WELCOME TO CPD

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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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

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.

What format is required when I submit my reflective plan?

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

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.

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.

Will I penalised if I don’t achieve the training by the proposed date on my reflective plan?

  • Members/associates will not be penalised for not undertaking relevant learning interventions by a planned date. However, members need to review their plans regularly and update their dates accordingly.
  • Members/associates who are frequently putting off undertaking an identified learning activity should interrogate the underlying reasons for this and consider addressing those. If a member/associate does not see benefit in undertaking learning to enhance their professional competence, then the learning identified may not be relevant and can be removed from the reflective plan.

What entails learning interventions?

Learning interventions are broad and include: formal qualifications or short courses, watching videos or online webcasts, reading, self-study, attending seminars and workshops, on-the-job learning and development, executive coaching, mentoring, online learning, conferences, business breakfasts, etc.

If I don’t do any formal or verifiable learning interventions, for example I only do self-study (YouTube videos and self-research and reading), will that be acceptable?

The simple answer is yes as SAICA no longer requires learning to be measured by the number of hours you completed. Members/associates should however honestly reflect on whether self-study is appropriate given the set of future focused competencies employers are looking for.  Deeper learning may be required.

How many competencies should I list on my reflective plan? Does SAICA have a minimum number of competencies that should be listed?

SAICA does not prescribe how many competencies a member should list on the reflective plan as this should be role-specific and unique to your circumstances.

Members/associates should identify specific competencies in relation to each of the following areas that are required for you to be professionally competent in your role while preparing you for the future world of work:

      • Professional values and attitudes (ethics, lifelong learning and citizenship)
      • Enabling competencies (decision-making, business, digital and relational acumens)
      • Technical competencies in the value-creation process

Will there be compulsory competencies that I have to address on my plan? For example, Ethics or NOCLAR?

While SAICA retains the right to identify specific areas of CPD that are compulsory for all members, there is nothing specified at the moment. Members are encouraged to read the SAICA communication (via ASA magazine, bulk emails and SAICA social media) for information on compulsory competencies/learning interventions/training.

Can I draft a 3-5-year reflective plan? If so, what are my annual obligations to SAICA?

  • Members/associates can develop a longer term reflective plan.  This is however required to be reviewed and updated regularly (i.e. completion of relevant learning interventions and reflection of the suitability of that specific intervention) by the member.
  • Annually, members are required to submit the compulsory declaration that they have met the CPD requirements. If selected for monitoring, members would have to provide their reflective plans (and any supporting documentation, if they have any) that show the achievement of the various learning interventions listed on their plans.

How long are members/associates required to keep a copy of their reflective plan?

Members/associates are obliged to keep their records of completed CPD reflective plans for the three (3) most recent calendar years. By way of example:

  • Monitoring during 2021 will look at the period January 2020 to December 2020 (as this is from when the policy commenced)
  • Monitoring during 2022 will look at the period January 2020 to December 2021 (2 years)
  • Monitoring during 2023 will look at the period January 2020 to December 2022 (3 years)
  • Monitoring during 2024 will look at the period January 2021 to December 2023 (3 years) and from this point there is no longer a need to retain the 2020 reflective plan.

Am I required to submit my reflective plan every year to SAICA?

No. Members are only required to submit their reflective plans if they are selected for monitoring.

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.

If selected for monitoring by SAICA, what documentation am I required to submit?

A reflective plan is a tool/document that can be used to assess areas that require development in respect of the professional competence required to competently undertake your specific role.  To be effective, this tool/document should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis and should therefore be used continuously to reflect and evaluate learning interventions undertaken and to outline personal areas for growth and development. SAICA therefore needs to see evidence of the following steps on your reflective plan:

    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)
      3. Technical competencies in the value-creation process
    2. Self-assess (or use other mechanisms such as workplace performance evaluations) against these competencies and identify specific areas for development
    3. Undertake relevant learning interventions that can assist you in developing in the competence gap areas identified
    4. On completion of the learning intervention, reflect on the effectiveness of the learning interventions
    5. Assess progress made and identify further areas for achieving professional competence and identify further areas for achieving professional competence

Your reflective plan should demonstrate the process of reflection and application of mind to identifying competency gaps, relevant interventions to close the gaps and reflection post intervention on the extent to which the gap has been closed.

