The purpose of this paper is to provide a contextual analysis of the professional accounting education programmes in South Africa and India by benchmarking both programmes to the International Education Standards (IESs) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
The research methodology is a qualitative archival approach extracting information from secondary data (Statements of Membership Obligations’ compliance questionnaires available on the IFAC web site and information from the web sites of the relevant professional accountancy bodies).
With regards to the IESs, the study found that both countries comply with the standards, although important differences occur. In South Africa, most of the education takes place during the university phase; and while both countries cover the content requirements, India covers the acquisition of professional skills more formally; ethics is taught and examined in both countries; both countries require a three year training contract; both countries have a final examination but the content of the examinations are different; and South Africa requires more continuous professional development than India. These findings, when related to India's and South Africa's relative positions on certain of the Global Competitiveness Indices may indicate that India could learn from the South African accountancy education model in order to strengthen the Indian position with regards to auditing and reporting standards.
A limitation of the study is that it did not investigate the quality of the relative education programmes and it benchmarks both programmes at a single point in time.
India could strengthen its accounting profession by implementing some of the South African aspects of its education model. South African could consider adopting the flexibility in the entry requirements in the Indian education model in order to increase the number of accountants in South Africa. These findings may also be useful to other developing countries to identify practices which could be adopted if suitable in their respective countries.
The study is original as accountancy education programmes in India and South Africa have not been contrasted before. In view of their similar colonial background and the fact that both countries are major economic and political forces in their respective regions, the value of this study is that it provides useful and relevant information to India, South Africa and other countries with similar economic and social backgrounds.
Stainbank, L. and Dutt Tewari, D. (2014), "Professional accounting education programmes in South Africa and India: A comparative study", Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 97-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAEE-12-2011-0056Download as .RIS
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