Stellenbosch University (SU) alumna Lauren Tsafandakis clinched top spot in the Initial Test of Competence of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).
Four other SU candidates also cracked a top spot nod. Caleigh Robson (third position), Petra Laubscher (2022 academic trainee, sixth position), Dillon Ribeiro (seventh position), and Robert Searle (joint ninth position). All of them passed the exam with honours – 75% or more.
The ITC is the first of two professional qualifying exams aspiring chartered accountants must pass on their journey to achieving the CA(SA) designation.
The test is written twice a year and ITC tests candidates’ ability to apply technical competence gained during the Saica-accredited academic programme, which consists of an undergraduate and a postgraduate programme.
A total of 266 BAccounting Honours (BAccHons) and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting 2021 candidates of the university’s School of Accounting (Soa) sat the ITC exam in January this year, the most of all 15 Saica-accredited residential universities and private providers (the University of Johannesburg, UJ, is second with 227 candidates).
The cohort obtained a 97% pass rate, compared to a national pass rate of 78%. This places SU third among the 15 residential providers nationally.
The university also delivered by far the largest number of candidates nationwide of all providers who passed the exam the first time, with 257 passes (UJ is second with 172 passes).
SU Rector and Vice-Chancelor Professor Wim de Villiers said these Saica results prove once again, that the university is succeeding in its vision of being a leading African institution of higher education that produces graduates who strive for excellence.
De Villiers said despite the difficult circumstances created by the pandemic, the Soa had delivered top-notch accountants into the sector.
“I want to congratulate our alumni and the dedicated staff who assisted them on their journey to success. South Africa’s financial sector is stronger because of their hard work and determination,” he said.
Professor Pieter von Wielligh, director and Vice-Dean: School of Accountancy and current Acting Vice-Dean: Learning and Teaching of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, said the excellent achievement by the Soa’s BAccHons and PGDA students in the ITC not only underlines the quality of the teaching offered by the Soa in a concrete and visible way, but also the calibre of students that the Soa attracts, and how they then apply themselves to develop holistically by using the enabling environment that the Soa and greater university creates for them.
“The Soa is immensely proud of the excellent performance of its class of 2021, who will now go on to become the business leaders of the future, locally and internationally, adding value to not just the business community, but to society at large. This comes amid the challenges, trials and tribulations that staff, current students and alumni have been experiencing since March 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, it is a truly remarkable achievement,” Von Wielligh said.