SAIGA looking forward to welcoming the 2022 candidates in the Registered Government Auditor professional training

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The Southern African Institute of Government Auditors (SAIGA) says the finance professionals from the public sector, academia and the private sector who will be undergoing the Government Auditing Specialism Programme (GASP) during the year 2022 will be the first group to be trained with the additional and revamped modules to effectively audit and perform accounting functions, specifically in the public sector. 

The GASP training is mandatory for any individual with interests to be certified and recognised as an accounting and auditing professional and be in line to be awarded with the Registered Government Auditor (RGA) professional designation. In South Africa, only the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is mandated with the role and responsibility of registering and recognising professional bodies such as SAIGA, including the registration of professional designations such as RGA. 

However, people often get confused between statutory professional bodies, which are established as a result of an Act of Parliament and govern the practice of specific occupations in South Africa. Anyone who is in a profession that is governed by a statutory professional body must be registered with such a relevant South African professional body or council to practice their occupation in South Africa. 

Early in 2021 SAQA issued a very bold statement educating the public and to warn non-statutory professional bodies that are recognised by the country’s only qualifications authority that their recognition status by SAQA as non-professional bodies does not give them any powers to overrule others. The statement issued by SAQA on June 14, 2021, emphasised the following: 

Non-statutory professional bodies have no statutory authority to regulate any trade, occupation or profession; 

A non-statutory professional body exercises professional authority by virtue of its constitution/founding document, which binds its members only; and

Membership / registration concerning a non-statutory professional body is voluntary.

Due to the agility, competitiveness, global trends and requirements, nature and powers bestowed within the finance and accounting services, which includes auditing, many employers, government and non-governmental do not just accept and recognise an individual who only possesses an academic qualification, who does not undergo professional development and without a professional designation being conferred by professional bodies, whether statutory or non-statutory to such an individual. 

This is the reason SAIGA, since its inception in 1988, has always been there to serve the public sector and society by advancing public accountability and auditing through the recognition and certification of the Registered Government Auditors. The 2022 SAIGA’s GASP professional training development will continue to be offered to candidates in a hybrid mode, and the programme will be divided into two groups, of first and second semesters. 

The first group of professionals will begin their route to become RGAs from 4 to 7 April 2022, covering areas such as financial governance, ethics in the public sector, principles and ethics of auditing, regulatory framework within government, public entities and at the municipalities level in relation to accounting and auditing. 

Thereafter, from 23 to 27 May 2022, the attendees will be trained in the public sector specific accounting module in terms of the standards of Generally Recognised Accounting Practice (GRAP). The GRAP accounting standards are issued by the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) in terms of section 89 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and are applicable to government departments, public entities, constitutional institutions, municipalities and boards, commissions, companies, corporations, funds or other entities under the ownership control of a municipality, parliament and the provincial legislatures in relation. 

Although the RGA professionals are well equipped with public sector-specific knowledge, skills and capabilities, the accounting module also includes International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The IFRSs specify how organisations must maintain and report their accounts, defining types of transactions and other events with financial impact. 

These standards were established to create a common accounting language, so that businesses and their financial statements can be consistent and reliable from company to company and country to country. South Africa is a very unique country, where some public entities are only not mandated to fulfil the needs of citizens but to also ensure long-term sustainability. How can an organisation thrive for long-term sustainability without making some profits?

Thereafter, the last training block will train candidates in the auditing module from 4 to 19 July 2022. The auditing module is the longest and it will develop professionals with training in the areas such as principles of public-sector auditing and financial auditing, fraud and forensic auditing, auditing of performance information, 3Es, and using information technology in audits, among others.

GASP training dates (2022, first intake) are:

4-7 April 2022 (Governance, ethics & regulatory framework)

23-27 May 2022 (Accounting)

4-19 July 2022 (Auditing)

GASP training dates (2022, second intake) are:

1-4 August 2022 (Governance, ethics & regulatory framework)

5-9 September 2022 (Accounting)

10-25 October 2022 (Auditing)

People may register to start their 2022 RGA professional development training programme by visiting https://publicsectoracademy.co.za/, or via an email to Portia Morai at [email protected] The Public Sector Accountancy and Audit Academy (PSAAA) is the recognised provider of the GASP training and RGA professional development training programme. PSAAA can be contacted for any other short courses or CPD (continuing professional development) programmes within the public sector finance, accounting and auditing.

