Document Type Doctoral Thesis Author Wolman, Basil Sylvesta URN etd-11102010-174252 Document Title The future horizons of accountancy education in South Africa : a review of the educational requirements until 1990 Degree DCom Department Accounting and Auditing Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof C W I Pistorius Supervisor Keywords
- accountancy education in South Africa
- financial statements
- management effectiveness
Date 1976-05-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractAccountancy education in South Africa has been very controversial during the last few years and this controversy has led to objective self-examination by academics. It is acknowledged that there has been a substantial growth in the body of knowledge generally and that the accountancy profession has also been faced not only with a certain growth in the body of knowledge but also with a growth in society's expectations of the profession. These expectations could possibly include the expression of opinions on the fairness of profit forecasts and projected financial statements, including the underlying assumptions and opinions on management effectiveness. Possibly in order to accept greater responsibilities for the detection of fraud and the anticipated growth of society's expectations and greater utilisation of the computer, the future chartered accountant will be expected to be more proficient. This leads to the premise that a broader and less technique-oriented education is required for the future chartered accountant in South Africa.
Developments overseas indicate that the profession in certain countries, plays a very active role in the final year of the accountancy education of its trainee accountants. In Australia the "Professional Year" is organised by The Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The candidates are evaluated on their performance during the "Professional Year" in assignments as well as their participation in classes, their attendance at the sessions and their successful completion of the final examination which is not regarded as a hurdle. In countries such as Canada and Scotland the institutes play an active role in promoting their own block-release courses. In Scotland the institute has its own lecturing staff, whereas in Canada in the province of Ontario, the Ontario Institute uses staff of the larger firms.
In certain countries the final qualifying examination is intended to be difficult and case studies are used in the examination. In certain countries where the universities playa greater role in the educational process, the accountancy institutes are phasing out their own examinations. In other countries multiple-choice questions are set as a matter of expediency, where very large numbers of candidates are involved. In other countries, where the number of candidates is not too large, candidates do oral examinations and write theses as well. Complaints have been made about the length of the courses in South Africa, but in some countries accountants qualify between the age of 30 and 35 years.
It is submitted that accountancy education in South Africa has been too technique-oriented and a happy medium between a conceptual and technique-oriented approach is required. University academics should play a more active role in research, and it is suggested that the Public Accountants' and Auditors' Board should give serious consideration to the possibility of reducing the number of contracting universities that are entitled to educate students for a Certificate in the Theory of Accountancy. The ultimate requirement for the profession is graduate entry, but in the interim entry standards must be improved and it is suggested that the profession create a trust fund utilising the Accounting Development Foundation, which could make bursaries available and thus make the profession more attractive to bright scholars. It is not envisaged that a detailed common body of knowledge should be prescribed, but more stringent conditions for the approval of contracting universities, should lead them to define the details themselves. This should not be stultifying, but should encourage research, which in the long run is in the interests of the profession. Communication between members of the profession and academics is essential to promote research and ensure the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
It is also submitted that the final qualifying examination has had an undesirable effect on the teaching. This is because the proficiency of lecturers is generally measured by the success of the candidates in the final qualifying examination. A change in the format of the final qualifying examination is therefore imperative. A more case-study oriented examination is proposed.
The value of the practical-experience requirement (articles) is questioned. It is submitted that for the practical ¬experience requirement to be meaningful, greater and more effective control of the quality of experience, to which the trainee accountant is exposed, is required. It is recommended that articles of clerkship or service contracts be dispensed with and that the training quotas of firms be more flexible, depending on circumstances. For the trainee accountant's experience to be meaningful it is necessary that his principal be kept up to date continuously with the latest developments which will result in greater emphasis being placed on required continuing education. The introduction of a quality review programme by the profession to improve the performance standards of its members is recommended. The abovementioned requirements, namely more effective control of practical-experience requirements, the introduction of a quality review programme and required continuing education as well as the fact that the decision making process in the accountancy profession is cumbersome and time-consuming necessitates a rationalisation of the controlling bodies in the profession.
A questionnaire was designed to test the opinion of the respondents with regard to various controversial issues surrounding accountancy education. It appears that the profession does not want to accept greater responsibility for the possible extensions of the attest function and it can be stated that it favours the retention of the audits of private companies.
It is thus obvious that certain changes are urgently required and the profession as well as academics will have to define its priorities very carefully. In the final analysis it must be borne in mind, that the profession must not overlook the public interest.
© 1976 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.
Please cite as follows:
Wolman, BS 1976, The future horizons of accountancy education in South Africa : a review of the educational requirements until 1990, DCom, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11102010-174252/ >
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