Every year, the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) holds its National Accounting Olympiad. Entries for this year’s competition are now open and the Institute invites all schools to begin registering pupils who wish to participate.
Zobuzwe Ngobese, Marketing and Communications Executive at SAIPA reports that, since its inception in 2002, the competition has continued to grow in popularity. “For 2019, we're expecting our best turnout yet,” he says.
How it works
NAO 2019 entrants from grades 11 and 12 will write an accountancy test at their respective schools. Afterwards, representatives from SAIPA will mark the papers and select those with the highest scores. The top three students nationally in each grade will then be declared as the overall winners.
These champions will be awarded at a gala event whose date and venue will be announced nearer the time. They and their teachers will also receive prizes and be featured in the media.
Bring it on
Last year, thirteen winners tied for the top three spots provincially and nationally across the grade 11 and grade 12 categories. Eight pupils from Johannesburg public school, King Edward VII, reached the national top 50. Western Cape’s Rondebosch Boys High placed one grade 12 winner and two in grade 11. And the province to beat this year will be Kwazulu-Natal, which shone brightly in 2018 with six winners out of the total thirteen.
“It was an incredibly tight competition,” says Ngobese. “So we’re excited to see what happens this time around. Will KwaZulu-Natal give a repeat performance or will another province rise to the challenge? And who will push the envelope to be the only winner in their spot? All I can say to the entrants is, if you're in it to win it, study hard and bring your A game.”
The NAO competition is a key part of SAIPA’s strategy to promote accounting as a career of choice among schoolgoers.
South Africa needs new accountants to continually enter the job market. A significant lack of interest now will mean a skills shortage of seven to eight years in the future. “Accounting is an exciting and rewarding career, so we want teens everywhere to seriously consider it as they prepare for tertiary studies,” says Ngobese.
The NAO 2019 is also a good way for scholars to get a taste of the profession. They’ll have the opportunity to interact with SAIPA staff, sponsors and potential future employers.
How to enter
Pupils wishing to compete must be registered by their schools on the NAO website at https://www.saipa.co.za/national-accounting-olympiad-2019/ . The entry fee is R50 per student but free for no-fee schools. There is also no limit to the number of pupils each school may register. However, entrants must currently be taking Accounting as a school subject with the intention of studying a B.Com degree.
Entries close 14th June 2019. The exam will take place on 29th July 2019 and winners will be announced after all papers are scored. The NAO website will be updated as the competition progresses and participants should visit it regularly for the latest news and information.