FIGURES DON’T ADD UP
SOUTH AFRICA’S auditing groups are struggling to find enough chartered accountants, and universities are starting to experience difficulties in making quality appointments. And the reason in both cases is the same: graduates are being lured to greener pastures by massive salaries.
The SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), says SA has a shortage of 22 000 CAs. It’s doing its best to attract more CAs through, inter alia, its bursary scheme and its involvement in the Thuthuka project, which will be six years old this year. However, Saica’s not prepared to lower its standards, as shown clearly by its alleged threat to strip Wits’s once highly regarded department of its accreditation.
The problem is that universities find it difficult to find CAs prepared to work for a modest academic salary. Though some universities are prepared to appoint CAs on doctorate level scales, they have to cope with increasing numbers of vacant posts and even underqualified lecturers.
Young CAs are lured away to large organisations as financial heads, assistants, business analysts and even financial directors by salaries of up to R100 000/month. A glance at the latest issues of industry magazine Accountancy SA shows young people who have just completed their degrees and articles (involving at least seven years of studying) aren’t likely to be appointed at under R480 000/year.
And there are plenty of jobs. The November issue advertised at least 100 vacancies for qualified CAs at attractive salaries universities wouldn’t easily be able to match.