After graduation contrary to what many may expect, most accounting graduates find themselves more confused than they were before they gained a degree because of various paths that are available for them to pursue in order to be employable.
Unlike other disciplines, in Accounting a degree is simply not enough to cut it anymore.
If one intends to make a mark in the corporate world, one will be looking at various professional qualifications that are difficult to explain or distinguish for many.
On of those path is that to becoming a Chartered Accountant in Zimbabwe is the Certificate of Theory in Accounting (CTA) route which is currently the most prestigious professional qualification in the country which offers various opportunities for international carriers in accounting.
How to become a Chartered Accountant CA (Z)
The entry requirements to becoming a chartered accountant are as follows:
1. You should have an accounting degree not more than three years old from the graduation date. If the degree is more than 3 years old, one will have to do a one year bridging course before proceeding to the next qualification called the Zimbabwe Certificate of Theory in Accounting (ZCTA).
2. Be attached to an accredited training office. You can do the Certificate of Theory in Accounting CTA and ITC program without the training but you will not be allowed to sit for the final APC exams without these. The list of accredited training offices can be found by clicking here.
3. After passing the ZCTA, one will proceed to writing the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) exam which is written two times a year either in January or June. To qualify for entry to the ITC, you must have passed the ZCTA and must not be more than three years old. This generally means that candidates enter for the ITC during their first year of their training contracts or before they start training.
4. The final exam in becoming a Chartered Accountant is the Assessment of Professional Competency (APC) exam. To qualify the exam Candidates must have passed the ITC and have completed at least 20 months of a contract by the beginning of the month in which the examination is written (The exam is written once a year in November).
After completing the whole three years and all exams, one can then apply to be admitted as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Zimbabwe upon approval begin to use the designation CA (Z).
There are currently three service providers for the CTA program in Zimbabwe namely CAA, NUST and UNISA, these service providers only enroll students who have accounting degrees which are not more than 3 years.
For the UNISA program, the ZCTA program is offered by UNISA in conjunction with ICAZ where 4 modules are offered by UNISA and one module the Zim Tax module is offered by ICAZ. This program has no exemptions, all five modules are written in one sitting and all have to be passed at once.
Types of training offices
There are two types of training offices commonly known with the abbreviations of TIPP and TOPP.
TIPP stands for Training Inside Public Practice and candidates who complete their training at these firms can go on to register as Public Accountants or Auditors.
TOPP stands for Training Outside Public Practice and most firms within this category are commercial organisations such as banks, retail organisations e etc. A candidate that qualifies within these firms cannot be a Registered Public Accountant or Auditor unless they go on to train into TIPP firms.
Frequently asked questions
Can i be hired by a training office with just a degree?
Although it is relatively easy to gain employment from a TOPP firm, my research shows that currently TIPP firms are hiring people with CTA with a few exceptions.
What is the likely cost of CTA?
To most people CTA is quite pricey. Our research shows that depending on the institution you do it with, you are looking at about US$1000 per semester give or take.
Are there any funding arrangements for CTA?
In fortunate circumstances, training offices may make arrangements to pay for CTA for students and make repayment arrangements, this used to be the common practice but such opportunities are gradually decreasing. Alternatively based on merit it is possible to get funding through scholarship opportunities such as The Vimbiso Scholarship Fund.
How long is the estimated time to becoming a Chartered Accountant after registering for CTA?
For a student who is studying on a part time basis, the minimum time to qualification is 3 years.
Feel free to comment and contact me for any areas of clarification