Certificate: Accounting Public Sector NQF 5

AT(SA) Public Sector

About this course

The Certificate: Accounting Public Sector covers higher level accounting tasks, including drafting financial statements, managing budgets and evaluating financial performance. This qualification is aimed at building capacity in accounting technicians within the public sector. It is aligned to the requirements on occupational level 2 of the Competency Framework for Financial Management of the National Treasury Technician Competency Dictionary (TCD). This course is the perfect progression for learners who already completed Level 4, or are at a more advanced stage in their careers and want a qualification to give them the confidence and recognition that they have the skills to do the job in the Public Sector.


2023/2024 Enrolment Dates

Intake 1: Enrol from 1 September 2023 – 15 January 2024. Study from February 2024 – November 2024.

Intake 2: Enrol from 1 February 2024 – 15 March 2024. Study from April 2024 – March 2025.

Intake 3: Enrol from 1 April 2024 – 15 May 2024. Study from June 2024 – May 2025.

Credo Public Sector Accounting Technician Qualification NQF 5

Qualification Description

The Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations (TR) set high standards for financial management in the public sector, requiring practitioners to possess practical skills and competencies. The Public Sector Accounting Qualifications are customised qualifications, offering accounting officials formal qualifications that ensure immediate demonstration of the acquired skills through their practical and competence-based assessment structures. While applicable across various sectors, the qualification focuses on the Public Sector, specifically National and Provincial Departments. These qualifications support the development of learners who are employed in the public sector and who want to progress with a career in public sector accounting. The learning programmes are registered as learnerships and are therefore eligible for SETA funding and for the tax rebate.

Training format

In-person training is usually the preferred choice for Public Sector courses and can be customised for groups of 10 learners or more. Please contact us today with your requirements for full-time, part-time or distance learning.

Regardless of the format, learners will benefit from our well-designed and comprehensive study support, encompassing unit/module notes, assignments, feedback, and revision assistance, ensuring a well-rounded and engaging learning experience.

Admission Requirements

To study this course, learners have to meet the following requirements:

  • Learners need to be competent in English Language literacy, Computer literacy and Mathematical literacy.
  • Learners must either already be employed in a relevant Local Government finance role or be employed under the conditions of the learnership in order to participate.
  • Learners must speak to their line manager to discuss why they want to undertake the qualification and their commitment to seeing it through, and to gain approval.

AND fulfill one of these options:

  1. Learner successfully completed the FET Certificate: Accounting Technician Public Sector NQF 4 qualification; or
  2. Learner has previous accounting experience or holds a similar qualification. A skills test will be conducted to determine the correct entry level for the learner.


Upon completion of the qualification, learners will receive the Certificate: Accounting Public Sector (SAQA ID 80189) and a Statement of Results detailing the units of learning completed.


Every senior accountant needs the support of skilled, competent accounting technicians to undertake the more routine and operational work. The focus of this qualification is Public Sector and more specifically National and Provincial Departments, but graduates of the qualification can work in all sectors of the economy in various positions, including:

  • Assistant Finance Manager
  • Finance Team Leader
  • Accounts Manager
  • Financial Controller

Additional Opportunities

AT(SA) Membership:

After completing the Certificate: Accounting Public Sector NQF 5 qualification and meeting the membership requirements of AT(SA), the learner will be eligible to apply for membership with the professional body.

AT(SA) is an associate of SAICA, the foremost accountancy body in South Africa. To find out more about AT(SA), please visit SAICA


Assessments are done online on the AT(SA) platform or paper-based. The final assessment for each module is invigilated and conducted at an examination venue. To earn the qualification certificate, learners need to be competent in all modules. AT(SA) qualifications are competency-based, meaning learners must demonstrate competence in each task based on minimum standards. A learner is deemed to be Competent or Not Yet Competent in the module.

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Course Modules

This course has 7 modules which must all be successfully completed to obtain this qualification.

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Communicate effectively:

  • Understand the information requirements of different stakeholders.
  • Use different methods of communication to communicate effectively with stakeholders.
  • Organise, plan and chair meetings.
  • Present information in a logical and clear manner

Manage work and performance:

  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of a manager
  • Identify opportunities for improving the effectiveness of the work environment
  • Prioritize, plan and delegate work activities to make optimum use of resources
  • Review work performed against timescales and other targets
  • Review work performed to ensure compliance with departmental procedures to assesses accuracy, validity & completeness; and report thereon
  • Resolve conflict and problems in circumstances within your authority or refer to the appropriate person where resolution is beyond your authority or expertise
  • Understand and apply the Employee
  • Performance Management Development System
  • Review the competence of staff undertaking work activities, identify skills gaps and take appropriate action

Apply general principles and procedures for ethical compliance expected within the public sector

  • Identify and apply the fundamental principles of honesty and integrity.
  • Highlight situations within accounting work that require objectivity and fairness, and where judgements and actions could compromise personal or organisational integrity and reputation.
  • Recognise and explain why certain types of information should be regarded as confidential.
  • Identify circumstances when it would be appropriate to disclose confidential information.
  • Identify the key issues which ensure accounting work is performed within the scope of professional ethics guidance.
  • Identify appropriate ethical behaviour when interacting with others in a variety of circumstances

Refer and seek advice from relevant sources for issues beyond own competence.

  • Discuss, agree and resolve ethical conflicts.
  • Develop, maintain and apply ethics in work situations
  • Describe the cultural values within organisations which support and promote high ethical values and helps resolve any conflict of loyalties.
  • Resolve conflicting loyalties where an employer may ask you to perform tasks which are illegal, unethical or against the rules or standards of the accounting profession.
  • Follow appropriate procedures where you believe a colleague has or will commit an act which you believe to be illegal or unethical.
  • Respond appropriately to requests to work outside of the confines of your own accounting experience activities, identify skills gaps.

Economic reporting format

  • Understand the key definitions for the economic reporting format
  • Apply the principles and decision tree to classify and report receipts transactions
  • Apply the principles and decision tree to classify and report payment transactions

SCOA allocations

  • Define the purpose of each of the segments of SCOA.
  • Understand the structure of each of the segments
  • Classify transactions in terms of SCOA
  • Understand the inter-relationship between the segments for reporting

Monitoring of actuals against budget

  • Understand the legislative reporting requirements
  • Prepare the monthly reporting template (IYM) as prescribed by Treasury
  • Analyse reasons for variances and corrective action to be taken
  • Analyse reasons for variances and corrective action to be taken
  • Analyse and interpret expenditure and revenue trends and ratios relevant public sector
  • Assess the need for adjustments and make recommendations to appropriate stakeholders

Payroll management

  • Understand the processes involved for payroll management and the impact on expenditure
  • Identify the requirements and the importance of the paymaster and certification of payrolls as required by the Treasury Regulations.
  • Identify the classification of payroll expenditure in accordance with SCOA
  • Compile the journal entries for payroll
  • Calculate the statutory deductions
  • Discuss the purpose of the SARS statutory returns for PAYE
  • Reconcile the information on the payroll system to the accounting system
  • Take appropriate action to resolve-, or report on reconciling differences (employees’ expenditure not originating in the payroll system and amendments)
  • Review of salary expenditure

Management of transfer payments

  • Understand the legislative requirements for transfer payments
  • Determine the different types of transfer payments and the relevant controls required for transfer payments
  • Understand the importance of the monitoring of the transfer payments
  • Assess the impact of transfer payments on the budget and Treasury requirements

Cash flow management

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the cash flows from the Treasury to the departments
  • Understand the nature and timing of receipts and payments and the impact on the cash available to a department
  • Prepare cash flow forecasts and projections
  • Prepare cash flow draw down schedule and align to the budget allocation
  • Manage and monitor cash flow processes and recommend corrective action
  • Follow-up on differences/variances and identify outstanding payments to be made
  • State any assumptions used when evaluating future costs and revenues
  • Present recommendations to appropriate people in a clear and concise way and supported by a clear rationale

Recording, reporting and management of assets

  • Explain the role of the Asset Management unit within the department
  • Understand the different phases of the life cycle of assets
  • Define and classify assets in the accounting records in accordance with GRAP
  • Define and classify assets in the accounting records in accordance with MCS
  • Compile an asset register
  • Reconcile the asset register to the accounting records and correct or forward to relevant individual for correction
  • Understand the different types of leases and the accounting treatment

Recording, reporting and management of inventory

  • Explain the role of the Inventory Management unit within the department
  • Explain the principles of inventory management
  • Define and classify inventory in the accounting records in accordance with GRAP
  • Define and classify inventory in the accounting records in accordance with MCS
  • Reconcile the inventory register to the accounting records and correct or forward to relevant individual for correction
  • Determine the cost of inventory and the value of disclosure of inventory in the financial statements

Financial statements in accordance with modified cash standard

  • Understand and explain the background for setting of accounting standards
  • Understand the modified cash standard reporting framework
  • Explain the process for the compilation of financial statements
  • Compile a working paper file with appropriate working papers to support the preparation of the financial statements
  • Prepare financial statements for a department in accordance with the modified cash standard

Analysis of financial statements

  • Identify the users of the financial statements and the purpose for which they will be used
  • Calculate relevant ratios
  • Interpret the relationship between the different statements and information provided in the financial statements to assess financial performance
  • Present analysis and interpretation in a concise and clear manner

Unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure

  • Understand the legislation and guidelines for irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Apply the definitions of irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure to transactions to assess the correct classification
  • Determine the different events that will trigger the updating of the registers and supporting documentation required
  • Compile the registers for irregular expenditure, unauthorised and fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Understand the process for the reporting, investigations and finalisation of irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Recognition, recording, presentation and disclosure of irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the financial statements

Principles of internal controls

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of internal control unit within the department
  • Understand the importance and use of internal control systems
  • Understand the principles of internal control
  • Apply internal controls to finance cycles

The role of internal audit

  • Understand the role of internal audit unit within the department
  • Discuss the effectiveness of internal audit
  • Understand the role of the audit committee

External audit

  • Understand the role of external audit
  • Interpret the different audit opinions the external auditor may issue
  • Understand the audit assertions
  • Understand the timeframes for external audit requirements

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