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What is professional membership all about?

Joining a professional organisation may represent an outstanding return on what amounts to a modest, manageable investment of time, money and effort. The connections you make, the resources you have access to and the ideas and advice you’ll discover may turn out to be beneficial to both your professional development and your career.

You may be a qualified and experienced professional, but membership of a professional body gives you (and your CV) a stamp of quality and approval. Professional membership will give you added exposure, it can broaden your horizons and it gives you the opportunity to belong to a community of like-minded individuals where the standards and “game rules” are clearly identified.

Although each organization has its unique advantages, most professional associations offer some or all of the following basic benefits:

  • exclusive online resources,
  • networking opportunities,
  • education,
  • free or discounted publications,
  • conferences and seminars,
  • a support system, and
  • political clout.

Why professional membership is important to job seekers

Should you be a job seeker, your membership of a professional body ensures employers and recruiters that you have met the minimum requirements as set out by the specific organisation. It also shows employers that you are dedicated to continuously improve yourself and expand your knowledge.

According to Ms Sanelle Hobbs, CA (SA) and personnel consultant at Exceed Human Resources, “I feel proud to belong to a professional body like SAICA. It means I stay informed of the latest developments in our field (of accounting), as well as the wider business community. There is a connection with fellow-members that makes for a sense of community which I really enjoy.”

Although most people are familiar with SAICA, there is now an alternative for people who are not qualified chartered accountants but are working in the finance field. The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) is well recognised worldwide as a professional body that also offers an international qualification in finance.

AAT

By joining AAT, members join a community of like-minded individuals who are committed to best practice in finance and accounting across a range of diverse businesses. The body also offers a range of benefits and services including subscriptions to the publications, Accountancy SA and Accounting Technician, access to online study support and professional development support, a dedicated helpline and access to certain SAICA services and the SAICA handbook.

As a recognised and regulated professional body, AAT(SA) offers all the support its members need to take their careers to the next level. It provides opportunities for flexible and on-going learning, either by means of further studies towards the AAT(SA) Accounting Qualification, or by using the unique CPD learning framework, which allows one the opportunity to continually improve one’s capabilities at a pace that suits one’s lifestyle.

Qualification and membership levels

AAT(SA)’s unique membership system comprises five levels. Members can proceed from one level to the next as they further their qualifications or work experience.

For more information please contact Christa Matthee of Exceed Human Resource Consultants on tel. 021 808 7222 or e-mail christam@exceed.co.za