More than 1 000 candidates wrote the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (Saipa's) professional evaluation exam last year, marking an increase of 20% on the previous year, says Navin Lalsab, accreditation, compliance and development executive of the organisation.
Lalsab says over 70% of the candidates passed the exam to become professional accountants. He says the reason for the increase in the number of candidates sitting the exam is an awareness among accountants of the benefits of professional status.
"Among these benefits is access to continuing professional development, which helps Saipa members keep their skills current. This is no small benefit given the speed at which modern business and accounting regulations change. They also receive access to advice and information from Saipa's technical department," Lalsab said.
However, the promulgation of the Tax Administration Amendment Act at the end of last year, means that all tax practitioners are obliged to register as a member of a professional body.
The final date for registering is 1 July. Failure to do so will expose the practitioners to criminal charges.
It is estimated that 55% of the about 34 000 tax technicians and practitioners are not registered with a professional regulatory body.
South African Institute of Tax Practitioners chief executive Stiaan Klue said he expected that many of the controlling bodies would require a "competency assessment" for membership in cases where tax practitioners did not have formal university qualifications.
Lalsab said there were still "thousands of graduates" working in the accounting field in commerce and industry who did not have a professional affiliation.
"Joining a respected industry body is a wise move because it enables you to keep your skills updated and helps to ensure you remain marketable into the future," he claimed.
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