SAICA’s Assessment of Professional Competence (APC)
What is the APC?
The Assessment of Professional Competence is the final academic requirement to qualifying as a CA(SA). The APC is a case study assessment that focuses on professional skills, requiring you to apply the technical competence you have already demonstrated at university and in the ITC to a scenario that simulates the real-life expectations placed on a newly-qualified CA(SA).
What is the APC exam date?
The SAICA APC will be written in November 2017.
What are the pre-requisites to write the APC?
In order to be eligible to write the APC, Candidates must have:
- Successfully passed the Initial Test of Competence (ITC);
- Completed 20 months of a 36-month training contract by the beginning of November 2016; and
- Successfully completed a Professional Programme accredited by SAICA.
The APC Professional Programme
What makes a good Professional Programme?
A good professional programme must have outstanding Academics with technical knowledge, industry experience and an understanding of real-world business issues. Some of our Academics are sitting on the board of directors of listed companies and are intricately involved in the decision-making that SAICA will be testing.
The programme should allow for the revisiting of technical knowledge to ensure a well-rounded understanding of all disciplines combined with a focus on developing professional skills.
A good professional programme must have a sound case study methodology that will provide you with a framework with which to approach the reading, preparation for and writing of the case study exam.
What is the structure of UCT Board Course’s Professional Programme?
UCT Board Course’s Professional Programme is delivered in blended format comprising online learning and face-to-face contact sessions. The programme includes the following components:
- Contact lecture sessions;
- Video topics and transcripts;
- Downloadable PDF study material;
- Online discussion forums;
- Case studies; and
- Assessments under exam conditions.
These components are supported by a comprehensive repository of technical content, practice MCQ’s, and a Resource Bank of industry-specific analyses.
When does registration close?
Registration closes on Friday, 31 March 2017, and the programme commences 3 April 2017.
What is expected of Candidates participating in this Programme?
Be ready to work hard. This is not the kind of programme where it is enough to turn up and sign the register. You will be submitting regular assignments right from the beginning, and you need to be committed to keeping yourself on track.
We try to keep our workload balanced and reasonable throughout the programme, but we will expect a lot from you. Hopefully you expect a lot from yourself too.
What language is the Programme presented in?
The programme is presented in English. You may answer assessments in either English or Afrikaans.
What are the objectives of the programme?
- To grow your ability to apply the strategic and managerial aspects of the broader accountancy discipline;
- To develop your professional competence;
- To challenge you to apply the pervasive skills;
- To teach you how to integrate and apply technical knowledge and professional skills; and
- To prepare you for the specific format of the APC.
What is the duration of the programme?
Our programme starts in April and finishes in October 2017. This early start allows us enough time to revisit technical content as well as a period during which to hone your business communication skills.
What is the APC Professional Programme schedule?
Our programme uses a phased approach according to the following dates:
|Candidates given access to VLE||03 April 2017|
|Lecture 1||03 April – 06 April 2017|
|Group case studies||10 April – 05 May 2017|
|Individual assignments||10 May – 26 May 2017|
|Lecture 2||12 June – 15 June 2017|
|Mock exam||19 June – 23 June 2017 (written on 24 June 2017)|
|Business Communication phase||24 July – 11 August 2017|
|Peer marked case studies||15 August – 01 September 2017|
|Lecture 3||04 September – 07 September 2017|
|Final assessment||08 September – 12 September 2017 (written on 13 September 2017)|
|Supplementary assessment||09 October – 13 October 2017 (written on 14 October 2017)|
The programme culminates in a final written exam on 14 September 2016. Should you need to write a supplementary exam, this will be at the discretion of the Academic team and will be written on 15 October 2016. The APC is scheduled for November 2016.
What is covered during the Programme?
The APC is a single integrated assessment that will be written by all trainees, irrespective of their training specialisation. The assessment will integrate all six of the subjects contained within the SAICA Competency Framework: Strategy, Risk Management & Governance; Financial Reporting; Financial Management; Audit; Management Decision Making & Control; and Tax. These subjects are the focus of the ITC and of your undergraduate and CTA/PGDA studies (although they may have been named and grouped differently at your university).
