Why did I chat to SAICA about this?
Everyone tells you that your CA(SA) articles / training contract is going to be tough. But what if you feel that you’re in the wrong place, that you’re not getting the experience you should be, or that things are too bad to put up with?
SAICA regulations allow you to change firms during your articles. This is a serious decision, so it’s not to be taken lightly.
I chatted to Tonia Jackson from SAICA to get more insight, advice and information for people to consider if this is in their mind.
(If you enjoyed this, want us to chat about something else, or want more of these types of chats, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post)
Moving your training contract - The Penalty
If you want to change firms during your articles / training contract, you will get a 6 month penalty. This means that your training contract will be extended by 6 months.
What is upsetting you?
It’s important to understand what it really is that you’re worried about. In a lot of cases, it’s not the work that’s going to bring you to your knees.
One of the biggest stress factors in our training contract / articles is not the technical work itself. It’s the frustrations, deadlines, stresses, people issues, office politics etc. When I talk to people, these types of things are often the things they quote as reasons they want to leave. They want to go somewhere else, where they can focus more on the technical work, rather than having to deal with all this ‘other’ stuff. We chatted a bit about this.
Tonia mentioned that one of the changes of CA2025 will be that the focus will be far more on professional skills than technical skills. (I chatted to Mandi Olivier from SAICA about CA2025, watch that here)
Choosing your training office
The organisational culture, approachability of your managers and training officer and partners are crucial to your articles.
We tend to focus on the technical knowledge and exposure, the clients, the industries we’ll work in etc. While this is valid, the value of the training contract is that everyone needs to achieve the same competencies, regardless of the firms, the clients you’re on etc.
There will DEFINITELY be challenges during your training contract. If you have managers and partners who are approachable, if you can build a good relationship with them, it will be a lot easier to try deal with these situations. THIS may be the thing that makes or breaks your experience!
We also chatted a little about how to assess firms when you’re choosing.
Is the Big 4 'safer' for you?
A lot of students are very nervous about how their choice of firm will affect their articles. What if they choose the ‘wrong’ place? What if they don’t get the experience you need? What if… ?! There’s a lot to worry about. I often find that students feel that the Big 4 will be the safest option, because you don’t have to worry about this stuff.
The study leave discussion!
My philosophy on study leave isn’t popular, I know that!
But pay attention to WHY I don’t like it!
The value your articles adds to your career
Your training contract / articles WILL be tough. In so many ways that are not related to technical knowledge. This creates professional skills that will add value no matter what position or career path you take.
So may students tell me that they don’t want to do audit articles because they don’t want to be auditors. It’s important to know that your underlying skills that you get from auditing have WAY more value for your future career (in or out of auditing!).
I wrote an article on some of the underlying non-audit skills that audit articles will help you build. This is good to go through if you’re worried that audit articles are not for you because you don’t want to be an auditor:
Advice for people who are worried and want to change firms
Everyone says that your articles are tough, but what IS ‘tough’? Is your situation MORE tough than it should be? Is what you’re going through normal? Or is something wrong. Who do you talk to? You often can’t talk to people at your firm, you want some objective advice on whether this is part of the process, or there’s genuinely something wrong.
We find it really difficult to initiate tough conversations. This is also a professional skill, but it’s really not easy to do.
Tonia gave some great advice if you’re in this position. One of her comments is that you CAN talk to SAICA if you’re concerned.
To start with, you can email Tonia:
Competencies are changing in 2022
I chatted to Mandi Olivier about CA2025 a while back.
Both Mandi and Tonia have mentioned that the profession competencies are changing. For CA2025, this will impact your articles from 2022.
I’ll be scheduling a chat with SAICA to discuss this more in the near future.