What happens after completing the attendance of the training programmes

Upon successful completion of the GASP training programme and evidence of the necessary practical work experience, candidates will first be assessed through three-part integrated GASP assessment, and thereafter, will be eligible to sit down for for the RGA board examinations (RGA QE), which is also a three-part closed book integrated assessment. It does not matter whether a candidate enrols for this prestigious training programme with the first or second group; a Registered Government Auditor designation holder is well equipped to:

  • Manage all aspects of an external audit as it applies to a specific public sector institution, or department;
  • Identify, audit and report ethically on associated risks of a public sector institution, or department;
  • Audit and report ethically on the financial health status of a public sector institution, or department; and 
  • Document, conclude, report and communicate audit findings including but not limited to managing an accounting function of a public sector department, or public entity.     

The requirements

In order for one to be accepted into the GASP training programme, candidates must have a minimum NQF Level 7 degree in Accounting and Auditing (or equivalent), verifiable work experience of at least 18-months in conducting external audits as well as SAIGA membership registration. The awarding of the RGA professional designation will only take place when an individual submits proven three years’ work experience or signed-off three years’ articles. SAIGA supports and promotes the recognition of prior learning (RPL), therefore, RPL can be granted into the GASP training and in the RGA QE board exams. Haremakale Ramakhetheng may be contacted via email at [email protected] for any RPL related queries and to be accepted into the profession through the RPL route. 

Becoming a member of SAIGA

Membership requirements to join SAIGA may vary from one individual to another based on work experience since membership categories cover practicing professionals, academics, full-time students, and non-practicing professionals. One can become a SAIGA member by visiting https://www.membership.saiga.co.za/Account/Register, or send an email to Mandisa Mboshana at [email protected] 

Other contributions of SAIGA to society

SAIGA publishes the academic scientific research journal Southern African Journal of Accountability and Accounting Research (SAJAAR), which is fully accredited by the national department of higher education and training (DHET). The aim of SAJAAR, published annually during Nov/Dec, is to advance scholarly research and debate into accountability and auditing related topics. The 2021 volume 21 of SAJAAR will be officially launched to the public in January 2022.

In 2021, SAIGA also introduced its first annual conference themed Citizens Come First and every year the SAIGA conference will provide solutions that captures societal needs, in particular an improvement in the public sector in terms of governance, good ethical conduct, competencies, new knowledge, skills and better ways of doing things. SAIGA has already begun sharing a series of podcasts from the conference speakers with a whitepaper planned for the release before the official launch of the 2022 conference in February 2022. 

The year 2022 will see the introduction of SAIGA’s quarterly technical publication, aimed at enhancing technical capabilities and imparting new technical knowledge and skills of existing professionals, academics, government departments, public entities, and the industry at large in the areas of finance, accounting and auditing. This technical publication will contribute towards technical research locally and globally. 

Collaboration between SAIGA and the Fasset SETA (the Sector Education and Training Authority for the Finance, Accounting, Management Consulting and other Financial Services sector) saw an enrolment of 50 people with experience in the public sector accounting and auditing but did not possess or were still undergoing a process to be awarded with the RGA professional designation.

SAIGA can be contacted via WhatsApp: 0695387276, Tel: 0120040741, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Email: [email protected]

Website: www.saiga.co.za

— Russel Morena is the Chief Executive Officer of SAIGA 

About the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors

SAIGA is a non-profit professional body that serves the public interest. Since its inception in 1988, the role and functions of SAIGA have been to serve the public sector and society by advancing public accountability and auditing in its widest sense. As a professional body, SAIGA represents a unique brand of professionals, the Registered Government Auditors (RGA) in the public sector and academia. The RGA is considered the highest professional designation within public sector auditing.

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