Students’ perspective on the effectiveness of the third-year accounting project in developing SAICA competencies.
Khumalo, Qondeni Penelope.
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Examiners have identified gaps in certain pervasive and technical skills when analyzing students’ answers for the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) Initial Test of Competency (ITC). It has been observed that students are not able to apply logical thinking, argue and reach conclusions on issues, which are some of the skills expected from the profession. This results in newly-qualified chartered accountants (CAs) being under-prepared to work in the industry. This study aimed to establish students’ perceptions of how the University of Zululand’s (UniZulu) third-year Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Studies project enhanced these competencies in preparation for the CA qualification. The project aims to develop the personal attributes and professional skills set out in the SAICA Competency Framework. Personal attributes include working effectively as a team, planning, effectively managing the project and treating others professionally. Professional skills involve gathering, analyzing and critically interpreting information and ideas in order to make sound decisions to solve problems and communicate effectively. A quantitative approach was employed and the study population consisted of third-year UniZulu Accounting students. A questionnaire was developed to address the identified issues. The study’s results that are supported by the literature indicate that working on projects is a more effective tool than lectures in developing these competencies and enhancing students’ understanding of the profession’s requirements.