Engaging the services of a full time Chartered Accountant (CA) is an expensive yet worthwhile process for any company. CA’s are forward thinkers and as a result of their training and academic background, they have a grasp of business that truly marks them as unique in the marketplace which is why it makes sense to budget to include a chartered accountant salary in your business plan. They work at some of the highest levels in business as Chief Financial Officers (CFO’s), Financial Directors (FD’s) and senior Financial Managers (FM’s).
Due to their exceptional knowledge of the financial landscape and their level of experience, a chartered accountant salary package is a significant cost to any company.
In South Africa a chartered accountant salary can range from R70 000 to R140 000 per month:
|Position||Full Time monthly cost||Part-time monthly cost
(based on 3 days a week)
|CFO||R 110 000 to R 140 000||R 80 000 to R 100 000|
|Financial Director (FD)||R 90 000 to R 120 000||R 65 000 to R 90 000|
|Financial Manager (FM)||R 70 000 to R 100 000||R 50 000 to R 60 000|
The high cost of employing these financial experts is prohibitive for many small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurial ventures, even though they are the businesses that would benefit most from a qualified and experienced CA. However, the landscape is changing and many companies are engaging the services of CA’s on a part-time, interim or project basis. The concept is similar to that of fractional ownership where you only pay for the time you use, not a full time salary for your chartered accountant. If a company only needs the services of a CA three days a week, then they should only pay for three days a week.
What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
The terms “bookkeeper” and “accountant” can be interchanged to a degree. Bookkeepers mostly act as data-entry clerks that deal with the day to day financial recordings and transactions within a business. The bookkeeper keeps the books and retains documentation for transactions and will usually report to a senior accountant.
An accountant focusses mainly on reporting, business analysis and processes to advise company leadership on the best form of financial management for the company. Theirs is an in-depth role as they devise financial strategies and ways to implement these strategies within the business, based on current financial data presented to them. So in essence the bookkeeper works closely with the accountant as up to date and accurate data is needed for the success of the business.
Why is the Chartered Accountant salary so high?
As with anything in life, the more specialised one becomes the more valuable their services become. Accountants do not become CA’s overnight. There is a lengthy process of extended education and experience required before they qualify. In South Africa, Chartered Accountants have more than four years of education plus a minimum of three years’ experience before they can be qualified a CA(SA), a total of seven years, including an entrance exam into the profession, known as the Board exam.
They are financial experts that are able to provide information on a number of aspects of a business’s financial matters such as financial reporting, tax, funding and corporate finance. They also have experience in areas such as auditing and forensic accounting and have the necessary expertise to set up viable accounting systems, processes and controls. Many Chartered Accountants play a strategic role within a business by devising financial strategies aiming to maximise profitability for the business.
Do you need a full time Chartered Accountant?
The answer to this depends on the size and scope of the business and whether there is enough work to justify taking a CA on full time. Quite often experienced CA’s are brought in on a part time or interim basis, as their experience and expertise is needed on a variety of aspects within the business such as devising a strategy or to assisting company leadership on new projects being undertaken. By engaging the services of a part time CA, companies are able to have access to the best possible CA’s on the market without having to take on the burden of a full time placement.