Our CIMA-to-SAICA Programme:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The FAQs below emanate from the above Breakfast show organised by The CharterQuest Institute to respond to student queries about the CIMA-SAICA MPA. At the time of the event, it was not clear how SAICA will deal with certain pertinent questions. So, we provided you our best answers but undertook to confirm certain procedural issues with SAICA - having done so, we hereby publish our updated questions and answers. We hope this page helps you answer your pertinent questions about the agreement and our course structure. You are welcome to double-check our answers with SAICA (to Adrik: adrik@saica.co.za) before making any final decision. 

1. The SAICA-CIMA Membership Pathway Agreement states one must have relevant 2 years post-CIMA membership qualification experience to be eligible. How does one determine if his or her experience is relevant?

Relevant experience will typically fall within three categories as prescribed in the SAICA Training Programme:

  • Compulsory skills (Accounting and External Reporting, Professional Conduct, Management and Leadership, Personal Attributes, and Information Technology);
  • Elective Skills (Audit and Assurance, Financial Management, Management Decision-making and Control, Taxation, Risk Management and Governance); and
  • Residual skills (which may include the above elective skills).

As you are required to conduct a self-evaluation of competence against the prescribed competencies for the SAICA training programme, you will need to pay specific attention to the above skills. For more information, visit the following link on SAICA website.

2. SAICA requires that a ‘Portfolio of Work’ be submitted as part of the application. Does the portfolio include all the experience before and after becoming a full CIMA member?

No. SAICA also requires a Curriculum Vitae -and surely, that will need to have to include all work experience. However, the Portfolio of Work should focus on your post CIMA membership experience. As you would have already used all experience obtained prior to becoming CIMA member as part of your CIMA membership application, SAICA will mainly be interested in Portfolio of Work you undertook since becoming a CIMA member.

3. As a CIMA member who becomes CA (SA) under this agreement, will I be able to independently practice as an Auditor in South Africa as other CAs (SA)?

Absolutely not! ALL newly-qualified CAs(SA) irrespective of the path followed must always meet IRBA’s additional requirements to practice as a Registered Auditor (RA). See link: http://www.irbalearning.co.za/the-audit-development-programme/what-is-the-adp

4. How long does SAICA take to make a decision on my work experience and submission? 

It differs from one application to the other. A number of cases have been concluded within 1-10 days. 

5. But I was told all applications must be submitted by September 5th and an internal Board within SAICA will decide on October 5th 2017 on my application. Is that correct?

This is not true. The relevant SAICA committee meets three times per annum, in March, June and October. Our general advice is that you should start the process as soon as possible -especially if you wish to join our September/October 2017 intake in preparation for the June 2018 SAICA-ITC/Board 1 exam sitting. Although it is not necessary to await SAICA decision as you are automatically eligible if you have CIMA+ 2yrs post-qualification experience,  we are currently in consultation to determine if to shift the start date of our September/October intake by a few weeks to allow those who nonetheless, wish to await SAICA decision to join the course. 

6. Will I be eligible to write the ITC if my experience is 2+ years even if I still don’t meet the 3-5 years post qualification experience category?

Yes! You will be eligible to write the ITC but will not be able to claim any reduction in the number of years to complete a SAICA Training contract -from the standard 3 years, unless and until you have had the minimum of 3-5 years of relevant work experience. 

7. Can you tell us a bit more about the course you offer to prepare CIMA members who are eligible to write the SAICA Board 1/ITC Exams?

