SAICA’s objective of having a CPD policy is to protect the public interest by ensuring there is a framework within which the members commit to ongoing learning and development throughout their careers, demonstrating the competence required in relation to the specific roles an accountant performs.

The growth in knowledge and the speed of technological change, plus the obsolescence of existing knowledge means that the qualifying programme of professional education can no longer be seen as a career-long standing statement of professional competence; undertaking role specific relevant CPD activities is essential for CAs and associates to remain relevant.

Therefore SAICA, as a membership body, has the objective to ensure that members and associates:

Maintain and develop their professional competence relevant to their current and future roles

Take responsibility for reflecting on and undertaking relevant CPD activities to remain competent in their current and future roles

Take responsibility for recording CPD activities to demonstrate that they have undertaken relevant and appropriate learning activities for their circumstances.


Do I need to record why I want to do this training?

Yes, members have to record a reason/purpose for undertaking various learning interventions.

I have undertaken learning activities that I have not planned. Is this fine and how do I record this?

It is absolutely acceptable to do learning activities that you may not have initially identified. Always try to identify what you learnt out of such engagements. Then record this on your reflective plan as an additional activity – linking it back where possible to a specific competence area.

What format is required when I submit my reflective plan?

Multiple formats can be used including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF.

If I document the following, will it be sufficient? Identify and record what training I would like to do AND record when I would like to do the training

This is not considered sufficient – refer to the key steps (as a minimum requirement) mentioned in the reflective plan template.

Do I have to use the SAICA reflective plan template? What are the minimum requirements SAICA would like to see on the member’s/associate’s completed reflective plan?

  • It is not compulsory to use the reflective plan template provided by SAICA. The template has been provided to members/associates to give them a starting point for this plan. Your plan should be unique and reflective of your development needs. The key steps mentioned in the reflective plan should, as a minimum, be documented:
  • The key steps are:
  1. To identify specific competencies in relation to each of the following areas that are required for you to be professionally competent in your role:
    1. Professional values and attitudes (ethics, lifelong learning and citizenship)
    2. Enabling competencies (decision-making, business, digital and relational acumens)
  • Technical competencies in the value-creation process
  1. Self-assess (or use other mechanisms such as workplace performance evaluations) against these competencies and identify specific areas for development
  2. Undertake relevant learning interventions that can assist you in developing in the competence gap areas identified
  3. On completion of the learning intervention, reflect on the effectiveness of the learning interventions
  4. Assess progress made and identify further areas for achieving professional competence

The new SAICA output-based CPD process

SAICA’s new CPD model more explicitly recognises that different professionals have different development needs and requires practitioners to take ownership of their professional development by following three broad stages of the output-based CPD reflective cycle. These stages are PAR:

  1. Planning through reflecting on your practice to identify their own developmental needs
  2. Action by undertaking appropriate CPD activities to meet the developmental need(s) you have identified and applying what you have learnt to your practice; and
  3. Reflecting by measuring the impact of CPD on your practice and identifying any further developmental needs.

Why has the CPD policy been revised?

The CPD policy has been revised to ensure that it is based on adult education principles which include that learners:

  • Know why they need to learn something (the learning experience must add value and help them achieve their goals);
  • Want to be respected as capable learners. This means the adult is given choices and sets their own learning objectives based on what they need to achieve in their specific role;
  • They already have some experience and they should be encouraged to use these experiences and apply this to new learning opportunities;
  • They want learning to occur timeously (they are only ready to learn when they have identified something they want to know or become proficient at); and

Both internal and external factors play a role in motivating adult learners (e.g. increased job satisfaction, increase in pay).

Why did SAICA change from an optional input or output-based approach to a purely output-based approach?

The objective of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is to promote up-to-date,
high-quality services by ensuring that practitioners have access to the necessary learning opportunities to maintain and improve their ability to practice. An input-based approach to CPD focuses mainly on hours and activities, and it often neglects the actual purpose of CPD, which is for practitioners to enhance their knowledge, acquire new skills and build on existing ones through continual reflection. The input-based approach to CPD often drives a compliance-based, number-driven view of learning which is in contrast to what SAICA wishes to achieve through its CPD policy; a commitment to lifelong learning where CPD activity includes work-based learning, undertaking new projects at work, online reading, researching particular issues relating to clients or a specific role, and focused discussions with colleagues or professional advisers.

Under the new CPD policy, there is no requirement to achieve a certain number of hours or points – the important feature is that consideration is given to the requirements of the position and that learning addresses this.

When will output-based CPD become compulsory and what are the transition arrangements?

SAICA will move to an output-based CPD policy by January 2021 (2020 year under review). Due to the post-facto nature of the CPD policy, members will report on the previous year’s CPD in the January of the following year. There will be a one year transition period. Members may record their 2019 CPD (report due in Jan 2020) on either the new CPD reflective plan or on the old input-based form. However, from Jan 2021 (2020 CPD) onwards all members must use the online CPD reflective plan.

CPD report due CPD reporting year Reporting format Monitoring
January 2019 2018 Input- or output-based Input- or output-based reporting
January 2020 2019 Input- or output-based Input- or output-based reporting
January 2021 2020 Output-based only Output-based reporting only

How will I know how much CPD to undertake if no hours are stipulated?

Members and associates are no longer required to complete a set number of hours per annum. Practitioners are required to reflect on their own needs in accordance with industry developments, career aspirations, clients’ needs and those of the profession. Once considered, practitioners must plan their CPD in accordance with their unique circumstances and undertake sufficient CPD to satisfy their professional and personal developmental needs. This is not a time-based activity but one that requires practitioners to reflect meaningfully on their learning and development.

How do I provide evidence of CPD?

Through the reflective planning form: The only documentation you need to retain for SAICA is the reflective planning form (either SAICA’s template or your own). SAICA will assess the relevance, coverage and level of reflection recorded in your reflective plan. If SAICA has set compulsory learning areas for your sector of the profession, they will check to what extent you have covered the learning areas and your reflection on the learning outcome.

In cases where SAICA is dissatisfied with the quality of the reflective plan submitted through the monitoring procedures, it may require further information from you through an interview. Competency interviews will be done through the regional offices. This reflective plan must be kept for three calendar years.

Through the annual declaration: All members and associates will be required to submit an annual declaration to SAICA. The declaration will be updated to reflect an output-based approach to CPD and those areas of competence SAICA may from time to time mandate. The declaration will also include those members and associates who have retired or who are taking a leave of absence from practice.

What is the SAICA competency framework and how can I use this to reflect on my requirements for learning and development?

SAICA has a competency framework  which members can use as a guidance tool for setting out their own learning activities on their reflective plan.

  • Read the full list of Frequently Asked Questions
  • Comparison between the old and proposed new CPD policies

CPD support services

Contact newcpdpolicy@saica.co.za for any support you may need in completing your CPD Reflective Plan


Revised Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Policy Download
Comparison between the Old and Proposed new CPD policies Download
CPD Benefits Statement 1 March 2019 Download
Positional Paper: Continuing Professional Development Policy Change Download
IRBA CPD webpage Download


Continuing Professional Development Reflective Plan Template Download
Ethics reflection fact sheets Download
Completed Example of a Continuing Professional Development Reflective Plan Download
Proposed SAICA Competency Framework Download
Proficiency levels Download

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