Accounting And Finance

Accounting and Finance are closely related, but different.  Accounting tends to focus on the day-to-day management of financial reports and records via financial statements, income statements and balance sheets whereas Finance uses the same information to project future growth, analyse expenditure and to strategise company finances. 

Accounting and Finance are closely related, but different.  Accounting tends to focus on the day-to-day management of financial reports and records via financial statements, income statements and balance sheets whereas Finance uses the same information to project future growth, analyse expenditure and to strategise company finances. 

Accounting will therefore involve the use of professional principles and processes used to manage numbers whereas Finance involves financial strategy and control which influences the numbers in a business.


Accounting specialisations include auditing, tax, risk assessment, international accounting, and management accounting.  Forensic accounting is another possible option, allowing students to immerse themselves in real-life case studies relating to fraud, electronic crime, insurance claims and corporate ethics. 

Common specialisations for those who study finance include corporate finance, financial evaluation, derivatives, capital markets, financial modelling, quantitative finance, investment management, financial regulation, and financial reporting.

In the current South African economy, the jobs that are in most demand are for financial reporting accountants, financial managers, analysts, corporate finance specialists and internal auditors. Between 70% and 80% of professionals have indicated a sense of confidence for job opportunities in the sector – depending on the specific industry.

Graduate starting salaries range from R178-R210 000 for auditing (TIPP), R276-R320 000 for TOPP with Finance graduate salaries ranging from R266-R300 000. Starting salaries for Investment and Business Analysts range from R300-R470 000.

Accountants are found in every business sector from professional services firms to banking, to ITC companies, engineering, and mining firms to travel and tourism.  With an accounting qualification, you really do have the opportunity to choose the type of business or industry that appeals to you!  Once qualified, CA’s have the deep financial expertise and broad business insight that sees them placed at the highest level of business as CEO’s, Financial Directors, Board Directors, business owners and in strategic senior management positions.  The CA(SA) designation offers tremendous career mobility, denoting a global understanding of accounting standards, methodologies, and business expertise.


With a qualification in Finance, you may end up being a financial analyst in industry or working in the financial services sector as an investment banker or an investment portfolio manager.  Other jobs related to Finance are commercial bankers, financial consultants, financial traders, and Quants specialists.  The opportunities are vast!

To study accounting or finance at an undergraduate level, you need not have completed accounting as a Grade 12 subject. To complete an Accounting degree, the minimum requirements for university admission are a Level 5 pass in Mathematics, together with a National Senior Certificate with matriculation exemption. You need to take pure Mathematics (not Mathematical Literacy) as a subject.


The following attributes and skills would indicate that you are suited to a career in accounting or finance:

  • Commercial acumen and an awareness of business
  • Strong numerical and quantitative skills
  • Problem-solving and analytical abilities
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • A knowledge of and interest in global business issues

The table, below, provides information about entry level qualifications for Accounting and Finance:

Accounting
Undergraduate Level: Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc), Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Business Science in Accounting (BBusSc/Acc) Postgraduate Level: Certificate in Theory of Accounting (CTA), PGDip Acc (Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting)

Finance

Undergraduate Level: Bachelor of Commerce in Financial Management, Bachelor of Commerce in Investment Management, Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Actuarial and Financial Maths, Bachelor of Business Science (non-Accounting stream). Postgraduate Level: Honours in Finance, Master’s in Finance, Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning

Accounting
South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Chartered Accountant (SA) CIMA ACCA


Finance

CFA, CIMA and ACCA

Accounting
Yes, SAICA, CIMA and the ACCA all stipulate specific CPD requirements.


Finance

The CFA Institute stipulates CPD requirements.  CIMA and ACCA stipulate specific CPD requirements.

Accounting
SAICA (The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants)


Finance

CFA Society South Africa, CFA Institute

Accounting

  • IIE Varsity College Institute of Accounting Science (PG Dip Acc)
  • Milpark Education (PG Dip Acc)
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Fort Hare
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Limpopo
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • North West University
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of South Africa (UNISA)
  • Regent Business School (PGDip Acc)
  • Rhodes University
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Sol Plaatje University
  • University of Mpumalanga
  • University of Venda
  • University of Zululand


Finance

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Fort Hare
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Limpopo
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • North West University
  • University of Pretoria
  • Rhodes University
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Stellenbosch Business School (PGDip Financial Planning)
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Zululand

For a list of SAICA accredited programmes, click here.