Members can access the Reflective plan Template here.

How will SAICA undertake the monitoring process?

SAICA is obliged to monitor members’ compliance with the CPD policy. In this regard, members/associates will be required to submit an annual declaration to SAICA reporting on his/her compliance with the CPD policy. Further to that, SAICA is required to verify that what members/associates are indicating on their annual declarations is a true reflection. This will be done through a monitoring process which will be carried out annually.
The Monitoring Process steps:

  • A random sample of members/associates will be selected annually to submit their reflective learning plans;
  • Members/associates will be notified by SAICA in writing via email of this selection;

SAICA will review the submissions and then where required, engage with members/associates on the content of the reflective plan to understand the process of reflection

What am I required to do in respect of CPD and complying with this policy if I am a tax practitioner? Will complying with the SARS requirements alone be sufficient?

    • It is insufficient to only meet the obligations of SARS if a SAICA member/associate is also a tax practitioner.
    • The specific SARS requirements are to undertake a minimum of 15 tax-related CPD hours per annum (calendar year).
      • 9 hours (60%) of tax-related CPD hours must be verifiable by SAICA
      • 6 hours (40%) of tax related CPD may be non-verifiable CPD – tax practitioners are required to record these hours and furnish details to SAICA.
      • Tax practitioners are required to keep records of the tax-related CPD hours for a period of five years.
      • Tax-related CPD activities must be captured and submitted in a form of an excel spreadsheet, Word document, PDF, Jpegs or a printout of a member’s log.
      • Submit the annual tax practitioner declaration reporting on compliance to tax-related CPD (when requested).
      • Members/associates can attend verifiable tax CPD courses through any institute, not just through SAICA.
    • Tax practitioners will need to meet both SAICA and any regulators ’ CPD requirements. This means that if you are a tax practitioner you need to (1) develop and regularly review your reflective plan and (2) undertake the 15 hours of tax-specific CPD as required by SARS. Of course one would expect that what is documented on the reflective plan is the need to undertake the specific tax CPD as required by SARS.

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    • Section 2.1.2 (h) of the new CPD policy note that members/associates who are required to fulfil certain additional requirements set out by an external regulator operating in the specialist area in which the member or associate is working, must take responsibility for satisfying the obligations for continued registration with this regulator/oversight body. In some cases, this may require additional reporting or submissions of declarations. It is the members’ responsibility to meet both SAICA’s and the regulators’ requirements.
    • Note that SAICA verifies the requirements of SARS on an annual basis as part of the annual tax practitioner declaration and audit process as it has been accredited by SARS as a RCB and is obliged to undertake this review of tax practitioners.

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Read the full CPD policy here.

Am I required to retain or submit evidence of attendance at events

Members/associates are not required to retain or submit evidence of attendance at events, unless they are required to submit verifiable evidence as part of meeting another body’s requirement (e.g. if you are a tax practitioner you are required to still maintain evidence of your verifiable number of hours undertaken).

If chosen for monitoring, the only evidence required to be submitted is a copy of the member’s/associate’s regularly updated reflective plan.

Members/associates can retain copies of attendance at learning interventions should they wish to do so.

If I get the plan wrong when I am monitored by SAICA, will I get an opportunity to correct it before I get penalised and will SAICA provide me with guidance as to where I went wrong?

Yes, in cases where SAICA is dissatisfied with the quality of the reflective plan submitted through the monitoring procedures, it may require further information from the member through an interview. Competency interviews will be done through the regional offices and members will get an opportunity to ask for guidance. Members can send an email to newcpdpolicy@saica.co.za if they want guidance on their reflective plans.

What if circumstances change during the year and have to change my plan, for example I change jobs and my responsibilities may change?

As and when a member’s/associate’s role changes either because of a new career path, a promotion within a career path or because your current position requires different aspects of professional competence to be demonstrated, it is wise to undertake a specific period of reflection and to update the reflective plan accordingly. Members/associates should reflect regularly against their plans even if their roles are not changing.

I am a stay-at-home mom, am I exempt from CPD? I do not plan on going back to work for a few years.

