The growth of a country, and an organisation, not only hinges on strategic goals and long-term vision, but on the youth that will one day populate its halls. The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) recognises the importance of investing in the next generation of accountants and has launched a new student membership platform to support students as they move through university and into careers as professional accountants.
To ensure growth and sustainability, it is important to think about the future pipeline and engage with up and coming accountants while they are still at university. Our student membership has been designed to introduce students to the profession so they can grow to understand the landscape, be exposed to what happens in the profession and, most importantly, not have to wait until they qualify to experience the benefits of belonging to a professional body.
SAIPA’s student membership has been structured with student needs and limitations in mind. As many are not earning their own income or salary, the fee has been made extremely accessible at only R100 per year. It allows them a full range of membership benefits alongside additional value-added partnerships which have been included specifically for the student market.
It is a significant difference in price from the full membership fee paid by a qualified Professional Accountant (SA) which is R5,000 per annum, while still adding immense value to their personal and professional development.
The right exposure
Students taking advantage of the SAIPA student membership will be exposed to accounting firms that are looking for trainees, giving them opportunities for networking that would have been previously unavailable to them. Many professional members are accountants in practice and often look for article clerks or trainees to do articles, providing students with a chance to flex their skills and grow their portfolios. To become a Professional Accountant (SA), candidates first have to complete a Bachelor of Commerce degree, or equivalent, followed by three years of articles and then they have to write and pass the Professional Evaluation examination.
Our student membership also allows students to attend some of our prestigious events, such as the annual SAIPA Budget Breakfast where experts analyse the national budget. They can go to these events for free and use them as opportunities to network and be exposed to many potential employers.
SAIPA student members will receive copies of the two accounting magazines that are sent to full members as part of their membership package. They outline the latest trends in the accountancy profession, from both a local and global perspective and give students some much-needed insight into the profession. Then, to add even more value, SAIPA has engaged with various external partners and companies to round off its student offering.
If you are a SAIPA member, you get a discount when you purchase your prescribed Juta textbooks from selected retailers. These is just one of the partners we have on board at the moment and we are currently engaging with other organisations to add to our student membership as we move forward.
Leading the way
We are not aware of any other professional body that is offering student membership at this time so, as far as we are concerned, we are breaking new ground by welcoming students into our fold so early on in their careers. It is a hugely progressive step that will ensure our profession grows sustainably by encouraging students to expand their skills and networks.
To introduce students to the SAIPA offering, representatives of the organisation will be visiting various campuses around the country. Those students that are interested in joining will be automatically added to the student membership database and, once they pay the R100 fee, will become members of the organisation.
Students interested in joining SAIPA can contact SAIPA directly to facilitate the process by emailing: [email protected]
By introducing this student membership, we are educating students on how broad the accountancy profession can be and that becoming a chartered accountant is not the only option. Students have responded incredibly well to what we are offering and we look forward to welcoming them to our organisation.
By Zobuzwe Ngobese, Marketing & Communications Executive