One of the accounting carrier paths that is recognised in Zimbabwe and in the world is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification. The qualification is granted and regulated by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Zimbabwe ICPAZ which a part of CPA international; it is also a member of the local Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) which oversees all accounting and auditing bodies in the country and also a member of the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA).
The good thing about this qualification is you can gain entry from Ordinary level up to post graduate level. The qualifying exams are divided into four levels:
The first level is named Formation 1 and you can gain entry into this qualification with as little as 5 O Level subjects including English Language and Mathematics/Accounts, in this level one writes three exam papers, Management in Organisation, Economics and Business Planning and Business Law and Professional Ethics. Exams windows are in April and August every year.
The next level is Formation 2 and apart from progressing from Formation 1, one can gain entry into this level with 2 A Level subjects including or National Diploma in Accounting. At this level you are required to complete 4 exam papers in Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Information Systems and Taxation.
The next level is called Professional 1 and this is an entry level for students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, to complete this level, a student has to complete four exams as well in Managerial Finance; Corporate Reporting; Corporate Laws and Governance; and Auditing.
The final level is called Professional 2 and it is an entry level for students with a Masters Degree in Accounting. At this level, there are three mandatory exams in Strategic and Leadership, Advanced Corporate reporting and Advanced Taxation; in addition to these, students have a prerogative to choose any two exams from three modules namely; Audit Practice and Assurance Services; Strategic Corporate finance and Strategic Performance Management (Elective).
In addition to the academic requirements as explained above aspiring CPA members are required to complete three years relevant supervised training before becoming members. But they are free to choose an employer and job sector, and they can switch employers whenever they want, although the CPA encourages them to complete training under one employer.
Training can be done at any TIPP or TOPP offices as I explained in my previous post on how to become a Chartered Accountant. You can read the post here http://jeffryndhlovu.com/2020/06/07/how-to-become-a-chartered-accountant-in-zimbabwe/.
Frequently Asked questions.
So how long does it normally take to complete the course?
The minimum duration for formation 1 and formation 2 is one year and the minimum duration for professional 1 and professional 2 levels is also 1 year. The three years experience requirement can be completed before, after or concurrently with the exams.
What designation and benefits will I use upon completion?
Upon completion, members can use the designation CPA(Z) with their names. One can also progress to register as a Public Auditor and work in public practice besides having various opportunities in in a wide range of business sectors, multinationals, finance, government, public practice and more. Employment opportunities are also available for part qualified students.
What are the costs involved?
The costs involved fore registration and exam fees can be found on the CPA(Z) website. Access them by clicking here.
Are there any schools (tuition providers) that teach the modules?
Yes! Various institutions offer classes such as Trust Academy, you can also self-study.
Where can I get more information?
The official website for ICPAZ can be found here. Feel free to contact me as well for any areas of correction and clarification.