There are no exemptions granted in the new CPD policy. Lifelong learning encourages members/associates to remain relevant and stay abreast with new industry developments, especially if they are professionally active.

All members/associates must submit an annual declaration (including stay-at-home moms)

Members/associates will be required to indicate on the annual declaration whether they are professionally active or not. Any member/associate who is professional active is required to undertake the necessary learning and development to remain professionally competent.

If you are not professionally active, then SAICA would not expect to see a significant amount of learning and development activities being undertaken. However, as a stay-at-home mom, when you intend to return to work you will at that time need to be professionally competent (as required by the SAICA Code of Professional Conduct) for the role you are in. You are therefore encouraged to undertake some learning that will contribute towards you remaining professionally competent.

If I am a retiree, with no professional obligations, but want to remain a SAICA member, can I be exempt from CPD?

Members or associates who are retired or who are no longer professionally active are still required to submit an annual declaration confirming their circumstances.  As with stay-at-home moms, SAICA would not expect to see a significant amount of learning and development activities being undertaken (if any). However, should such members/associates be found to have declared their status dishonestly on the annual declaration, they will be referred to the Legal, Compliance and Discipline Department for further action.

I’m currently unemployed, however I don’t know what job I might end up in. What specific learning interventions should I undertake?

Even if unemployed, members/associates should continue to reflect on and undertake lifelong learning through relevant learning interventions. This does not need to be in the form of paid-for online courses as there is a wide variety of learning material available for free online and free learning and development activities are also provided by SAICA.

 

Members who are unemployed should use their best judgement based on the competencies required for their previous role(s) to identify any competence gaps and undertake learning activities to assist them in addressing these gaps. Members/associates should also consider the need for reskilling as employers are looking for a new skill set that is fit for the future.  To assist in this regard, SAICA has developed the CA Pathways to Relevance framework which will assist you in identifying the competencies you should develop to ensure you are fit for the future world of work. You can get more information here: https://ca2025.co.za/cpd-home/

 

As soon as the member ventures into a new role/identify what he/she would like to pursue, the member should then reflect on competencies required for the ‘new role’ and continue with their reflective plan accordingly.

What is the CA Pathways to Relevance (CAPtR) ?

The CA Pathways to Relevance is the name of the post-qualification competency framework.

 

The new future-focused competency framework provides a view of selected career paths and associated competencies required to remain relevant now and into the future. The framework defines the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for CAs(SA) within 10 identified career paths. Each career path has a defined set of competencies and denotes the required level of proficiency needed to perform the role effectively at entry, mid- and senior management levels.

For further information, kindly visit https://ca2025.co.za/cpd-home/

How will SAICA support members/associates to be compliant?

SAICA developed the CA Pathways to Relevance (CAPtR) and the reflective plan template to support members to be compliant. Furthermore, SAICA also offers webinars, seminars and training events to support members in this regard. There are also a number of resources available on the SAICA website

For further information, kindly visit the New CPD Policy microsite

What are the transitional arrangements from moving from input-based to output-based in terms of one’s CPD cycle?”

There are no transitional arrangements. The CPD policy came into effect on 1 January 2020.

What does non-compliance with the CPD policy constitute?

You will be considered non-compliant with the CPD policy if:

      • You do not submit your annual declaration timeously; or
      • You do not submit evidence of your reflective plan when selected for monitoring

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.

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.

How will I know if I have been selected for monitoring?

Members who are selected for monitoring will receive a request in writing (via email) from SAICA, detailing a date by which their documentation (the reflective plan) needs to be submitted.

CPD support services

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

DOWNLOADS

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

TEMPLATES

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

Latest Articles

VIDEOS

Business Unusual: Future of work and organisational mindset (Wednesday, 8 April 2020) Watch
Mandi Olivier CA(SA) – SAICA Senior Executive: Professional Development Watch
Principles behind the revisions to the CPD policy Watch
2020 policy key changes Watch
What is required of me as a member from 1 January 2020 Watch
What are the implications on the SAICA seminars and events Watch
What is the impact of the new policy on Registered Auditors and Tax Practitioners? Watch
Are there any exemptions from the revised CPD policy Watch