help you, ”Nomvalo said.