Get an Accounting Designation, while studying

In a breakthrough for accounting students, the SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) has announced the launch of a new programme called U2Pro (“University to Professionals”) which allows them to earn an accounting designation while still studying or engaged in work-study programmes.

What makes this a world-first is that students will be able to gain work experience in two ways: in a physical accounting office, or in a virtual accounting office. Saiba, in collaboration with Middel & Partners – one of the largest privately-owned accounting firms in SA – offers students a completely immersive, augmented reality learning experience that replicates actual office conditions, such as client engagement, dispute resolution, team management and simulated audits. These are skills generally learned only after several years of actual work experience, but can now be accessed by accounting students at the start of their careers.

“The problem that many accounting and business students have is that they do not have professional recognition after completing their studies, which can make it harder for them to find employment,” says Nicolaas van Wyk, CEO of Saiba.

The skills needed by the accountant of the future:

The type of skills needed in the future will be leadership and interpersonal skills, as well as general problem solving and critical thinking skills (Source: World Government Summit 2019). Van Wyk says existing academic programmes are ill-prepared to offer the kind of skills required of the accountant of the future.

“It’s no longer sufficient to have technical knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting. You need a much wider arsenal of skills, including business analysis, strategy, IT and team leadership. This is precisely what we are offering. Our augmented reality programme allows a student using very advanced hardware and software developed in collaboration with Middel & Partners, to gain learning experience in a simulated environment that would otherwise only be available to accountants after several years in practice.”

In addition to full-time accounting students, the U2Pro programme is also targeting those studying part-time while holding down a job in an accounting practice.

By participating in the U2Pro programme, these students will now be able to apply for the BA (SA) or Business Accountant (SA) designation while still undergoing their studies.

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Hennie Krige

Chartered Accountant since 2020 and Associate director of Pretoria East Branch since March 2022. With experience in the field of auditing, assurance, tax, advisory and forensic accounting, he’s been involved with a wide variety of locally owned audit clients operating in a range of economic sectors including co-operative banking, retail, manufacturing, and non- profit organisations.