We begin on September 30th for the June 2018 exam sitting. For the January 2019 Exam sitting, we begin in February 2019. You can attend our course by booking for the Tuition and Exam Preparation Package (TEPP) which runs in the Evenings or over Weekends. Students who are away from our Sandton Campus can book for the TEPP –Interactive Livestream Package. For more information about our course, download the CIMA-to-SAICA Membership Pathway Agreement Course Pack 2017/2018/2019

8. I see your course structure is aligned to the UNISA CTA. Why UNISA? Why not Wits, UJ or UCT?

UNISA alone enrols almost half (40%) of all accounting students in South Africa and its CTA course structure is more open to CharterQuest –being a distance learning institution. In the most recent June 2017 SAICA ITC Exam sitting, ‘’Candidates who completed the CTA Programme with UNISA have achieved excellent results, with a 69% pass rate for candidates attempting the ITC examination for the first time, and a 60% average for all candidates from UNISA. In total, 401 former UNISA students passed the ITC examination. This represents 21% of all successful candidates. UNISA also outperformed all other universities in terms of the number of successful candidates, as well as outclassing some residential universities in the percentage pass rate.’’ http://www.UNISA.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/News-&-Media/Articles/Classy-results-from-CAS-in-2017-SAICA-ITC

9. Your course pack is silent on your lecturers. What is your policy on lecturers for this course? When can we see their names published?

The SAICA Board 1/ITC has undergone major changes in the recent past. To ensure up-to-date knowledge of the ITC, we mainly hire passionate professionals who passed and/or taught SAICA Board 1/ITC in the last 3 years, are CAs and/or ACCAs and/or CIMA-qualified -but with numerous years of experience in teaching CTA/SAICA Board 1 courses; or ACCA subjects with heavy technical content in IFRS, taxation and auditing. We prioritise lecturers who have mastered the CIMA and CTA/SAICA Board 1 curriculum, to make the unique judgements required to fast track CIMA members to quickly master the rigorous integrated technical skills embedded within IFRS, taxation and auditing -as required to pass the SAICA Board 1/ITC Exams. At this time, we are still finalising lecturer contracting and will publish their profiles no later than August 31, 2017.

10. Is it possible to enrol in September but write in January 2019?

Yes! But keep in mind our September intake will be for June 2018 exam sitting, so all the IFRSs and SAICA pronouncements we will teach will have a cut off for June 2018. It is possible that some of your books will be expired by the January 2019 exam sitting and because some of the pronouncements that will be applicable in the January 2019 sitting will not be applicable yet for the June 2018 sitting, this will not be covered. You will then have to do the extra work necessary to update your knowledge for any changes in study materials or examinable pronouncements.

11. What course and study material are we going to be provided with?

We will provide the prescribed study texts, slides/course notes and past questions and answers, and will drive the teaching in class through the slides/course notes which will include a fair amount of practice questions.

12. What does one do for 15-20 hours a week when they are not in class?

Having covered the core examinable materials in class using the course notes, and worked through exam standard practice questions on the subject matter covered, more past questions and answers will be provided for you to do the extra practice and evaluate yourself during your spare time.

13. I see the 2018 timetable has no classes during August to November. Why?

A key limiting factor in our schedules is lecturer resources. Most of our lecturers teach the CTA with other universities (Wits, UJ and UNISA) and become very involved with the marking of CTA during this period –and as such, will hardly be available to run classes. So we schedule our classes to release them to go mark CTA and bring back that expertise to help us run the last lap of the course –the SAICA Board 1/ITC course that starts in November.

14. What if I did not do a BCOM/Honours Accounting and need lessons in Taxation, will I be able to start from the basics?

Yes! As we have structured our course and aligned it to the UNISA CTA structure, we are confident that each module will start from the basics. Our key advantage is that having taught the CIMA for years, we are in unique position to know what attributes CIMA members bring to the SAICA Board 1, and can safety say whilst presumptions will be made on the Management Accounting Module, we are only too mindful that SAICA Board 1/ITC is very technical especially on the Financial Reporting, Auditing and Taxation module. It is therefore imperative we recognise that you will need specific grounding in these modules –so, every special effort will be made to ensure these start from the basics, and the knowledge developed to the applied and integrated level required to do well in SAICA/ITC exams.

Should you need any further clarity, please email us at enquiries@charterquest.co.za and expect a reply within 2 hours.