The focus of the APC is on the demonstration of professional competence and pervasive skills rather than the recall of technical knowledge. The APC is a case study assessment, and looks very different to the ITC. This format will require candidates to apply the technical knowledge already mastered in addressing real-life business problems – researching issues, completing tasks, evaluating alternatives and recommending appropriate actions in various contexts.
What are the contact sessions about?
Our goal is to give you the highest possible return on your investment of time at each contact session. The sessions are positioned at key moments in the programme to allow us to lay the foundations for what is to come, to introduce and develop key ideas, and to inspire you to continue to pursue your full potential through the programme.
Contact sessions are hosted at central venues in major cities across the country. Please enquire as to which venue is closest to you. Alternatively, you can watch the recorded sessions online.
Can I attend another venue’s contact session if I am out of town?
Yes, you can attend contact sessions at any venue, or you can watch the recorded sessions online.
How much study leave will I need?
This is for your Firm to decide, but we recommend the following:
- For the mock exam written on 24 June 2017, the pre-release period (during which students have the case scenario but no required section) will be 5 days. We do suggest that employers consider granting leave for this time.
- For the final exam to be written 13 September 2017, participants should be granted leave from the pre-release period commencing Friday 8 September 2017, in line with the SAICA APC assessment format. Dates are subject to change.
- We grant a slightly longer pre-release period for the supplementary exam on 14 October, in case those required to write have used up their leave allocation. Ideally you should aim to dedicate the equivalent of five full days to your preparation for the case study.
- For the SAICA APC in November 2017, we suggest that leave be granted from the commencement of the pre-release period.
It is important to note that the format of our APC Professional Programme is no less demanding than any other. It may offer a greater degree of flexibililty, but it is no less demanding on participants’ time than any other programme.
Will I have access to academic support right up to the SAICA APC?
No, unfortunately SAICA does not allow us to provide academic support once the pre-release period has commenced. You will however, still have access to all videos, material, notes and the resource bank on the online learning platform. You can also make use of the forums to prepare in your groups or discuss and debate the pre-release information amongst your peers to benefit from the varied experience of other students.
What if I have an academic query?
You will receive academic support from a team of UCT experts. All academic queries will be addressed via the online discussion forum, which means you will always be able to address your query to the best person for the job, and you will receive a speedy response. It also means that you will be able to view and benefit from the academic queries of your peers and participate in debate or discussions.
Handbooks and Study Material
What material will I receive?
Our preparation for the APC is unlike revision for the ITC – there is no large file of notes that you need to work through in your own time, and no trying to catch up with recommended study timetables or cramming on the final weekend! Our model focuses on keeping you on track with a weekly structure of content, practice and feedback, and requires regular submission of assignments and case studies.
Will we need new handbooks when writing the exam?
No, we suggest that at this stage you use the handbooks that you used for the ITC and we will draw to your attention any changes to the handbooks that are made thereafter. Depending on what issues arise in the case study, you may wish to print out copies of the updated material that we will help you get access to, and you are entitled to include those in the file that you bring into the exam.
I have all my PGDA/CTA notes / Board Course files from ITC, can I still use them?
Yes, we suggest you keep them. You might get a case where you need to research an issue that is dealt with nicely in the ITC notes. You will not have to read all of them again, just the parts that get included in the pre-release of the various cases.
Assessments and Final Exam
Can I submit typed assignments?
Yes you may. In 2016 the UCT Board Course encouraged all candidates to write electronically, and we are doing so again in 2017 as the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Special permission may be granted for Candidates to write by hand.
Are we graded on assignment submissions for the six accounting principles?
Yes, you will receive detailed feedback about your level of competency – no marks remember!
Why do I have to write formal exams?
