/ 5 November 2008

SA faces shortage of qualified accountants

South Africa’s financial management and auditing sector is searching in vain for 22 030 qualified accountants, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) said on Wednesday.

The institute said a total of 22 030 accountants were needed immediately.

It also warned that the situation could worsen in the years ahead.

”The future looks bleak, given especially that economic growth is so reliant on people in the financial occupations. We are actively seeking solutions,” said SAICA executive president Ignatius Sehoole.

According to the institute, research indicated that South Africa was in an especially difficult situation and business growth expectations among the organisations canvassed could be stifled by lack of suitable qualified candidates, especially black candidates.

The institute said additional remuneration incentives were often required to retain financial staff.

”The researchers suggest that a total vacancy rate of between 7% and 12% is indicative of a skills shortage in financial occupations, with the shortage of black professional accountants presenting the most pressing problem.”

SAICA said what was also disconcerting was that South Africa was a net provider of high-level financial and accounting skills to the international market.

The total number of South African chartered accountants (CAs) living and working abroad was 6 097 — 22,7% of the total number of CAs.

”On average, 1,4% of CAs are leaving the country every year.” — Sapa