SAIPA celebrates 35th anniversary

This year, SAIPA proudly celebrates 35 years of distinguished achievement. The Institute’s contributions not only to the accounting profession, but to economic growth and social upliftment in South Africa, positions it as a guardian of integrity and a catalyst for change.

We are enormously proud of the initiatives we have recently undertaken in this regard:

Economic empowerment and education

SAIPA has, from its inception, supported the empowerment of all social groups in the accounting industry. Currently, our campaigns and roadshows actively promote the profession as a career of choice. We’re also passionate about the growth and transformation of the profession and this is one of our strategic objectives.

Empowerment is built on education and we pride ourselves on our two programmes, which include our annual National Accounting Olympiad that has been running for more than 10 years and has recently been extended to reach a bigger audience, with the inclusion of Grade 11 learners, as well as Grade 12s. This enables us to uncover more bright young minds in the country.

In addition, our Project Achiever initiative - a joint effort by SAIPA and the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET) - brings about transformation in the accounting field by means of assisting black candidates who meet our qualifying criteria by funding their further studies with SAIPA.

Whether it’s carrying out missions across the continent to strengthen accounting practices, or improving our Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes, SAIPA is driven by an unrelenting energy for growth.

Business rescue and contribution to legislation

Late last year, SAIPA became one of two professional bodies accredited to regulate members who practice business rescue. The Companies Act allows for business rescue - the rehabilitation of financially distressed organisations. With this accreditation, we can provide our members with support and guidance to ensure that businesses in crisis can benefit from a reliable service.

Further, SAIPA has always taken an active interest in proposed legislation that affects the country’s financial systems, economy and people. Recently, we submitted comments to Parliament on amendments to the tax laws bill, tax administration laws bill and Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill. The latter relating to the constitutionality of warrantless searches.

Humble beginnings

But by the mid-1960s, a shortage of accountants was becoming a major concern. In 1980, a specially-formed commission concluded that a second tier of accounting professional should be created to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding business sector. This new guard focused on the technical aspects of the field, freeing accountants to pursue auditing and other specialised tasks.

A regulating body was established that would eventually become SAIPA and its first act was to have its courses approved for presentation at Technikons, with the Minister of Education signing its application almost immediately.

At first, acceptance of the new Professional Accountant (SA) designation was slow and the organisation struggled to remain financially viable. But we survived our early years through sheer persistence and what we reaped was a lasting legacy as a driving force in South Africa.

Surviving Beyond the Numbers

Our 35th anniversary will also be commemorated at our National Conference, which will be held from 19 to 21 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. This year’s theme is “Surviving Beyond the Numbers”, very much appropriate because currently the Professional Accountant (SA) is regarded as a trusted business partner and strategic advisor, rather than a bean counter. Their employers and clients look to them for critical operational and strategic insights.

The conference’s programme will include keynote speakers, researchers, practitioners and industry leaders. Among the confirmed speakers are Judge Dennis Davis and Professor Mervyn King.

Our history bears witness that SAIPA has played a pivotal role in lifting the profession to its present status of recognition and trust. We’re honoured to bear its banner and thank our members for their support.

For more information on the SAIPA National Conference please visit.

By Bongani Coka, CE, South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA)