FET Certificate: Accounting Technician Public Sector NQF 4

AT(SA) Public Sector

About this course

The intermediate level FET Certificate: Accounting Technician Public Sector Qualification introduces more complex skills such as communication and supervision, processing accounting transactions, ethical duties and responsibilities, preparation of reconciliations, financial statements concepts, procedures and the reporting of debtors and preparing budgets. This course is the second level of the AT(SA) Public Sector qualifications.


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 4

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.

AND fulfill one of these options:

  1. Learner successfully completed the Certificate: Accounting Technician Public Sector NQF 3 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 FET Certificate: Accounting Technician Public Sector (SAQA ID 77143) 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:

  • Accounts clerk
  • Wages clerk
  • Accounts assistant
  • Sales ledger clerk
  • Tax assistant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Many graduates progress to more senior roles in the accounts field e.g. Junior Management Accountant, Financial Controller and Accounts Manager.

Additional Opportunities

Further Studies:

Graduates can progress to the next level Certificate: Accounting Public Sector NQF 5.

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 paper based. The final assessment for each module is conducted at an examination venue. AT(SA) qualifications are competency-based, meaning learners must demonstrate competence in each module 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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Communication and supervision skills required to operate effectively as a member of an accounting team.

Performance criteria

  • Prepare a written memorandum to stakeholders requesting clarity and information
  • Prepare external reports in the given format observing confidentiality requirements
  • Plan the work flow for the component to ensure all timeframes are met
  • Delegate the work in accordance with organisational policies and procedures
  • Supervise the completion of the work
  • Review the work performed and provide feedback
  • Assess staff performance

Use of technology to process accounting transactions and the use of computer software to support the accounting function in a department to improve effectiveness and efficiencies

Performance criteria

  • Create new workbooks and worksheets
  • Perform spreadsheet functions to assist with performing accounting functions
  • Format spreadsheets to assist with performing accounting functions
  • Protect spreadsheets for safeguarding of information
  • Use appropriate file names and filing protocol to organise electronic data
  • Explain the difference between manual accounting records and computerized accounting records
  • Identify the difference between standard software packages and customized accounting systems
  • Discuss the computerised accounting packages used in the public sector and the purpose of these systems
  • Explain the functions of the users required to process transactions
  • Review input forms to ensure it has been correctly completed
  • Document the functionality of the accounting system
  • Request the appropriate reports for different reporting requirements

The ethical duties and responsibilities necessary and the knowledge required to underpin ethical practice in this sector.

Performance criteria

  • 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
  • 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

Preparation of reconciliations to ensure valid, accurate, correctly classified and complete financial records and to prepare a trial balance.

Performance criteria

  • Correctly identify and record all transactions in control and suspense accounts
  • Correctly calculate and record entries and adjustments in the appropriate records
  • Identify the records to which the control suspense accounts to be reconciled
  • Complete the reconciliation between the control and suspense accounts and the appropriate records
  • Ensure that the legislation and the organisation’s policies and procedures relating to control accounts and suspense accounts are adhered to
  • Identify discrepancies and either resolve or refer to the appropriate person if outside own authority
  • Identify adjusting entries required and prepare appropriate journal entries
  • Report on the control and suspense accounts and the related reconciliations
  • Differentiate between a trial balance and an adjusted trial balance
  • Understand the structure of the trial balance
  • Prepare a trial balance from the general ledger
  • Close off the accounting period
  • Make the relevant adjusting journal entries in preparation for the adjusted trial balance

Prepare the adjusted trial balance Understand the concepts related to financial statements and the preparation of a simple set of financial statements on the accrual basis of accounting.

Performance criteria

  • Understand the purpose of financial statements for different users
  • Differentiate amongst the different components within a set of financial statements
  • Discuss the elements of financial statements
  • Discuss the principles related to the presentation of financial statements
  • Determine when to recognise, measure and record elements in the financial statements
  • Understand the process for the preparation of financial statements
  • Prepare a simple set of financial statements from an adjusted trial balance
  • Calculate certain ratios
  • Understand the different frameworks for the preparation of financial statements

How to record a debt, determine interest to be charged, payment terms, follow up procedures and the reporting of debtors.

Performance criteria

  • Identify the nature of debtors that the organization may incur
  • Know in which circumstances to charge interest
  • Apply the different methods of interest calculations
  • Compute payment terms
  • Use debt recovery methods appropriate to the circumstances of individual cases and in accordance with the organisation’s procedures
  • Calculate the ageing of debtors
  • Report on the status of the collection of debtors
  • Assess the recoverability of debtors
  • Communicate with relevant individuals within the organization on long outstanding debtors and recoverability of debtors
  • Identify inter-governmental transactions byreviewing source documentation
  • Record inter-governmental transactions on the accounting system and using the correct SCOA allocations
  • Reconcile inter-governmental accounts to supporting documentation
  • Complete confirmations of inter governmental accounts
  • Investigate and correct discrepancies
  • Calculate the ageing of inter-governmental transactions
  • Communicate with appropriate individuals in the department and the other government entities
  • Report on inter-governmental balances

How to prepare a budget, using different budgeting and costing concepts. The monitoring of actuals against budgets is also addressed. The budgeting process andconcepts in the public sector is discussed, including unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Performance criteria

  • Explain and apply budgeting concepts
  • Understand costing concepts and how these impact the budget preparation
  • Prepare a budget using different budgeting concepts
  • Document rationale and assumptions used in the budget preparation
  • Present the budget and rationale used to appropriate individuals in the organisation
  • Compare the actuals to the budget and calculate variances
  • Analyse the variances between actual and budget
  • Present the comparison and analysis of the actuals against the budget
  • Explain the public sector budgeting process
  • Differentiate amongst the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders involved in the budgeting process
  • Discuss the framework and concepts for budgeting in the public sector
  • Analyse an MTEF budget
  • Define and differentiate unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Understand the policy and procedures for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure
  • Compile the registers for unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure

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