To ensure that you understand and are able to apply the case study methodology, you will write two formal assessments under exam conditions. This is to fully prepare you for SAICA’s Assessment of Professional Competence in November.
You will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the programme. This certificate will allow you to write SAICA’s Assessment of Professional Competence.
In addition, UCT Board Course will advise SAICA of your successful completion.
When are these exams written?
The mock exam is scheduled for 24 June 2017 and the final is scheduled for 13 September 2017. The supplementary exam is scheduled for 14 October 2017.
Where will the exams be written?
Venue details will be made available to registered students prior to the start of contact sessions and exams.
What language are the exams written in?
These exams can be written in English or Afrikaans.
Are we allowed to bring any notes into the exam?
Yes, you can bring any notes you deem relevant in a lever arch file. This file cannot be thicker than 8cm.
UCT Board Course: Our Programme and How It Works
Who is the UCT Board Course?
UCT Board Course is the UCT College of Accounting’s suite of programmes specifically tailored to the professional education of trainee chartered accountants.
Who are the lecturers that will provide me with Academic support?
Our Academic team comprises of internationally recognised UCT College of Accounting lecturers. To find out more about each of our lecturers download our 2017 information pack.
Why should I do my Professional Programme with UCT Board Course?
Since the first APC in 2014, the UCT Board Course has been delivering an outstanding learning experience to our candidates, who have consistently outperformed the national average pass rate in every sitting of the SAICA APC. The team has worked closely with SAICA since before the introduction of the APC, and knows what to expect of the November APC. The feedback from the candidates on prior presentations of our programme was overwhelmingly positive, and we are taking the best of our programme and making it even better for 2017.
To successfully complete the APC, it is important that you have as many opportunities to practice and receive insightful feedback as possible. Our programme is designed around creating these opportunities with a structured approach that will have you 100% exam fit by the final assessment.
We understand the demands on you as a Trainee Accountant, and the format of our programme will offer you maximum flexibility – allowing you to balance your study time and work load. As long as you stick to the submission deadlines, you can decide when to do your work and how much to do in each session. Our Virtual Learning Environment is easy to navigate, and our Programme Coordinator is always just an email or phone call away.
My firm restricts Internet access, now what?
We make arrangements with your firms to ensure that you will have access to our learning platform. In the event that your firm cannot lift the restriction on video content we will provide this separately for upload to your intranet.
How much bandwidth will I need?
Less than 100MB over 2 weeks.
Must I watch everything online?
Not necessarily, you can download what you need onto your desktop and watch it in your own time and as many times as you like.
Will I have technical support?
Yes, you will have access to a dedicated Programme Coordinator that will assist with all technical queries.
What makes the online experience of this programme superior?
Online education is about more than simply filming a lecture and putting it online. This is not best practice. There are specific education methods that follow behavioural science enhancing learning through online education.
Over the past three years, we have been constantly refining our model to offer you an outstanding learning experience. Most importantly, our online learning model allows for flexibility so that you can study at a time that suits you best. You will be able to watch videos over and over, take quizzes and have access to a reservoir of resources 24/7 on any computer or mobile device.
It is important that an online learning model incorporates bite-sized content so that you never feel overwhelmed and follows a linear learning path to guide you through your weekly tasks.
Registrations and Payment
Who should register?
All Trainee Accountants who have passed the ITC and will have completed 20 months of a 36-month training contract by the beginning of November 2017, may register.
When can I register?
You can register for the APC Professional Programme at any time between Monday, 9 January and Friday, 31 March 2017.
How do I register?
You can register by completing the registration form on our website. Be sure to complete all requested fields with the relevant details and click submit. A member of our Team will be in contact to confirm your registration and payment details.
What does the Programme cost and when are fees due?
R 10 900 per person due by 30 April 2017.
Payment Plan (Not applicable to firms)
R11 500 per person (R3 850 due on 30 April, R3 850 due on 30 June and R3 800 due on 31 August 2017).
Firms committing to block bookings will be able to apply for discounted rates.